Alberta is positioned to attract investment in this emerging industry with a natural geographical advantage, leadership in drilling technology, and extensive oil and gas expertise.
Developing geothermal energy could promote economic development in municipalities and help enhance energy and community resiliency for First Nations, Metis Settlements and other Métis groups.
There is also potential for co-production with oil and gas development as well as repurposing inactive oil and gas well infrastructure, which could facilitate investment while limiting land impacts.
New policy and regulatory framework
This framework establishes a clear path forward for geothermal projects, while ensuring the resource is developed responsibly and in the best interest of Albertans.
The new framework aligns with other resource activities, which maintains the province’s responsible approach to energy development. It protects the rights of landowners who will need to provide consent before a project proceeds and ensures that producers will be responsible for any clean up costs throughout the lifecycle of a project.
- provides the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) with the authority to regulate deep geothermal projects, while Alberta Environment and Protected Areas continues to regulate shallow geo-exchange projects;
In addition, amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act:
- ensures the right to access and use this energy is granted to owners of the substances from which the energy is extracted, such as minerals and water; and
- ensures the province receives a direct economic benefit – through fees and royalties – along with indirect economic benefits, such as job creation.
The regulations provide clarity by enabling a proactive approach for issuing geothermal tenure through the Geothermal Resource Tenure Regulation, and establishes the AER as the single lifecycle regulator for deep geothermal resource development, through the Geothermal Resource Development Regulation and amendments to other regulations. Environment and Protected Areas will continue to regulate shallow geothermal resource development.
The new regulations took effect on January 1, 2022 and interested companies are encouraged to submit their applications for tenure to government. The AER's application and licensee requirements are outlined within the Geothermal Resource Development Rules, Directive 089, and Manual 012: Energy Development Applications: Procedures and Schedules.
Submitting a tenure application
Alberta Energy and Minerals is now accepting applications for geothermal leases from companies interested in exploring for and developing geothermal resources. These applications are necessary for any stand-alone geothermal operations that would occur below the base of groundwater protection.
Applications for a geothermal lease must be made electronically using the Electronic Transfer System (ETS). Applications will be handled on a first-in, first-out basis and incomplete applications will not be accepted in ETS. Questions regarding geothermal applications and administration may be submitted to our email [email protected]. For further information on how to submit an application, refer to the online learning referenced below.
Information Bulletin 2022-03 (PDF, 68 KB) Geothermal Tenure – Integrated into Electronic Transfer System (ETS) Automation.
Information Bulletin 2023-02 (PDF, 109 KB) Administration of Geothermal Resource Tenure outlines the business requirements and best practices for acquiring and maintaining a geothermal resource lease.
For information about managing your geothermal leases and working within ETS, refer to Alberta Online Learning.
Geothermal applications received
|Month||Number of applications received||Number of leases issued|
|April – December 21 no applications received|
See the locations of the leases issued:
Connect with Geothermal Resource Development:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Email: [email protected]
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