Geothermal Research a Boost to British Columbia’s Clean Energy Transition

An online project open house on August 4th, 2021 was held to explain findings and set out plans for a second phase of work.

View YouTube presentation here

Vancouver, BC – July 12, 2021 – British Columbia’s clean energy transition has been given a boost with the release of new geothermal research by Geoscience BC and Natural Resources Canada’s Geological Survey of Canada.

Mapping, data and a final report from the first phase of the Garibaldi Geothermal Volcanic Belt Assessment Project provide the most detailed understanding to date of the potential for geothermal energy at the Mount Meager Complex. Located near Pemberton, Mount Meager is widely regarded as BC’s most promising geothermal ‘hot spot’.

The new publications mark the completion of the first phase of the collaboration between Geoscience BC, the Geological Survey of Canada and seven colleges and universities. The reports capture analyses and fieldwork completed in 2019 and 2020.

Geological Survey of Canada Research Scientist and project lead, Dr. Steve Grasby, said: “A collaborative approach has enabled us to collect and integrate a variety of geoscientific data at and around Mount Meager. This research will inform geothermal exploration and provide more certainty around its potential to provide clean, long-term power for BC’s Southwest Region.”

Stable, renewable energy sources, such as geothermal, can help Canada meet its target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Canada is the only country on the Pacific Rim not to produce energy from geothermal, although several projects to test geothermal potential are currently underway.

The new report contains a comprehensive set of studies that gathered geological, geochemical, geophysical, paleomagnetic and physical rock property data to help predict the presence of hot, permeable aquifers that could potentially be developed to generate geothermal energy.

Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) Board Chair Jen Ford said: “The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District views climate action as a priority, having incorporated it into key SLRD legislation, policies and projects, including the Regional Growth Strategy. We recognize the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and we are optimistic about the role that this work can play in meeting that objective.”

Geoscience BC Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer Carlos Salas added: “This latest research will boost geothermal exploration in British Columbia. For geothermal energy resources to play a significant role in the future Canadian economy, reliable, baseline geoscience information about the depth, temperature and permeability of potential aquifers – and their suitability to generate geothermal heat and power – is vital.”

Plans for Phase 2 of the project are underway and will involve two seasons of fieldwork around Mount Cayley, approximately 20 kilometres west of Whistler, starting in 2021.

Accessing Data
View the project pages (2018-004) for more information.

View project page             View project in Earth Science Viewer

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For more information, please contact:
Richard Truman
Geoscience BC