Why geothermal technology is perfect for rural Alberta right now
A labour shortage could be a boon for the use of geothermal technology in rural Alberta.
Recent global events have increased the need for oil drilling in Canada. But at the moment, workers in the oil industry are hard to come by. This labour shortage has caused some issues in other industries that employ drillers, including the renewable energy field, and renewable technologies that might use the expertise of a driller–Geothermal, also known as geoexchange.
Geothermal can be a perfect rural renewable energy solution
Geoexchange, storing or exchanging heat from the ground provides a more sustainable solution for heating, cooling, or many business processes that require heat. A Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) utilizes buried piping in a closed loop transferring heat to or from the fluid in the piping. The piping can be buried vertically or horizontally. In a vertical installation, the pipe loop can go down 250 to 500' feet. A horizontal system puts the loop in a trench that is excavated just below the frostline (6 to 8 feet), and can stretch up to 300 feet in length.
In areas where land is at a premium, these pipes are put in holes drilled vertically. With a shortage of drillers, this type of installation may take longer to be completed and that additional time could mean additional costs. For farms and rural homes, this issue…is not an issue.
See if geothermal is the right solution. Download the infographic.
The key ingredient is available land
In areas where land is more abundant, horizontal piping makes more economical sense. Sometimes, the pipes are submerged in a pond. Regardless of which option is chosen, the horizontal pipe installation is accomplished by digging trenches, and does not require the services of a driller. The key ingredient to this solution is available land.
Businesses based in rural areas can and are benefitting from this particular situation. Agricultural businesses such as farms, ranches, greenhouses shops, and others are finding that geoexchange systems can save money over time, and reduce any dependence on fossil fuels for heating, cooling or even some business processes. The possibilities continue to expand.
For many grain farmers, one significant expense is grain drying. Traditionally, grain drying involves pushing air through grain to reduce moisture levels. The air can be at ambient temperature levels, or higher than ambient levels. When warmed air is used the drying systems typically use natural gas. A recent study of drying agricultural products suggested that the use of geothermal technology can be more environmentally friendly, as well as reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Where geothermal technology is used in rural Alberta
Across rural areas of Canada, the opportunity for geothermal installations continues to grow. Uses include:
- Industrial processes
- Any process requiring heat.
New funding opportunities for rural communities adopting geothermal technologies
For rural communities and/or businesses considering geothermal as a solution, there are new funding opportunities. The government is making as much as $300 million dollars available for sustainable projects (including geothermal) in indigenous, rural, and remote communities. This program extends to 2027.
We now live in a world where supply chain and labour issues go hand in hand to cause economic disruption. In this small sector of the economic landscape, a shortage could lead to a more significant adoption of renewable and sustainable energy technologies.
Now is the time to start a new geothermal project and “get your loops in!” We can guide your application and help you apply for incentive programs too. Envirotech Geothermal proudly serves the rural areas of Lakeland, Parkland, Strathcona, Leduc, Red Deer, Wood Buffalo, Lac La Biche, Barrhead and other Alberta Municipalities to discover the benefits and features of geothermal heating and cooling. Contact us today to learn how you can save up to 70% on your heating cooling bills by utilizing geothermal heating and cooling in your home. Call us at 780.717.3605 or request a Geothermal Consultation for more information.