Despite being one of the most well-positioned countries in the world to capitalize on geothermal energy, Canada seems stuck at the starting line. But behind the scenes, a few game-changing developments hint at a new horizon for this underestimated renewable energy.
New research released in April estimates the value of the global geothermal energy industry will grow to $9 billion by 2025, up from $4 billion in 2018.
While this growth is translating to geothermal heated greenhouses in the Netherlands, a zero-emissions power plant in Italy and geothermal chocolate bars in the Philippines, it hasn’t meant much for Canada — despite the country’s substantial documented potential.
Geothermal energy comes from natural heat in the earth’s crust. Steam from hot spots near volcanic ranges, such as those in B.C., can be used to spin turbines to generate electricity, while warm water from cooler areas can be used as direct energy to heat homes, melt snow or grow food in greenhouses, like the Icelanders do.
The form of renewable energy, which provides uninterrupted baseload energy as opposed to intermittent alternatives such as wind and solar that rely on the weather, seems an obvious choice for many provinces and territories looking to increase sources of electricity while also decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.