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Drilling to start on first wells for geothermal project in British Columbia, Canada

Surface exploration work for the geothermal site near Valemount, BC (source: Borealis GeoPower)
Alexander Richter 7 Jun 2018

With a drilling permit received, Canadian developer Borealis GeoPower is about to start drilling for its geothermal project near Valemount in the province of British Columbia, Canada.

Reported late last month, Canadian geothermal developer Borealis GeoPower Inc. (Borealis) has been issued four geothermal resource well authorizations for thermal gradient wells on its Canoe Reach Geothermal Project, south of Valemount B.C. by the BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission)

In its release, Borealis recognizes the collaborative working relationship and support of the Commission in their efforts to advance an additional renewable energy option for the Province. Borealis is a renewable geothermal energy company based in Calgary, Alberta with plans to drill geothermal wells to produce renewable power and heat. The well authorizations will allow the company to begin drilling for collection of geotechnical and temperature gradient information.

This represents the first time the Commission has issued a well authorization under the Geothermal Resource Act. The first well is expected to spud in the coming days.

Borealis’ CEO, Alison Thompson states, “We’re honoured to be issued the first geothermal well authorizations in the Province of BC under the new Geothermal Resources Act and the stewardship of the Oil & Gas Commission.”

Borealis GeoPower Inc. has held geothermal tenure in the Valemount area since 2010. As a certified B Corp., the company has had the pleasure of working collaboratively with myriad stakeholders, including the Village, four First Nations on whose traditional territory the project resides, and various BC Ministries including Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources; Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development; and Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

Borealis’ pre-feasibility study was completed by a Qualified Person under the Canadian Geothermal Code for Public Reporting. Borealis gives thanks to the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, CanGEA, for its on-going support of the project and the supply chain companies within its membership.

Thompson commented, “We didn’t get to this point today, alone. The Honourable Minister of Energy, Michelle Mungall, her Ministry and its crown corporations have remained engaged around geothermal energy and supportive of our project since its beginning. The Forestry Ministry, with personnel who have been on the ground with us in Valemount, has helped us prepare for drilling operations. The Village of Valemount, the Villagers and MLAs, Shirley Bond and Andrew Weaver, have encouraged us from Day 1. We’ve become good neighbours to other corporations operating in the Robson Valley Region such as Valemount Glacier Destinations and Kinder Morgan. Simpcw Peoples appreciate the renewable nature of our energy resource and we share their values about the land.”

MLA Shirley Bond and Green Party Leader, Andrew Weaver, reacted to the project news, “We are grateful to see the approval of this critical permit. We have been very pleased to advocate on behalf of the project in Victoria and directly with the Minister responsible. This project has the potential to provide significant benefits in the Robson Valley Region, but will also serve as a model for future projects. We want to thank the hard working team that has been persistent and professional in their approach and we look forward to continuing our support and efforts on their behalf.”

Valemount’s Mayor, Jeannette Townsend, had this to say, “The announcement made by Minister Mungall that the Oil and Gas Commission has issued the authorization for Borealis GeoPower to commence drilling is very good and long awaited news for Valemount and the Robson Valley. Ultimately the entire province of British Columbia will benefit from the opportunities which will be created with the production of micro power.”

The project, supported by The Natural Step’s Energy Futures Lab where Thompson is a Fellow, has been designed under the principles of back-casting. Borealis calls the project, Sustainaville, and Valemount has become Canada’s geothermal village. Towards that end, NRCan and Alberta Innovates have provided co-funding to the project.

“Geothermal power is an exciting avenue that offers us much to explore. Through this demonstration of renewable power, we have the opportunity to showcase clean, reliable energy generation,” said the Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “Our government is proud to support Borealis to discover how this demonstration project may lead to further geothermal energy deployments that will help our country create a brighter future.”

“Alberta Innovates is pleased that Borealis GeoPower Inc. has been granted well authorizations for the Canoe Reach Geothermal Project,” says Maureen Kolla, Manager Clean Power and Heat for Alberta Innovates. “The opportunities for geothermal power to create renewable electricity and other forms of low-carbon energy are exciting; and, that puts projects like this squarely at the frontier of the new economy. We are working with Borealis GeoPower to advance the design and engineering behind solutions that can help to develop distributed geothermal resources.”

The Borealis team is culturally diverse and gender balanced and has recently added international experts. Thompson remarked, “We not only drill into mountains, but by working together, we also move them, and Borealis is deeply committed to our team and host community.”

Borealis invites businesses searching for no-carbon process heat alternatives and renewable, reliable electricity to join the Geothermal Journey in Valemount as customers and project partners.

Source: Company release