geothermal resource development act

Alberta Renewable Energy: The Geothermal Resource Development Act

ThinkGeoEnergy recently featured an article on the Province of Alberta proclaiming the Geothermal Resource Development Act (GRDA) into law. The GRDA “establishes a regulatory regime administered by the Alberta Energy Regulator for the responsible development of geothermal resources and related wells and facilities in Alberta.” The new act offers Alberta’s renewable energy industry “greater regulatory certainty for potential investors in development of the significant geothermal resources of the province.”

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has been established as the primary regulator for deep geothermal energy developments in Alberta. As stated in the article, “AER is currently working to finalize the details of the regulatory framework, including the application process and technical requirements for development of geothermal resources. The organisation will implement the application process with the release of the rules, directives, and guiding documents. The final requirements are expected to be published in the spring of 2022.”

The Government of Alberta suggests this initiative positions Alberta to attract investment with a natural geographical advantage, leadership in drilling technology and extensive oil and gas expertise. The development of geothermal energy could promote economic development and help enhance energy and community resiliency.

This new policy and regulatory framework is establishing “a clear path forward for geothermal projects, while ensuring the resource is developed responsibly and in the best interest of Albertans.” It is stated that “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.”

The AER will not be able to accept applications until the rules and regulations are drafted and in force, but will be working with industry and stakeholders to “answer any questions about the regulatory system, application processing, timelines, or procedures.” Any questions about resource development, application submissions, licenses and transfers can be emailed to AER at geothermal@aer.ca.

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