Table of contents

Background

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 Metis 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.

The Geothermal Resource Development Act:

  • provides the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) with the authority to regulate deep geothermal projects, while Alberta Environment and Parks 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 Parks will continue to regulate shallow geothermal resource development.

The new regulations take effect on January 1, 2022 and interested companies are encouraged to submit their applications for tenure to government. The AER is currently finalizing their rules and directives around geothermal development which are anticipated to be ready in Spring 2022.

Submitting a tenure application

Alberta Energy 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 will be handled on a first-in, first-out basis and incomplete applications will not be accepted. Applications to acquire geothermal leases must be sent to: [email protected].

Information Bulletin 2022-02 (PDF, 114 KB) Administration of Geothermal Resource Tenure outlines the business requirements and best practices for acquiring and maintaining a geothermal resource lease.

Geothermal applications received

Month Number of applications received Number of leases issued
January 2022 8 0
February 2022 7 0
March 2022 18 0
April 2022 3 1
May 2022 20 0

Contact

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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