From Crude Oil to Carrots: Is Geothermal a Viable Option for Alberta’s Abandoned Wells?


October 13, 2016 :: Katie Huang
Moderated by Larry Elford

It could cost tax payers billions of dollars to clean up the 100,000 plus abandoned oil and gas wells throughout Alberta. However, if used as geothermal energy, many of these wells can be an asset instead of a liability. Abandoned wells can cost $300,000 each to reclaim. Converting those same wells to operate as geothermal greenhouses may be much cheaper and more cost effective.

The Living Energy Project at the Leduc #1 Energy Discover Centre is converting an abandoned oil well to capture geothermal energy. This energy will be used to heat the building and an 8000 square-foot greenhouse. Provided that Government gives the green light, this could be the first time in Canada’s history that a disused well will be used as a tool for agricultural production, which in turn could help increase local food security and make it possible for farmers to profit.

The potential for Canadian geothermal greenhouses are extensive. Clean local heating and electric energy for smaller and remote communities are also possibilities, utilizing disused wells. These benefits highlight the potential of creative solutions and job creation through geothermal energy.

Despite Alberta’s great geological potential and available technology and workforce for producing geothermal energy, there is currently no framework permitting its development. In order to develop policies for geothermal, there must be agreement between Government, industry and the public.

The speaker will make a case that the current economic downturn in the energy sector is a great opportunity to develop geothermal energy and at the same time boost the economy, bring the skilled workforce back to employment, develop an industry for a reliable and low-emission resource, and decrease the reliance on non-renewable energy sources.

Speaker:     Katie Huang

Katie is a newly graduated geologist (BSc Honours, Geological Science from UBC) volunteering as an ambassador with CanGEA to bring awareness and educate Canadians about geothermal energy potential. She is co-founder/board of director member for the International Vision Organization which brings eye health care to underdeveloped countries and supports projects that bring economic support to women and environmental education to students.

Katie hopes that her passion for geothermal energy, the environment and community can positively impact others, and that advocating for geothermal energy will help inspire Government, industry and Albertans to create policies which allow for such development.

Moderator: Larry Elford

Date: Thursday, October 13, 2016
Time: Noon - 1:30 pm
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S
Cost: $12.00 (includes lunch) or $2.00 (includes coffee/tea)


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