A “massive” store of clean, renewable energy is sitting at Canadians’ feet, according to a federal report on geothermal energy.
Tapping into hot rocks that are tantalizingly close to the surface in western and northern Canada could generate more electricity than the entire country now consumes while generating few greenhouse gas emissions, says the report by a team of 12 scientists led by Stephen Grasby at the federal Geological Survey of Canada.
“As few as 100 projects could meet Canada’s energy needs,” according to the team’s findings, to be presented at a geothermal conference in Toronto on Thursday.
The 322-page report suggests the clean, renewable source of energy could be a gamechanger.
“Canada’s in-place geothermal power exceeds one million times Canada’s current electrical consumption,” the report says.
The heat is closest to the surface in large swaths of British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories, but the report says geothermal energy opportunities exist across Canada.
It notes that geothermal has distinct advantages over not only fossil fuels and nuclear energy but also wind, solar and biofuels, as the Earth’s heat is available 24 hours a day, yearround.
Grasby said that geothermal is not without technological and environmental risks. But there is no question there is a vast amount of clean energy underfoot, he said, and the country is well placed to start drilling for it.