Thank you for inviting the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association. We call ourselves CanGEA.
I'll be presenting on behalf of CanGEA. I'm with my colleague Alex Kent, who is the policy manager. I'm the chair of the association.
Bonjour from our membership. I'm excited to see here so many of the MPs from our constituents' project bases. Right now, we have projects in Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alberta, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia, so we truly are a pan-Canadian resource.
We also represent the whole supply chain. When you look at our membership, as shown on our slide, you'll see that we have everybody from the explorationists' side and the engineering to the people who drill the wells, as well as the accountants, financiers, and lawyers, and also the people who build turbines, equipment, and piping. If you didn't know that I was talking about geothermal, you might think that I was talking about oil and gas. That's one of our main comments today. Through the energy transition, it's about looking at what geothermal can do not just for the renewable economy, but also in terms of a job transition economy for out-of-work oil and gas workers across the country.
One of the things we find, though, is that most people just don't understand what geothermal is. It's hard to understand the promise of geothermal if we don't yet know how it can be used. The slide in front of you now is a really quick snapshot of the different types of geothermal.
One of the first things we say is that geothermal itself has a really bad name. As an industry for oil and gas, we have become more sophisticated, and now people don't really call it “oil and gas”. We'll maybe call it “tight oil”, “oil shale”, “oil sands”, “sour gas”, or even “peat moss” or “coal”. Think about all the different types of hydrocarbons. They all exist in different types of rock. All the different hydrocarbons are also harnessed by different technologies and at different costs.
For geothermal itself, we're disfavouring ourselves, really, by using just that one word “geothermal”, because what we really mean to say is that geothermal can be many things. Later, I'll have a slide showing where it exists across Canada.
Like the oil and gas industry or the coal industry, we do need a bit of a specialized policy because, again, we need different technologies, and there are different costs to harness them. The best thing to know about geothermal is that we're not just about electricity. Canada is actually doing a wonderful job with renewable energy. Usually when people are talking about renewable energy, they mean renewable electricity, but we also offer renewable heat. I'll go into what renewable heat is.
We have three advantages. The first one would be heat. Heat itself is a larger market in Canada than electricity is. I've mentioned that we are doing I think quite a good job with renewable electricity programs, but we've barely scratched the surface for renewable heat, if at all.
We can look at the statistics. About a quarter of all energy used in Canada is non-fossil-fuel based, so that's a renewable base. Our market share would be about 75% more to support more renewable electricity and heat. We can look at an average household. They spend more money on heat than they do on electricity.
In the north, almost all of their heat comes from oil or diesel. You hear about ice roads or people flying in diesel. It's quite polluting to have a diesel generator, and it's noisy. Also, of course, it's just giving us that one product: it's either electricity or heat.
With geothermal, though, we can have micro power plants that are the right size for communities and for small communities in the north. We can provide all the power they need, as well as all the heat they need. We can right-size these projects across Canada as well.
I don't think that geothermal will be a large electricity-based utility, but in places that are looking for both electricity and heat, our “co-gen” makes us very affordable and also gives two products.
If you're thinking about why we haven't heard about this in Canada, just this morning, Paris, France, announced another 200,000 homes right in the city of Paris that will be converting to renewable geothermal heat from natural gas. Right now, in terms of geothermal heat progressing in their city, they're about 30 years in. France itself has very supportive policies, which we'll talk about later in the presentation. Poland also announced just this morning that 30% of their country can be heated by geothermal heat.
While we don't know very much about it in Canada, the industry itself is over 100 years old. There are 80 countries around the world, many of them in Europe, that are using renewable heat from geothermal. Around the world, about 25 of them use it for electricity.
Of course it's wonderful to have climate change mitigation methods and get off fossil fuels. The natural gas industry might say it can take care of that and burn natural gas and it's clean burning. However, we can do all the things that natural gas does at a similar price; do it at a renewable, sustainable level with no emissions; and give jobs as well. Canada itself has grown up as an oil and gas country over the past almost 100 years, and we have a lot of stock built up in human capital. People have gone to university; they've had jobs; they've trained maybe as a geophysicist or a geologist or a pipeliner, and it's hard to ask them to retrain to be a dentist. These people are the best at what they do and better than in most other countries in the oil and gas industry, and that technology and expertise exists in Canada.
