A new report on geothermal energy usage in the Canadian province of British Columbia has found that residents there have ample geothermal resources of which they are not taking advantage.
The report from Geoscience BC looked at 63 communities in the province that are near geothermal energy sources, such as hot springs.
According to Carlos Salas, vice-president of energy at Geoscience, one of the big findings of the study is that residents of the largely remote towns and villages didn't know that direct use of geothermal energy was a viable alternative to diesel fuel, and those they didn't know how to take advantage of it.
Salas says geothermal power can be used for everything from residential space heating to drying lumber, and if deployed in a greenhouse setting could actually make a huge difference in the food supply in the region.
"Direct-use geothermal energy resources are significantly underutilized in BC," Salas said.
"From this study we found there was a considerable lack of understanding at the community level about the range of direct-use geothermal applications and the necessary steps required to develop local geothermal resources. The Direct-Use Geothermal Roadmap provides useful information needed by communities to assist them in evaluating, planning and pursuing geothermal projects," he said.
The Direct-Use Geothermal Roadmap contains practical guidelines for communities on geothermal surface exploration, land acquisition and permitting, drilling and testing wells required for the design and development of direct-use geothermal resources in BC.
To support the release of the Roadmap, Geoscience BC is planning a series of community workshops facilitated by lead researcher Dr. Catherine Hickson, Principal of Tuya Terra Geo Corp. The first of these workshops will be a presentation to the BC Union of Municipalities in September. This presentation will be followed by regional workshops which will provide information and tools on how communities move forward with direct-use geothermal projects, addressing technical and non-technical aspects of development.