Exploring BC’s Geothermal Potential
Along with BC’s active plate tectonics and frequent earthquakes comes an abundance of geothermal activity, typically presenting itself in the form of hot springs. There is an aspect that goes much farther than hot springs, however – the potential for generating significant geothermal power. Mory notes that geothermal energy is being utilized in other countries that have similar geology; Canada is the only country on the Pacific Ring of Fire (a boundary of tectonic subduction zones that edge on the Pacific Ocean) that has yet to do so.
As Anders Kruus, with Alterra Power Corp. states, “the demand for power doesn’t go down, it just goes up”, stressing BC’s rising energy demand. It’s a clean, renewable energy source, and unlike wind and solar power, it’s not affected by weather and climate. While initial capital costs are high, he explains, once geothermal projects are developed, they are inexpensive.
In its 2012 overview, the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association states that “the potential for geothermal energy in Canada is immense—estimated at over 5,000 MW in traditional shallow geothermal resources with currently available technology.” Some studies and other people are even more optimistic.