Getting Energized: Our Round-up of the newest Alternative Energy Initiatives

Written by Treena Hein | May 11, 2016 | Greenhouse Canada

June 2016 – In our August edition last year we presented an overview of a few of the new alternative energy projects across the country. This year, we have more exciting news to share, along with some recent updates.

Let’s start with the updates.

Borealis Geopower has now officially partnered with the Village of Valemount, B.C., and the Valemount Community Forest (VCF) to develop a unique renewable energy eco-park that will include greenhouses. Energy from the site, one of Canada’s best-known geothermal hot spots, will be harnessed for heat and potentially also electricity generation.

The location is a 240-acre brownfield site south of the village, recently purchased by VCF. In addition to greenhouses, the “Geo-Park” will feature a brewery, an aquaculture facility and projects relating to eco-tourism and forestry.

Next we go to Policella Farms in Kingsville, Ontario, where Rick Policella provides an update on their 200 kW solar energy project, installed three years ago. Policella Farms is a fourth generation, family-owned grower, packer and shipper of premium greenhouse tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and other specialty products, with another facility in nearby Detroit.

The firm’s solar project includes about 1,050 panels, with 20 invertors that allow them to perform at peak capacity even on days with low light levels. Policella says the system is working well and there have been no headaches. “We did our research ahead of time,” he notes. “We expect to achieve our return on investment within the next two years.” – See more at:

Please click here to read the full article on the Greenhouse Canada website.

Geothermal Money Where Mouth Is

Korie Marhsall, Editor. June 21, 2016.

Borealis Geopower is considering a crowdfunding campaign to help get a geothermal industrial park, in partnership with the Valemount Community Forest, off the ground. Borealis doesn’t have to crowd fund, they have other options, and it won’t cover all the costs they’ll have for the project. The BC Securities Commission has new rules for start-up crowdfunding, and no one person can invest more than $1,500. There are also limits to how much can be raised with crowdfunding. So when you are talking about half a million dollars to drill core holes, and then another million each for slim holes, that would take over a thousand individual investors putting in the max amount just to get the first slim hole – a daunting task.

Crowdfunding does have some obvious benefits and they are not just financial. But it also has financial costs, which is why the company is still considering if they’ll go that route.

If they do, I intend to invest as much as I can, even if it means taking money off my credit card. I am in no way a financial advisor, but I do recognize taking money off my credit card to invest in a risky project is not sound investment strategy. But I’ll do it anyway, and here is why.

I try to put my money into companies, projects and plans I believe in. I’ve been burned by what other people said was “sound investment practices” before, so if I am going to invest in a start-up, I do it knowing full well there is a chance I will lose all my money. I will take that risk, because I am not in it to make a return on my investment. I’m in it to make a statement about the world I want to live in.

I will do it because I want to tell our provincial and federal government that projects like this are where I want to see money invested. This project has fired the imagination of local people, shows the power of working together, shows the ingenuity and determination of small businesses, and promises to boost local jobs and local food security. And on top of that, it will show the value of heat – heat that doesn’t have to be created with electricity or fossil fuels that are shipped all over the place…

Click here for the link to the full article on the Rocky Mountain Goat News.

Hot Treasure: Alberta’s Unique Geothermal Potential

Penney Kome, Alberta Views. June 21, 2016.

My favourite garage sale find is a small folk-art sculpture. Bars of beaten copper clasp to form a shimmering triangular tower topped by a pumpjack arm—a tabletop oil derrick. Turn the key on the pumpjack’s wheel and a music box plays “The Impossible Dream.” The pumpjack arm goes up and down but never quite pulls the load from the well.

A lot of Albertans now feel similarly stuck. Our province has a new government and a new climate plan that proposes to change everything, especially for the energy sector. We’re phasing out coal and putting a higher price on carbon. New environmental regulations loom for the energy industry. Oil prices are down sharply as global competitors flood the market. Unemployment is up and corporate revenues are down. Everyone says we must diversify, but no one knows how. A lot of capital is tied up in idle rigs and abandoned wells.

