Tell our Federal Government to bring geothermal energy to Canada

Why geothermal?

Geothermal energy is an internationally recognized clean, sustainable and renewable source of affordable heat and power. It is obtained by pulling hot water from deep below the earth’s surface and running it through a turbine to produce electricity with low or no emissions. After the hot water is used to make clean electricity, and before the water is reinjected, the remaining heat can be used for a variety of commercial, industrial, or entrepreneurial endeavours, including fish farming, greenhouse heating, district heating, pasteurization, material drying and snow melting. 24 countries have already built geothermal power plants and Canada is not among them. We continue to burn fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas in Canada to power our electric grid, while geothermal power plant development remains blocked by political red tape.

You deserve cleaner and better energy. Be part of the change and submit the below letter to your elected officials.

Send this letter to Member of Parliament:

Dear Member of Parliament,

As a voter in your constituency, I’m contacting you to let you know about Canada’s Geothermal potential, and to advocate for its use in the House of Commons and in your committees. Geothermal energy is the Earth’s own internal heat, and is incredibly versatile. Some examples of its uses include: greenhouse agriculture, refrigeration, space heating, tourism, and electrical generation. While particularly visible in the western provinces, Geothermal resources are found throughout all of Canada., With this renewable form of energy, we can use Canadian expertise in sub-surface resource development to create sustainable and permanent jobs.

Last year, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance “Creating the Conditions for Economic Growth: Tools for People, Businesses, and Communities” stated that;

“Because Canada is part of a global community that is focused on protecting the environment and addressing climate change, the Committee recommends…[t]hat the Government of Canada take action to support and encourage Canada’s geothermal sector.”

The Canadian Geothermal Industry has identified the following 5 points as key ways to fairly support geothermal, and expand our country’s green energy and economic growth:

    1. The primary purpose of geothermal in the Canadian Renewable Conversation Expense (CRCE) and the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance (ACCA) should be amended to read heat and/or electricity production.
      a) Geothermal is not an electrical resource, it is a heat resource that can be used for electrical generation or other purposes. If the amendment is completed, geothermal would be an eligible heat source for district heating under the ACCA.
        i. Solar is already awarded status as both a heat source and an electrical source.
    2. Wind turbines have an exception written in to the CRCE technical guide for test turbines, CanGEA members are looking for similar treatment for geothermal facilities.
      a. The exception was created because wind generators must prospect an uncertain resource, the wind. Geothermal by virtue of being several kilometres beneath the surface is a resource which requires prospecting.
        i. For example, wind electrical generators are able to claim up to 20% of the maximum nameplate generation for their projects as permanent test facilities.
    3. Geothermal projects should be able to hold Canadian Resource Property (CRP) as the development of the resource requires provincial/territorial permits and leases but by virtue of being a renewable energy it is not able to hold CRP.
      a. Granting access to CRP would allow geothermal to claim permit/leasing fees that hydrocarbon and mining developments are able to do.
    4. The Class 43.1 ACCA allows other renewable electricity producers to claim transmission expenses.
      a) This represents a currently unfair burden on geothermal electricity production as compared to the other CRCE eligible generators.
        i. Geothermal’s previous inability to claim storage was an imbalance already addressed in the 2016 budget.
        ii. CanGEA is willing to discuss a cap set on the distance to interconnection for eligible transmission expenses and ask to be treated with equality with other renewable energies.
    5. The federal government has previously funded other renewable electricity generators through the Wind Power Production Incentive, Renewable Power Production Incentive, and the Eco-Energy for Renewable Power, but geothermal electricity was unable to take advantage of any of these programs. There was also an Eco-Energy for Heat program which specifically excluded geothermal. CanGEA requests that a Geothermal (heat and/or power) Production Incentive program be instituted to give our industry the same start up support received by others.
      a. This recommendation is fully detailed in CanGEA’s submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance’s 2017 pre-budget consultations.

When the opportunity comes for you to comment and then vote on the 2017 budget, as well as other programs and regulations, I ask that you support geothermal by making sure the 5 recommendations written here are present so that Canada can be a richer, more sustainable place.

Your information
Your postal code and province are required to select your local elected officials that will appear below. A copy of the email will also be sent to the Prime Minister, Federal Minister of Natural Resources, and Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change as well as your MP.

Dear Elected Official,

I am a citizen in your riding and request that you urgently investigate geothermal energy, which is a clean and renewable potential source of both affordable heat and power that is not currently being utilized in Canada. This is despite the U.S. and Mexico being the first and fourth largest producers of geothermal power in the world respectively. All three countries share the geology required to develop geothermal energy but only Canada, a world leader in sub-surface exploration and development, has not moved forward in developing the resource and is letting possible projects languish in red-tape.

At the provincial levels only BC has taken the time to develop a geothermal permitting process. Projects in AB, SK and YK are each waiting for their government to create a permitting system. At the federal level the government has not understood that geothermal is not an electrical source, it is a sub-surface heat source that requires prospecting and which can produce electricity. Because of the misunderstanding geothermal resource exploration is not supported properly or adequately; nor is the direct use of geothermal heat for non-electrical projects. Finance Canada has to change the governing tax codes before the geothermal industry can progress.

Importantly, geothermal systems are base load sources of renewable energy, meaning that the energy produced does not fluctuate; they continue to produce electricity and heat even when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow. This can help to strengthen the grid, and can serve as a reliable renewable complement for intermittent sources of power such as wind and solar, which rely on variable environmental factors for energy production.

In addition to low cost sustainable heat and power, geothermal energy has other important social and environmental benefits. Geothermal power plants have the smallest physical footprint of any energy source, and have been recognized by the US Department of Energy to produce more permanent employment than any other renewable or non-renewable energy source. In fact, geothermal projects produce 17x more permanent jobs than comparable natural gas projects.

Geothermal energy is a pan-Canadian resource but as of yet only the province of British Columbia has any sort of tenure mechanism for geothermal projects. Geothermal energy is also not included in a variety of federal tax incentives and support mechanisms that are made available to other energy sources. This includes, but is not limited to, Natural Resources Canada’s Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance which allows eligible energy production facilities to write off some costs but the current program does not recognize geothermal heat as a valuable resource. Also, the mining and oil/gas sectors are partially shielded from exploration risk, but geothermal does not have the same level of support. This is despite the fact that geothermal energy employs the same qualified workers and Canadian sub-surface resource development expertise. This disparity in provincial and federal support is almost exclusively due to geothermal energy’s more technical nature, which has made it the lesser known of all the renewable energy technologies in Canada..

I urge you to consult with the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) at your earliest convenience, so that you may learn more about this promising opportunity and how you can start a new sustainable industry in Canada.

powEARTHful is a public engagement initiative of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA). CanGEA is the collective voice of Canada’s geothermal energy industry. As a non-profit association, we engage in advocacy and public outreach efforts that promote the exploration and development of geothermal resources in Canada. Geothermal energy can provide competitively priced, renewable, round-the-clock energy in Canada.

You deserve cleaner energy. Be part of the change. Be powEARTHful.
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