Canadian Consulting Engineer

News

Hinton, Alberta, investigating geothermal district energy system

The Hinton project stands to be the first of its kind in Canada, and to serve as a model for other communities looking at geothermal energy as a future energy source.


Calgary-based  Epoch Energy Development Inc has announced that it will be leading the Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) study to assess the feasibility of the geothermal district energy system in Hinton, Alberta.

The company notes that within a 70-km radius of Hinton, located about three hours west of Edmonton, there are more than 4,000 wells drilled below 2,500 meters, many which have bottom-hole temperatures higher than 120C.

Through research to-date and general understanding of the region, Hinton is ideally located to tap into the potential from hot production zones in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.

In October 2016, the Town of Hinton commissioned Epoch to conduct a pre-FEED study of a geothermal district energy system to produce renewable heat energy for heating municipal, commercial and other community infrastructure in Hinton.

The study identified potential wells that could be repurposed to recover 75,000 GJ of heat, sufficient for heating 12 municipal buildings. The pre-FEED also showed that the project would have a 16-year payback, an internal rate of return of 5% and a levelized cost-of-service equivalent or better than using natural gas.

“We were thrilled to embark on this journey with the Town of Hinton right out of the gate,” says T.M. Gunderson, founding partner of Epoch. “Our mission is to partner with local communities to develop energy systems that help them achieve energy and food security at a local level. The Hinton project stands to be the first of its kind in Canada, and to serve as a model for other communities looking at geothermal energy as a future energy source.”

As project leader, Epoch has put in place a team of technical, engineering and geoscience professionals to undertake the FEED study, working with local oil and gas companies, and the Alberta Energy Regulator. The upstream, midstream and downstream requirements are being evaluated as part of the study, including engineering, construction, utility and facility requirements. As well, a full financial assessment of the project will be completed.

The FEED study is expected to be completed by the end of Summer, 2018.