Sask. injects $175K into geothermal power project

The Saskatchewan government is providing some funding to a geothermal power demonstration plant slated to be developed near Estevan.

Province says the facility will be Canada’s first geothermal power plant

The Saskatchewan government says this facility will the first of its kind in the province. (Canadian Press)

A geothermal power demonstration plant to be built near Estevan has received a funding boost from the provincial government. It says the plant has the potential to generate constant electricity while generating zero carbon emissions.

"It runs 24 hours a day seven days a week regardless of whether, you know, the wind is blowing or the sun is shining," said Kirsten Marcia, president of DEEP Earth Energy Production Corporation and geoscientist.

"As long as the centre of the earth is hot, we have a continuous free source of fuel."

The province plans to give $175,000 to DEEP Earth Energy Production Corporation over two years for equipment and construction though Innovation Saskatchewan's Saskatchewan Advantage Innovation Fund. 

Marcia said every megawatt of power generated could power an estimated 1,000 homes, which would mean this particular plant could power 5,000 homes. DEEP will drill 3.4 kilometres down into the earth — into a hot sedimentary aquifer — and then pump hot brine to the surface.

Then, they will run the hot water through a heat exchange and harvest the heat.

The 3,400-metre deep wells will produce hot brine which DEEP will measure and analyze over 90 days, to determine the project's economic feasibility, according to the government. 

"We're just moving water to the surface, but we never actually see the water," she said, noting cool water goes back down. 

The company has completed a prefeasibility study for the project and will begin drilling the initial production and injection wells in June 2018, according to a government news release.

The facility will be Canada's first geothermal power plant and help SaskPower reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, the government said.

Marcia said that once that after this demonstration plant is finalized, they could expand to a plant that could generate several hundred megawatts of power.

DEEP is working with a total budget of $45 million for the project.

with files from Alex Soloducha