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 Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #866
Program Date: 05/09/2017
Program Category: Alberta, Energy, Environment

Dr Jonathan Banks: Geothermal Provides Consistent Baseload Power

Wind and solar are significant sources of renewable energy.

But without battery storage, these are still inconsistent in supply.

That's where geothermal power has an advantage.

Researcher Dr. Jonathan Banks explains what he calls "baseload power".

DR JONATHAN BANKS:  As opposed to wind or solar which have capacity factors of 15 or 25 percent, a geothermal power plant has a capacity factor of over 95 percent.  So you turn it on and it is producing close to its nameplate capacity for 95 percent of the year.  So no need for battery storage.  In fact, we do look in a sort of more innovative, more experimental manner, we look for geothermal wells as heat batteries.  So instead of using solar power electric with a photovoltaic cell, we can produce solar electricity with a concentrated solar plant, where the heat from the sun is concentrated, and then that's used to to drive a steam turbine, while in the wintertime, we can store excess heat that we collect in the summer in the geothermal well itself.

Dr. Banks says his next steps will look at new technologies, economics and policy framework required to successfully implement geothermal power.

Thanks today to ALBERTA INNOVATES

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Jonathan Banks at INNOVATION ANTHOLOGY.COM


I'M CHERYL CROUCHER

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Syncrude's Mal Carroll explains the long and careful process involved in creating a lake out of a spent oil sands mine pit. (Syncrude)

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