Geothermal well

The City of Moose Jaw is seeking to drill a test geothermal well. Seen here is a geothermal wellsite drilled near Torquay this past August for Deep Earth Energy Production. One of the original co-founders of DEEP is acting as a consultant for Moose Jaw. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

MOOSE JAW – The City of Moose Jaw will apply for grant funding to drill a geothermal test well.

At the Oct. 12 regular meeting of Moose Jaw city council, council approved a recommendation that the city’s administration apply to the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways (SREPs) Program Capacity Building Stream of the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Infrastructure Program. The goal is to secure funding to continue exploration into the geothermal energy potential for use in heating and industrial processing at Moose Jaw’s Agri-Food Industrial Park.

“The City of Moose Jaw has an opportunity to further harness our geothermal resources to create economic development opportunities,” explained city manager Jim Puffalt in a release on Oct. 14. “The SREPs Program Capacity Building Stream of the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Infrastructure Program would provide 100 per cent of the funds required up to $5 million to move the geothermal project to the next level, including the digging of a test well and feasibility studies into full-scale industrial use. This is a tremendous green initiative that fits seamlessly within our Strategic Plan.”

Earlier this year Moose Jaw City Council approved $54,186 to fund a preliminary economic assessment of the geothermal potential of land southeast of the City, and the report will be presented to Council at a later date. That assessment saw geologists Steve Halabura and Shayne Neigum, financial consultant Randle Green as well as Saskatoon engineering firm Engcomp, headed by professional engineer Jason Mewis, working on it.

Halabura was a co-founder of Deep Earth Energy Production Corp., with Kirsten Marcia. Under Marcia’s leadership, DEEP has drilled several geothermal test wells in the Torquay area and is moving towards development of their first 32 megawatt geothermal power generation plant in a few years time.

Moose Jaw’s released noted the city has a long history of utilizing geothermal-heated water, with the Temple Gardens Mineral spa pool drawing from existing wells in the city. The former Natatorium indoor pool also used geothermal-heated water from Moose Jaw wells.

Jim Dixon, the city’s economic development officer, said by phone on Oct. 15, “We’re basically exploring the opportunity around geothermal, more in line with process, space heat, some energy heat.”

He added, “We have this asset. We want to really take advantage of it. It’s sitting there, and we think we’ve got great uses for it, particularly around our focus of value-added agriculture. We’ve rebranded our agrifood industrial park. So, we really think there’s some opportunities around geothermal, and what we’re trying to do there.”

Dixon wouldn’t release specifics about the planned well, other than to say it would be deeper and hotter than the one used for the mineral spa, drilled in the 1980s. That well is 1,400 metres deep and around 42 C.

The well would be drilled in the city’s southeast quadrant.

 

Editor’s note: Updated at 17:00 Oct. 15 with comments from Jim Dixon

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