Two geothermal projects proceeding in BC

There is a known geologic hot-spot in the Rocky Mountain Trench near the picturesque community of Valemount, BC that provides an ideal background for development of an innovative geothermal energy project. In late 2017, after an extensive multi-year exploration program, Borealis GeoPower was awarded an extension to their geothermal permit by the BC Ministry of Energy. Lands held are about 10,000 hectares. Drilling permits are expected in early 2018.

Courtesy Borealis GeoPower The Canoe Reach Project is a 3-phase geothermal development project with the end goal of generating power from the region’s geothermal resource. Each phase represents successive levels of resource development, as well as increasing levels of monetization opportunities.

          Borealis GeoPower intends to develop small and large-scale geothermal heat and power projects within these 3 phases. Before those are fully built out, Canoe Reach Energy can access heat from geothermal gradient wells and facilitate what they describe as “a local community’s dream” to have “world-class” hot pools, with views stretching across Kinbasket Lake and the three opposing mountain ranges.

          Phase 1 is Geothermal Hot Pools. Management research has validated that the local population wants a geothermal feature back in their community.

Courtesy Borealis GeoPower Phase 2 is more ambitious. Dubbed “Sustainaville,” it includes direct heat and a “Micro-Power Park.” Sustainaville is intended to be a geothermal energized commercial “Geo-Park” development offering renewable power and heat options, along with the ability to grow a diversified local economy supporting food, forestry, mining, and neighbourhood district heating alternatives. Borealis says recent policy changes have made this prototype economically replicable in almost 200 western and northern Canadian communities. Those changes relate to a federal accelerated capital cost allowance option being extended to a broader range of geothermal projects and expenses by the federal government.

          Phase 3 is described as a GeoPower Plant, expected to sell 15 MW to the provincial power grid.

          The Canoe Reach project is projected to provide:

Phase 1: local hot pools using ~20,000 GJ of renewable heat energy/year

Phase 2: 300 kW of base-load electricity

Phase 2: 200,000 GJ/yr of renewable heat

Phase 3: 15 MW and an expansion of the heat park is possible with “waste” heat from the utility-scale power plant

          Also by Borealis GeoPower, the Lakelse Lake Geothermal Project is a 15 MW geothermal project currently in the process of exploration and assessment with the intention to sell the power generation to B.C. Hydro when the Standing Offer Program opens up again. The consortium partners of Kitselas First Nation Development Company and Borealis GeoPower obtained the geothermal exploration permits from the BC Ministry of Energy in 2014 for almost 3,000 hectares of land.

          As of 2015, Borealis had completed the initial phase of surface exploration. As the project is near BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line, the facility could increase grid stability for all the developments to the North. There are also opportunities for related direct heat applications like greenhouses.

          Prefeasibility studies on both projects have been completed. The Canoe Reach project was mentioned in Desmog Canada’s website January 2 as one of “Six Natural Resource Projects in Canada That Got it Right in 2017.”


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