Our energy forum maps 100% on oil and gas so you will find all those professions in oil and gas can also be deployed in geothermal. The best part is shown on this graph, and these graphs are not CanGEA statistics. With the industry being so emergent in Canada, we have to rely upon other countries; we're speaking about France, Germany, and the U.S.A. You can see in the slide about jobs that for the same amount of heat or electricity output several times more jobs are created, and again, the right type of jobs in the professions: geologists, geophysicists, geoscientists, drillers, pipeliners, tradespeople, field staff. You can have your cake and eat it too, which is what the other countries are finding. We're thrilled to have a very close partnership with the oil and gas industry. They don't see us a threat; workers themselves see us as the next step in their career. Certainly our industry couldn't even exist at the technological level that we have had the oil and gas industry not come first. We're not here to shame the oil and gas industry; we're here to stand on their shoulders and take Canada in the same direction using the skilled workers toward a more renewable and sustainable, and we believe lower-cost, future.
Another advantage, of course, is what do you do with all this heat? You may hear in the wind industry or the solar industry that sometimes there's too much of it and at other times there's not enough of it on the grid. It's the same thing with geothermal; there's so much of it that when you drill a well, you often have to find things to do with the heat. That's why you don't just need the engineers; you need the entrepreneurs. We need the people who are the imagineers to figure out what they might do commercially with heat. We think one of the most poignant things that Canadians can think about with this excess amount of heat from these drilled wells would be to use it for food; especially in the north where there are issues of food affordability, food diversity, and food security. Imagine having a well, and it just takes one well, in every northern community—and there are over 200—that are now able to provide heat economically to a greenhouse or a fish farm or any other imaginable thing they would like to do commercially in their village. We know how to drill wells; we have all the infrastructure and all the drilling rigs and all the personnel. The technology is not the barrier. At times, cost could be a barrier but with the carbon tax in Canada, as well as people just simply saying no to fossil fuels, this comes into play. Again, even before the Paris agreement, these other countries around the world had been aggressively building their geothermal for things like food security, jobs, and food diversity for over 100 years.
We believe this is not just a Natural Resources Canada issue. This could be an agriculture issue as well; something we could all agree on. Here you have an energy form that is liked by the oil and gas industry, the workers, NRCan and Environment Canada, agriculture, and of course, the ministry of northern affairs as well.
Why are we not doing this more in Canada? Simply, like many things, as our colleague Steven just said, sometimes policies stand in the way. We have an associate here in the room today who wrote one of these reports and this is the “International Geothermal Policy Mechanisms Best Practices”. Again, we can stand on the shoulders of other countries that have already gone further. We have excellent resources in Canada; that's not the issue. We have excellent technology in Canada, and we have the people to do it. We're coming up against the policy disparity. We don't quite have the things in place to help either bring people awareness about what geothermal can do or how we can help foster it. Looking at international policy, we have CanGEA reports and we also have European Union reports. They're all pointing to how to support geothermal energy to get going.
We went through the benefits, that geothermal gives not just electricity but heat. We talked about the jobs, we talked about food. I now have three areas of policy I'd like to go through.
Supportive technologies would be having things like the geological survey of Canada and CanMET Energy support more demonstration and de-risking for the industry in the same fashion they have for oil and gas in the past.
We also have the financing tools. Two weeks ago in the budget we saw that geothermal heat is now considered a renewable resource. However, there are at least four or five other things we do not have parity with. They're pretty basic things—things that oil and gas, or wind and solar, already have. These are things like the Canadian resource property, the ability to claim test equipment, the ability to use transmission expenses as eligible expenses, and having supportive incentives such as the wind power production incentive program, which later became the renewable power production incentive and then became the ecoENERGY innovation initiative program. These are things that our industry, geothermal, missed out on. We call that the activation energy that's missing.
For financing tools, we're also looking for low-interest loans or grants that convert into low-interest loans if we're successful. A large one the federal government and the provincial and territorial governments could do right now would be to buy renewable heat. Most of the bills for energy are not actually electricity, they're for heat. One way the government can step in right now is to create a market for our members that have several projects in the pipeline, to get them off the ground.
In North America, America is a number one producer, Mexico is now the number five producer, and Canada still stands pretty much at zero on the world scene. We do have lots of heat available. We just need to go after it with our skilled workforce and take advantage of that resource.