Policy Asymmetries Holding Canadian Geothermal Energy Back
Currently, British Columbia is the only province that has geothermal-specific legislation. However, BC Hydro’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan and previous Government of BC documents openly acknowledge existing deficiencies with the province’s geothermal leasing process. The deficiencies have resulted in a de facto moratorium on land sales, despite tenure requests from industry.
Now exhausted, clean power incentive schemes, specifically, Alberta’s Small Research and Development Act and the Federal ecoENERGY Renewable Power Production Incentive (RPPI), included geothermal power. The problem is that a developer cannot take advantage of incentive programs if the process to obtain leases and permits are broken or absent.
At the federal level, tax incentives designed to promote resource development which are afforded to the mining and oil & gas industries, simply overlook the geothermal industry. This situation leads to the fact that natural gas fired power is significantly advantaged economically due to our tax code compared to geothermal energy, despite geothermal being a superior base-load option when CO2 and jobs/MW are considered.