Alberta geothermal power plant one step closer to becoming a reality

Alberta geothermal power plant one step closer to becoming a reality

875 462 Harry Corrigan

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Terrapin Geothermics granted government permit for geothermal testing.

The first Alberta geothermal power plant project launched by Canadian development company Terrapin Geothermics has been greenlighted by the government of Alberta to begin testing and exploring the geothermal potential in the Municipal District (MD) of Greenview.

Terrapin Geothermics is one step closer to operating test wells within the MD.

The testing will allow Terrapin to start obtaining regulatory approvals for its Greenview geothermal power project located in the Gold Creek area. Receiving approval form the provincial government means that the project is that much closer to the operation of the test wells.

This Alberta Geothermal Power Plant is the first of its kind in the province and has been named “Alberta No. 1.” This name is reportedly a tribute to the Leduc No. 1 oil drilling site, where oil was first discovered in the province in 1947.

Of course, unlike oil, harnessing the power of geothermal energy means creating electricity without fossil fuels. Another form of renewable power, like wind and solar, geothermal uses heat naturally found underground to produce energy.

More specifically, generators are powered using brine from natural reservoirs that are over 2000 meters (6561 feet) below the surface of the ground. These reservoirs are heated by thermal energy from deep inside the Earth. As soon as the thermal energy has been extracted from the brine and transformed into electricity or utilized for heating, the same brine is then returned underground to be heated up again, creating a continual cycle.

Terrapin’s facility will generate renewable electricity that runs non-stop with no carbon emission and low fuel costs.

The Alberta geothermal power plant is expected to be completed in three years.

The cost of the project is about CA$50 million ($37.9 million) and National Resources Canada is partially funding the project with a $25.4 million grant.

This first of its kind multi-million dollar Alberta geothermal power plant, which is a joint project between Terrapin Geothermaics, PC Construction and the MD, is expected to be operational in three years. Once built, the hope is that it will produce 5 megawatts (MW) of electricity each year and lower greenhouse gas emissions in the province by an estimated 20,000 tons annually.

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