Posted on Nov 6, 2020


CALGARY - Alberta’s NDP is proposing a suite of options to grow Alberta’s geothermal energy sector, create jobs, and export technology to meet global demand for expertise in the growing industry. The proposals, featured in a report called “Picking up Steam: Geothermal and Alberta’s Energy Future” are part of the NDP’s Alberta’s Future project and could put 10,000 oil and gas workers back on the job. 


“Growing our geothermal energy sector is a no-brainer,” said Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “We have the skills, we have the talent, and we have the workforce. We have a reputation as energy leaders, and we can capitalize on that to lead in all forms of energy, including renewables like geothermal.” 


The NDP’s proposal includes a number of concrete steps to use skills and equipment in the oil and gas industry to put Albertans back to work and replace most of the drilling days lost due to COVID-19. The proposal also estimates that 450-950 inactive oil and gas wells could be converted to geothermal producing wells to produce clean energy, converting the province’s oil and gas liabilities into new assets.


“Renewable energy holds massive potential for good jobs and economic recovery in Alberta,” said Kathleen Ganley, NDP Energy Critic. “Geothermal is a win-win for our province. It has the potential to get our energy sector workers back to work while reducing emissions and giving inactive wells a new lease on life.”


The NDP was joined by Alison Thompson, chair of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, to unveil the proposals during a news conference Friday. Thompson said the proposals could help to bolster Bill 36, which is currently before the Alberta Legislature and seeks to establish a geothermal framework for the province.


“In particular, CanGEA’s concern about the transfer of liability from an oil and gas company to a geothermal developer who could otherwise re-purpose a well or wellsite for the betterment of Alberta and Albertans is addressed under the NDP’s proposal to convert oil and gas liabilities into new assets,” Thompson said, adding federal funds for orphan well-site rehabilitation could be used to fund repurposing efforts.


Proposals to develop Alberta’s geothermal include: 

  • Developing a geothermal energy royalty regime;
  • Building and promoting local private markets for Geothermal in Alberta; 
  • Supporting Municipalities and Community Generation;
  • Incentivizing Geothermal Innovation in Alberta;
  • Creating Synergies with Oil and Gas;
  • Converting Oil and Gas Liabilities into Renewable Assets;
  • Working with the Federal Government on Advancing Geothermal Opportunities; and
  • Promoting the Export of Alberta Geothermal services and technology 


Friday’s announcement is the second instalment in an overall renewables strategy that will serve as a cornerstone of the Alberta’s Future project. Proposals for hydrogen have already been released and others involving solar and wind energy are still to come. More information about the entire project can be found at