This month, DEEP Earth Energy Production will take its first step to building the first geothermal power facility in Canada.
After months of testing, the company is set to begin drilling the deepest horizontal well in Saskatchewan’s history to allow for the installation of a large diameter submersible pump. Once complete, the Saskatoon-based company says the Williston Basin 20 MegaWatt geothermal power plant will supply enough electricity for approximately 20,000 households.
In a press release, the company said “Utilizing local world class oilfield drilling expertise, this project is a first step in Canada’s significant energy transition to clean power.”
“This is a first for Canada – and it’s the beginning of something big,” said The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. “Geothermal energy can create lots of jobs in Western Canada and across the country – all while helping us get to net zero.”
Along with generating geothermal power, DEEP Earth Energy says it hopes to use waste oilfield flare gas and solar generation to power the facility’s cooling towers, lighting and pumps.
According to the company, this globally unique power hub will produce clean baseload power while significantly reducing fossil fuel emissions.
Once complete, the project is expected to offset approximately 114,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, which is equal to removing 32,000 cars off the road annually.
Major private and public sector greenhouse developments that support research into diverse high-value crops, increase farm profitability and supply locally grown produce will be able to use waste heat from the project. DEEP Energy says this will provide major local employment opportunities and address national food security concerns.
“DEEP’s vision to build 100 MW of geothermal power and greenhouse development could be a new $1 Billion industry for Southeast Saskatchewan,” said Kirsten Marcia, DEEP President & CEO.
Drilling and testing operations last winter show a vast and predictable hot sedimentary aquifer is located at the base of the Williston Basin. DEEP Energy says this aquifer can support a number of 20 MW baseload geothermal power facilities. As well, flow tests and injection tests have shown consistent and repeatable results in the Deadwood Formation sandstone and testing of the Border-4 well, located 7 kilometres to the west of the main project site, demonstrated the same consistent production rates.
Since July 31, the company has been testing Canada’s first geothermal production and injection “loop” with the reservoir and wells performing at or above expectations with no operational issues.
The plant uses an electric submersible pump, installed at a depth of 2,800 metres to bring hot brine to the surface. Once at the surface, the brine flows through containment tanks and then is re-injected back into the same formation.
DEEP Energy says it has completed a preliminary subsurface design that optimizes the well spacing and configuration to produce 20 MW of geothermal power using ten horizontal wells, using 6 producers and 4 injectors. Each well will be drilled to a vertical depth of approximately 3.5 kilometres and a horizontal length of approximately 2 km.
Kirsten Marcia, DEEP President & CEO said “We are in the process of procuring a temporary 200-400 kilowatt system, providing on-site power during the upcoming construction phase. It’s an exciting step.”
The resource and surface facilities engineering work to confirm the feasibility of the first 20 MW project is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2021. The feasibility analysis will be based in large on the results of the large volume horizontal well loop test, leading to the final construction design in the Bankable Feasibility Report.
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