October 18, 2021

SFU Policy expert claim that Canada is sitting on a goldmine of renewables

2 min read

Canada is showing promising results in renewables as the country continues to pursue the net-zero-emission target. A recent image of the Clarke Lake Geothermal project site located around the Fort Nelson, B.C area indicates maximum potential in the country geothermal renewable energy sector. Experts believe that projects like these would come in handy in Western Canada. The country works on achieving climate goals and ensuring it meets the energy demand only if the government is ready to support these projects.

A political science professor, Andy Hira at the Simon Fraser University, claims that the future of achieving adequate clean energy rest beneath us, and it’s not oil but geothermal energy. Andy believes that the country is underestimating the geothermal energy potential in Alberta and Burnaby, B.C. However, he explains that the geothermal industry is no secret in its infancy stages. It requires maximum support from the government and private sectors if we are to explore its full potential.

Andy Hira represented the geothermal industry with a chicken and egg problem. The country lacks research, technology, and the private sector is yet to support the initiative. Unfortunately, no expert is ready to advocate for the industry and its impact on its renewable energy sector. He explained that Site C gaining all the attention adds fuel to the fire, and no attention is left for other projects that can do better. Two years ago, BC Hydro acquired its offer program, which opened doors for the renewables projects by buying clean power from their sites. Andy pointed out that this move could be a critical mistake as he reports an energy demand challenge even with the Site C functioning.

He explained that Site C is essential, but it will not be enough by the end of the decade as the country works on EVs’ electrification, resulting in high demand. As a result, Andy recommends different exploration field of renewables.

The professor explained why the geothermal industry is the best option since, unlike wind and solar energy, it misses the intermittency issues making it a great choice. Besides, it can work in extreme weather conditions and consume no above-ground surface. He noted that Alberta and BC expertise in O&G drilling could come in handy in developing geothermal wells. If the government de-risk these projects by offering incentives, then it can spur innovation. Hira noted that some countries like the Philippines and the US are exploring this renewable sector, making it the right time for Canada to follow suit. He explained that this is a golden opportunity for the country, and they shouldn’t miss the chance to produce more renewable energy.

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