Kitselas Geothermal & Borealis GeoPower: Geothermal District Energy

Right now, Kitselas First Nation, whose traditional use territory spans from the Pacific Ocean inland approximately 160 km to the Skeena River Valley in and around Terrace BC, is poised to materially participate in the economic development boom occurring in their Traditional Territory due to BC’s emerging LNG industry. This project is proceeding in an innovative, cleantech way and the arrangement came together, one could say, naturally.

The BC and Canadian governments have positioned the BC LNG Industry to be the cleanest in the world and in order to do that, LNG operations themselves and their supply chain must decarbonize to the furthest possible extent.

BC Hydro, a crown corporation, which primarily offers non-emitting electricity to the grid, is currently not able to fully serve LNG Canada or any of the proposed LNG projects. Thus, in order to meet their clean mandate, LNG Canada will need to use natural gas-fueled generators to electrify operations. This is where Kitselas Geothermal Inc. comes into the picture.

The Kitselas Traditional Territory and the internationally significant geothermal resources that are present in close proximity to the LNG Industry, present an ideal opportunity to use renewable electricity and renewable-fueled heating and cooling directly in LNG operations and the supply chain.

As land in Kitimat is in short supply, the city of Terrace has emerged as the regional hub for the LNG Industry’s supply chain. Matching the growing energy load (electricity, heating, cooling) with the capabilities of the geothermal resource, and the permits held by First Nation controlled Kitselas Geothermal Inc., the project can materially support the social, environmental and economic objectives of the region.

This project is a novel approach to geothermal energy development for base-load electricity and renewable heating/cooling alternatives. Important rare earth elements (minerals and metals) can also be dissolved in geothermal brines, thus opening new avenues to ethical mining in the well-established BC mining industry. Resource permitting and conceptual engineering design for geothermal and mining development have been completed.

Once the flow rates of the geothermal wells are established, the resource can be matched to the energy needs for electricity and heating/cooling.

Each 15 MW of geothermal electricity developed is poised to eliminate 70 kt of CO2 emissions each year and reduce natural gas consumption by ~1 PJ a year. By 2050, the year that Canada needs to meet its Paris Climate Accord goals, more than 2 Mt metric tons of CO2 emissions could be avoided and ~30 PJ of natural gas could remain unburned.

At the district heating/cooling industrial park, the use of geothermal energy could annually eliminate >320 kt of CO2 emissions and offset ~6.5 PJ of natural gas consumption. By 2050, approximately 10 Mt metric tons CO2 emissions could be eliminated.

For the engineered Capital and Operating Costs, these projections are among the most cost competitive Clean projects available in Canada.

As the first company in British Columbia to undergo this process, Kitselas Geothermal Inc. has made some breakthroughs associated with permitting. They have successfully navigated the many government policies and programs before them, setting a course for other geothermal companies to seek permits and begin projects of their own.

Kitselas Geothermal Inc.’s technical partner, Borealis GeoPower Inc., has earned international and national recognition for the innovation they’ve brought to geothermal exploration in Canada, innovation that is positioned to save time and costs for development.

At the same time Borealis has made a significant impact with respect to gender equality, meaningful work for youth, and partnerships with Indigenous Peoples.

That’s some good energy.