Deep Earth Energy Production, or DEEP, is getting ready to build the first 100% naturally sourced geothermal power production facility in Canada.
“We’ve spent the last several years, since the end of 2018, drilling six wells,” explained Kirsten Marcia, the CEO of DEEP. “Those wells have been used to test the resource; obviously very important to find out what the resource is capable of and also, even more importantly, to know what it can’t do as well, and so we’ve used all of that information, all that modelling work, all of that test work in order to now finalize the engineering and construction plans for this first facility.”
With the work now underway to construct the facility, Marcia pointed to an agreement that is already in place with SaskPower, noting that it is the first geothermal power contract in Canada. They will be building the first demonstration facility that will be able to produce 5 megawatts. After that is done, an additional 20 megawatts will be built at the same location. The subsurface rights for the location will also be capable of building up to potentially 200 megawatts of geothermal facilities.
The rule of thumb for power generation is that one megawatt is enough to provide power for up to 1000 homes. This means when everything is done, there could be enough baseload power generated from the DEEP facility in southeast Saskatchewan for 25,000 homes.
The baseload power is key for geothermal.
“It's always on; it’s 24/7,” Marcia added. “You don’t have to back it up with something else. It has that baseload capacity like natural gas and coal has.”
“The interesting thing about this particular type of resource, and how we developed it using our world-class oil and gas technology, and using the horizontal wells, is that this type of development could be globally transformative in other sedimentary basins around the world. At these temperatures these projects are hard and they’ve been overlooked because they’re difficult to get enough fluid produced to the surface to be economic. By utilizing the horizontal drilling design, that has changed that fluid production hurdle.”
The well design used by DEEP is a ribcage layout and incorporates learnings from the five vertical and one horizontal test wells that DEEP drilled from 2018-2021. The wells are also engineered to use carbon steel tubing, incorporating a non-metallic coating, to help prevent corrosion.
The human resources from Saskatchewan have also been key to the success of the project as well, according to Marcia.
“This entire project is a wonderful example of energy diversification,” Marcia said. “Our workforce, our team – these are highly skilled individuals that primarily come from the oil and gas energy. Now to deploy those skills and that technology for the first time ever on a clean energy project is pretty exciting.”
The surface facility construction as well as the drilling are scheduled to start in the 4th quarter of this year, with the first power production anticipated for the summer of 2024.