Friends of Science Society New Report Challenges CANGEA’s Geothermal and Climate Change Claims about Replacing Alberta Power Generation

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Friends of Science Society has issued a new report entitled “Geothermal for Alberta? A Case for Caution” which challenges the climate change and cost-efficiency claims of CANGEA, Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, saying their multi-billion-dollar market claims and 120 MW targets are naïve and overly optimistic. Alberta’s oil and gas drilling community is presently suffering mass unemployment which CANGEA says they can solve, but Friends of Science says that claim is unrealistic when not one watt of power has yet been generated by geothermal in Canada and Alberta’s geology is not suited to geothermal.

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After a couple of years and investment of about $150 million from my shareholders, I became quite disillusioned about the ability of geothermal power to be anything other than a bit player in the world energy equation. Reality triumphed over my idealism.

Friends of Science Society has issued a new report entitled “Geothermal for Alberta? A Case for Caution” on June 20, 2016, which deconstructs the enthusiastic claims of CANGEA, the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, that it would be a simple matter to repurpose 400,000 old oil and gas wells for geothermal power and heat, and unemployed oil workers could go back to work, as suggested by the CANGEA website LINK: cangea.ca/ Geothermal energy relies on converting heat from under the earth’s surface to heat and power, with Iceland as the poster-child.

“Geothermal for Alberta? A Case for Caution” begins by examining DeSmogBlog’s promotional YouTube video shot in Iceland. Iceland sits on a tectonic rift and regularly experiences volcanic activity. Alberta is in the center of an old tectonic plate where the thermal opportunities lie deep in the ground, making it unsuitable, complicated and expensive for geothermal exploitation. CANGEA claims the lack of geothermal in Alberta is due to policy; Friends of Science Society say it is geology.

Previous geothermal efforts in British Columbia. were unsuccessful and costly. According to investor Ross Beaty's calculations, geothermal power costs about $5 million [in geologically suitable regions] to create each megawatt of electricity, versus coal/gas power plants at around $1 million to $2 million per megawatt according to a June 30, 2014 report in Business in Vancouver.

Beaty said: “After a couple of years and investment of about $150 million from my shareholders, I became quite disillusioned about the ability of geothermal power to be anything other than a bit player in the world energy equation. Reality triumphed over my idealism.”

“Geothermal for Alberta? A Case for Caution” examines numerous geothermal projects in the world and evaluates their challenges against those in Alberta, finding that the costs are prohibitive and the process fraught with uncertainties according to an in-depth study by MIT (2006).

Friends of Science Society reports that not only is the thermal gradient of Alberta unsuitable for geothermal power generation, there is also an inherent risk of deadly hydrogen sulfide (H2S) release due to Alberta’s geologic make-up.

“Based on the 2012 “Investor Perspectives…” Morrison Park Advisors report to the Market Surveillance Authority (MSA) of Alberta, there is no particular interest from investors for baseload power,” says Michelle Stirling, Communications Manager for Friends of Science.

She explains the CANGEA financial projections seem unrealistic.

“Likewise, the financial expectations outlined in the CANGEA materials are nearly double the projected market rate posted in the most recent Quarterly Report of the MSA, issued April 29, 2016,” says Stirling.”

Friends of Science Society say CANGEA should first deliver a successful pilot project before making larger-than-life claims.

About
Friends of Science has spent a decade reviewing a broad spectrum of literature on climate change and have concluded the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide (CO2). Friends of Science is made up of a growing group of earth, atmospheric and solar scientists, engineers, and citizens.
Friends of Science Society
P.O. Box 23167, Mission P.O.
Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2S 3B1
Toll-free Telephone: 1-888-789-9597
Web: friendsofscience.org
E-mail: contact(at)friendsofscience(dot)org

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Michelle Stirling
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