Province Funds Geothermal Power Demonstration Plant Near Estevan to Develop Zero-Emissions Energy Sources
The Government of Saskatchewan has provided $175,000 to DEEP Earth Energy Production Corporation (DEEP) to establish a geothermal power demonstration plant in southern Saskatchewan.
The funds, to be delivered over two years through Innovation Saskatchewan’s Saskatchewan Advantage Innovation Fund (SAIF), will be used to purchase equipment and build the infrastructure needed to demonstrate the feasibility of geothermal power generation in the province. Saskatchewan’s geothermal energy resource is a 1200C aquifer buried deep underground, which has the potential to generate constant electricity, while generating zero carbon emissions.
The SAIF funding for DEEP’s project supports the provincial government’s commitment to innovate and develop technological solutions to reduce the province’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“Saskatchewan is already a world leader in innovative carbon capture and storage technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan Tina Beaudry-Mellor said. “The Government of Saskatchewan’s funding for the DEEP geothermal power generation project continues that innovation and supports our climate change strategy to explore additional energy efficiency and innovative technologies to achieve emission reduction targets.”
DEEP estimates that the hot geothermal aquifer in the project’s selected region near Estevan may support the generation of up to 500 megawatts of power. A power purchase agreement with SaskPower allows for an initial project to be developed that is expected to deliver five megawatts to the provincial grid. The company has completed a prefeasibility study for the project and will begin drilling the initial production and injection wells in June 2018.
The 3,400 metre deep wells will produce hot brine which DEEP will measure and analyse over 90 days, to determine the project’s economic feasibility. Construction of the above-ground infrastructure would occur in 2018. The power purchase agreement between the energy corporation and SaskPower was signed in May 2017, for the Crown corporation to purchase power generated from the proposed geothermal plant.
The facility will be Canada’s first geothermal power plant and will contribute toward SaskPower achieving its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. To do this, SaskPower plans to increase its renewable generation capacity to as much as 50 per cent.
Founded in 2010 by professional geoscientists, Kirsten Marcia and Steve Halabura, DEEP’s strategy is to harness Saskatchewan’s geothermal resources for long-term power generation. While Canada has a number of proven geothermal resources, there are currently no operational power plants in the country.
Through public and private sector investment, the goal of DEEP’s project is to develop the province’s geothermal energy resources into commercially-viable power generation plants.
“It is very exciting to launch Canada’s first geothermal power facility right here in Saskatchewan, a province known for its vast resources,” DEEP Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Marcia said. “With geothermal power being the only renewable option providing a baseload power supply, (95 per cent availability), it’s a very attractive addition to our provincial grid. DEEP is very grateful for Innovation Saskatchewan’s support in the advancement of this cutting edge renewable power project.”