The geothermal project on Lakelse Lake has completed its pre-feasibility stage, bringing Kitselas Geothermal Inc. one step closer to its 15-megawatt power plant. The site itself will be capable of generating an estimated 23 megawatts of continuous electricity for 30 years.
One megawatt is enough to power up to 90 single-family homes for one year, based on the average provincial electricity usage from BC Hydro. The measurement of energy usage varies wildly, but Borealis CEO Alison Thompson said their rule of thumb is for one megawatt to power 1,000 homes simultaneously.
There is currently no geothermal energy produced in Canada, according to the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association. The Kitselas project is among many contenders to claim title of Canada’s first, in turn creating opportunities to capitalize off the prestige. Earlier this week Borealis GeoPower already achieved a first by ordering three power generation modules from supplier Swedish Climeon, destined for the company’s Sustainaville demonstration project in Valemount, B.C. It is the first order for power modules ever made from Canada.
The geothermal plants work by tapping into the hot water reservoirs where the steam is then used to turn power-producing turbines. The water is then cycled back underground.
Locally, there are a number of options on the table for electricity generated from the Kitselas project, including selling power to BC Hydro to increase grid stability for Northern developments.
In a press release it was also noted successful wells are intended to energize Kitselas Development’s greenhouse project, a geothermal heated commercial operation that will fuel the Kitselas First Nation and surrounding communities with fossil-fuel-free food.
Kitselas Geothermal is run in partnership by Calgary-based Borealis Geopower and Kitselas Development Corporation. To date, geothermometry at the 15-square-kilometre reservoir, 10-kilometres south of Terrace, estimates temperatures to exceed 150 C at a depth of 2,000 metres.
The exploration phase is expected to generate a map of the lake from thousands of data sets that Borealis said previously will be the single-most accurate map to date in a three-dimensional form.
In an email Borealis CEO Alison Thompson sounded optimistic about the project, first proposed in 2014, saying the company has filed its annual technical report with the Ministry of Energy and renewed its geothermal resource permit.
She declined to offer any future timelines for the project, but said she hopes to have more information to share by month’s end.