Alberta, however, has the resources, the know-how and the interested parties to create a new energy specialty: geothermal. “To me, this is an exciting opportunity,” says Craig Dunn, the president of Calgary-based Borealis GeoPower. As a geologist, he knows that oilfield wellheads often erupt with brine, oil, gas—and steam. To him that means “Albertans have direct access to the earth’s heat.” What oil companies have long seen as a hazardous nuisance, Dunn’s company sees as a renewable resource that can be turned into a commodity. Already, engineers are retooling oilfield equipment to drill for heat. Even abandoned oil wells can be repurposed for geothermal energy.

Our province also has technical advantages we could sell to the world. Iceland may heat 85 per cent of its buildings with direct geothermal heat, but “they’ve just drilled their first horizontal well,” says Dunn’s colleague Alison Thompson, president of CanGEA, the Canadian Geothermal Association. “We’ve been doing it for years.” Alberta has plenty of drilling rigs on hand, she adds, but “Germany had to build their own.” Another surprising opportunity lies in existing provincial oil well maps, which could reduce geothermal’s exploration expenses, usually one-third of costs.

For the full article, please visit:

Craig Dunn of Borealis GeoPower, Named EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist!

(Calgary, 6 July 2016) – EY is recognizing an impressive group of Prairies entrepreneurs for their financial performance, vision, leadership, personal integrity and entrepreneurial spirit. Today, the firm named 50 finalists across 10 categories in its EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Prairies 2016 awards program.

“Our entrepreneurs are building a better working world one company at a time,” says Rob Jolley, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Prairies Program Director. “In this region, we are consistently impressed with the calibre of men and women who are leading businesses, driving our economy forward and providing jobs to thousands of people. Our judges have a tough job narrowing down these fantastic stories into winners. We have a top notch group of finalists.”

An independent panel of judges will name winners in a number of diverse categories, and one of the category winners as the overall Prairies winner. That winner will then compete with winners from Québec, Atlantic, Pacific and Ontario for the Canadian Entrepreneur Of The Year title. The Canadian winner will go on to compete with winners from more than 50 countries for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year, in June 2017.

For the full article, please visit (

Canada Has Enormous Geothermal Potential. Why Aren’t We Using it?

Carol Linnitt, DeSmog Canada | Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Like a stand of eager horses chomping at the bit, Canada’s young geothermal industry is waiting impatiently at the starting line, ready for the race to begin.

But there’s no starting pistol in sight. At least, not yet.

Getting geothermal projects up and running in Canada “has been harder than it needs to be,” according to Alison Thompson, founder and president of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CANGea).

Thompson, along with a group of delegates from Canada’s geothermal industry, is currently in Reykjavik at the Iceland Geothermal Conference where delegates, experts and scientists from around the world are swapping stories from the geothermal trenches.

Despite having the second largest delegation at the conference after Iceland, Canada has little to show or tell.

“Canada has an incredibly high quality resource and we can’t even get out of the starting gate,” Thompson told DeSmog Canada.

To read the full article, click here

Introduction to Geothermal Exploration with Craig Dunn

Please join us on Saturday, July 16th for our Introduction to Geothermal Exploration with our very own Chief Geologist, Craig Dunn.

Spend the day learning from geo-scientists. Ask questions. Be informed. Understand what’s happening in Geothermal exploration in Valemount. Instructor Craig Dunn will be explaining the basics of Geothermal resource development in this one-day workshop! Lunch included.

Geothermal poster Revised

For information, and to register, please call the Valemount Learning Centre at 250-566-4601 or 1-888-690-4422

9AM – 12PM: Classroom Session             1PM-5PM: Field Exploration

Best Western Inn & Suites                        Canoe Reach (Kinbasket Lake)


Geothermal Energy Exploration and Development Luncheon Fast Approaching

Please join us on Wednesday June 22, 2016 where we will have a discussion on insights in Western Canadian applications of geothermal geology, drilling & completions, and power generation operations.


