Canadian governments, both provincial and federal, have intermittently supported geothermal resource development for over 100 years. The first projects supported through government initiatives date back to the late 1800s and include direct use applications development. As the railroad progressed west, several naturally occurring hot springs were discovered and subsequently developed into world-renowned tourist attractions.
As energy prices soared in the early 1980s, governments turned their attention towards finding new and renewable sources of energy. As such, the Canadian federal government, through the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Geological Survey of Canada, initiated studies to explore Canada’s geothermal energy potential for electricity production. Unfortunately, as energy prices returned to affordable levels, this early exploratory work was abandoned and no formal report was published. For the most part, Canada’s geothermal power sector lay dormant for the following two decades while interest in the industry continued to grow outside of Canada’s borders.
The Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) was founded and incorporated in 2007 and earned the right to continue its mandate in 2014 under the new Canadian Not for Profit Corporations Act. CanGEA is distinct from previous geothermal industry efforts in the 1980’s-mid 2000’s in that CanGEA’s main activity is political advocacy with a truly pan-Canada effort on the direct use of geothermal heat and geothermal power production. CanGEA complements the activities of the Canadian Geo-Exchange Coalition (CGC), which represents the ground source heat pump industry, and the Canadian Geothermal Research Council (CanGRC), which serves the academic and research community.