Yukon-based columnist Keith Halliday says next-generation geothermal energy could play a vital role in the Canadian territory’s future.
Economic commentator Halliday has a long list of opinion pieces written for multiple regional publications, including Yukon News and Tar Sands Diplomat. It is no surprise that many of Halliday’s articles focus on resource development and the environment in a territory primarily driven by mining and tourism.
In a recent two-part series, the writer breaks down the past, present, and most importantly, the future of mining and resource extraction in light of global climate change initiatives and attitude shifts towards responsible resource development.
Global demand for sustainable minerals like copper and zinc is increasing, and the Yukon has a unique opportunity to supply responsible resources while striving towards reduced emissions and world-wide climate goals.
Cost-effective and environmentally friendly power, green infrastructure, and the necessary policies and regulations to develop these are three key points Halliday lists as priorities needed to ensure the Yukon’s mining industry can survive the green-energy transition.
Halliday assesses the potential for hydro energy as low, and mentions nuclear as an option, albeit hindered by strict regulations and a lack of projects to demonstrate applicability.
But the potential for geothermal energy as a low-carbon power source is a promising avenue to pursue. The columnist mentions Eavor Technologies by name, and cites favourable geologic conditions for geothermal extraction.
The territory sits on the Denali Fault System, a series of underground fractures ideal for traditional geothermal extraction techniques. Rock temperature data is limited, but a 2018 study suggests that temperatures range from the global average of 25℃/km up to 40℃/km.
Eavor-Loop™ extraction systems have been proven to thrive in a variety of geologic conditions, setting the technology apart from traditional techniques that require risky exploration and rare subterranean conditions.
And Eavor has hit the ground running in the Yukon. The company announced a partnership with the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation in 2020 to explore alternative energy sources for the community.
Geothermal energy can also be used to green other resource extraction industries, rather than replacing them. By harnessing subsurface energy, remote mining operations can generate both heat and electricity, as well as green hydrogen.
Eavor Yukon President Dave Thompson detailed this idea in a Letter to the Yukon News Editor, published in late 2021. Thompson and his team at Eavor Yukon have extensive knowledge of how Eavor-Loops™ can work hand-in-hand with the existing industries in the territory, exemplifying the key priorities listed by Halliday.
Combined with the ideal underground temperatures found in the Yukon, Eavor-Loop™ wells have the potential to be the solution both Halliday, Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, and the Yukon economy are looking for. The territorial government recently announced it will be considering drafting geothermal development policies, which would allow the region to capitalize on the sub-surface energy, while ensuring sustainable and responsible development practices.
Eavor’s commitment to green energy, seen in the low surface footprint and zero-emissions design of the Eavor-Loop™ fits hand in hand with the Yukon’s, Canada’s and the global vision for a greener, cleaner future.