The sudden drop in the price for oil presents an opportunity to take advantage and invest in a trillion dollar industry. That opportunity is geothermal energy. Oil and gas are finite resources. They may last one, three or even 10 more generations but geothermal, as well as wind and solar power, are infinite resources.
Geothermal energy is more abundant in all three Western provinces; BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. All provinces of Canada have experience with wind farms and solar energy but much less with geothermal.
With the now much lower world oil prices there may soon be some idle oil and gas drilling rigs. The equipment, man power and engineering skills of this industry could quickly be adapted to drilling for and establishing geothermal energy plants ensuring continued employment and economic growth. Piping, control systems and much more, though sometimes in smaller scales, could be distributed throughout the provinces. These new geothermal power plants could then assist in providing the base power load required for the integration of wind and solar power facilities to feed into, along with the present power production facilities and electrical grid. Some of these geothermal systems could be installed in a matter of months, not several years as conventional power plants require.
The current $1.4 billion subsidy and tax credits for the oil and gas sector could go towards the development of this industry and would provide a better Return on Investment (ROI).
Studies have shown return on investment is up to 400 per cent for every dollar invested in energy efficiencies.
One can look to Ontario and Quebec for examples of substantial creation of full time, well paying employment due to incentives and subsidies.
The greater the return on investment from renewable energy is the reason people like Warren Buffet invests billions in such systems.
Countries like China, India and the USA create greater employment and lower their costs by reducing their import costs of oil, gas and coal while reducing their carbon emissions at the same time.
Sixty percent of Canada’s electrical power production is currently developed by hydro power, which is water being pushed through turbines.
If we were able to produce the remaining 40 per cent through the development of geothermal with wind and solar as supplemental sources, Canada could become a 100 per cent renewable energy powerhouse.
As a footnote Canada has the unique opportunity to take advantage of having the longest shoreline of all countries in the world.
The Bay of Fundy’s tidal action and water volume is greater than all rivers and streams combined on the planet.
Any underwater turbine, possibly as simple as a large ships propeller might take advantage of this potential without disturbing the unique marine ecosystems.