The Alberta Oil and Gas Industry has been hit by numerous downturns, most recently from November 2014 up to present. Almost 140,000 jobs have been lost and the oil price is still at or below $50 per barrel. How can we bring back the use of the drilling rigs and use our Alberta oil and gas skills to develop energy?

Learn more about the event here. Hope to see you there!

Geothermal Energy Could Put Alberta Workers Back on the Job

Written by Carol Linnit; Huffington Post.

Abandoned oil and gas wells in Alberta are on the rise — but where many see a growing liability, Alberta’s fledgling geothermal industry sees massive opportunity.

“We’ve got these old wells that we know are hot and we’re going to fill them with cement and walk away,” says Tim Davies, CEO of geothermal company Turkana. “It’s just stupid.”

There’s currently no permitting framework for geothermal in Alberta, leaving the renewable energy out of play.

“I own the well, I own the land and I own the oil. But I can’t own the heat,” Davies said. “There’s just no mechanism for that in place.”

“The oil business has drilled 400,000 wells in Alberta alone,” Alison Thompson, president of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, told DeSmog Canada. “They’ve already found all the hot water the province has.”

“The oil patch has those skills to get the most out of every well,” Thompson said, adding the workforce has been hamstrung by a lack of forward thinking policies.

The number of orphaned wells — left in the wake of a mass exodus of oil and gas producers — has quadrupled in the last 12 months.

Ben Lee, owner of Raven Thermal Systems, says the oil and gas sector’s loss could be the geothermal industry’s gain.

“For the first time in more than a decade you’ve got very skilled workers that have exactly the skillset that a successful geothermal project needs,” Lee told DeSmog Canada.

Geothermal energy draws on the earth’s natural warmth to create a renewable form of energy with a low environmental footprint and virtually no carbon emissions. Importantly, geothermal provides reliable base load capacity, similar to a hydro dam or gas-fired power plant, enabling system stability.

Despite being home to enormous geothermal potential, Canada is the only country on the Pacific Ring of Fire that doesn’t use the resource to produce commercial-scale energy.

CanGEA released a report in late 2014 that found geothermal could supply all of the energy needs of British Columbia for much cheaper than the Site C dam, currently under construction.

“You’ve got top-notch geologists, reservoir engineers, drilling and completion engineers, surface engineers and all the associated landmen and everything else that comes along with a successful drilling program,” Lee said.

“They are available, and available on the cheap to some extent right now, because there is so much supply.”

Click here to view the whole page.

CBC Radio-Canada speaks to Borealis GeoPower about BC and Alberta Geothermal Potential

Environmental Plan for Alberta: geothermal also wants its place in the sun

Alberta, which has a strong geothermal potential, this energy should further include in its plan on climate change, according to a Canadian association.

A text Samuel Danzon – Chambaud

The province wants to have up to 30% renewable energy in 2030, but despite its strong geothermal potential, Alberta evokes little this energy in its report on climate change.

“Regarding geothermal energy, we are only mentioned twice in the document,” notes Alison Thompson, president of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA). “It’s very frustrating for us.”

Geothermal energy draws hot underground water to produce energy. The water can then be re-injected into the ground at least serve for other uses such as agriculture or public baths.

Although geothermal energy is used to produce heating, there is no power plant in the country.

Canada’s geothermal potential:

Canada Geothermal Potential


The co-founder of Borealis GeoPower think a concrete example is necessary for development of the industry. “We need this first project a success”, has indicated Craig Dunn.

He has filled the void left by coal, that Alberta wants to replace such green energy such as solar and wind power. Craig Dunn noted that the advantage of geothermal energy is to produce energy at all times.

In an email, Alberta’s Minister of the Environment is committed to study this form of energy in the framework of the plan on climate change. Shannon Phillips is also open to discussions with CanGEA.


Click here to view the whole page.