Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this will be the first geothermal project in BC and one of the first across Canada. There are currently no other operating geothermal electricity facilities. Ground source heat pumps can be found across the province, but an electricity project of this scale has not been completed in BC.
Fort Nelson is not connected to BC Hydro’s main electricity grid. The Fort Nelson area receives power from the non-integrated area of Northeastern BC, which connects to the Northwestern corner of Alberta. The electricity supplied on this grid is very high in emission intensity compared to BC Hydro’s main grid, estimated to be 13 times higher in carbon emissions.
We are still in a testing phase, and the data collected will answer that more precisely after the design phase. It is estimated that there will be enough electricity to power 14,000 homes.
Something to note is that electricity production will vary seasonally because geothermal energy is harnessed through a gradient, comparing the ambient temperature to the earth’s temperature. Therefore, when it’s very cold outside, more electricity will be produced than in summer when the temperature gradient is less intense. This is advantageous for Northern winters as there is higher energy consumption.
Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal is 100% community-owned through Clarke Lake Geothermal Project LP, an initiative by Deh Tai LP. Deh Tai LP is the economic development arm of Fort Nelson First Nation that is responsible for several businesses with the mandate to maximize economic opportunities for Fort Nelson First Nation.
The Clarke Lake gas field has decades of data from the gas industry that helps inform the geothermal facility’s location and design. Gas field workers use to note that snow melted around the site due to the geothermal heat. This site has also been studied by the public sector and academic institutions, noting the high porosity of Devonian carbonate. Around 400 million years ago, the Clarke Lake site used to be a coral reef!
The Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal site is currently not open to the public; however, please visit our photo gallery to view updates. We also encourage you to visit the Liard Hot Springs and experience geothermal heat in these beautiful hot springs. Liard Hot Springs Lodge offers comfortable accommodations and easy access to this natural phenomenon, don’t miss this prime location along the Alaska Highway.
Geothermal energy is heat energy extracted from the earth’s core. The earth’s core can reach temperatures of 4,000-7,000°C! This heat can be harnessed to spin generators for electricity or for direct heat applications like heating buildings or greenhouses.
Volcanic regions such as Iceland, Kenya and the Philippines produce very high-temperature geothermal resources.
High and mid-grade geothermal heat is located along active tectonic fault lines, such as California and the Ring of Fire. The deeper faults provide pathways for the heat to rise closer to the earth’s surface.
Heat rising from the earth’s core can become captured under a deep blanket of shale, such as the Western Sedimentary Basin. This type of geological phenomenon creates mid-grade geothermal temperatures which can be found in the Clarke Lake reservoir in Northeastern BC and across many countries in Europe.
Radiogenic heat is caused by the decay of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes. This can create low-grade geothermal resources. This can be found in the Canadian Shield and parts of Australia. DEEP in Southern Saskatchewan is an example of a radiogenic heat source.
The geothermal industry continues to advance, as technology progresses it will be easier to access this resource.
Geothermal energy provides clean baseload power, which means it can produce electricity 365 days, 24/7. The footprint of geothermal facilities is also relatively small for the amount of electricity produced, overall contributing to a small environmental impact.
Yes, geothermal is a renewable energy source. The reservoir needs to be appropriately managed by monitoring the reservoir and reinjecting brine at the correct rate to maintain the longevity and pressure of the resource.
The carbon emissions from geothermal energy are very low compared to other energy sources. Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal is also relatively low because its binary cycle facility is closed-loop and does not emit excess steam. Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal minimizes its environmental footprint because it is located on a brownfield site and maximizes existing roads and infrastructure use.
Want to learn more about Geothermal?
Please visit our resources page and browse some learning resources we have compiled.