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Alberta

Response: This Is Why Geothermal Should Be Our First Choice When It Comes To An Energy Transition

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I write in response to “CBC News Poll: Why the economic crisis could speed up transition to renewable energy” published recently:

(see: CBC News poll: Why the economic crisis could speed up transition to renewable energy)

Geothermal is the missing link in Earth’s energy mix. It’s the only scalable solution that is both clean and baseload. Without a clean baseload power source, the grid will struggle to replace all the legacy coal, gas and nuclear power, with just intermittent sources like wind and solar (even with better batteries than exist today).

Geothermal, however, can fill this gap. More importantly, we can do this not by importing windmills, solar panels and batteries from China, but by building on the same world-leading assets and expertise that sit idle in the oil service industry today. We can lead the world simply by using this expertise to convert our old abandoned well sites to geothermal use.

Even better, Eavor’s “made in Canada” solution (which is available to any Canadian developer), facilitates rapid scaling. In particular, Eavor’s technology eliminates or vastly reduces the need for exploration uncertainties, delays and costs. It also transforms geothermal from baseload to dispatchable. This allows Eavor to work much more synergistically with wind and solar where needed. Eavor’s technology, known as “Eavor-Loop™”, works by drilling a sealed well-bore loop which gently harvests geothermal heat over a large surface area simply through conduction. Without the need for a geothermal aquifer, this enables implementation almost anywhere in the world. In line with this, Eavor has assembled a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar prospect pipeline. These prospects are, however, all outside of Western Canada.

What will it take to enable Eavor, and other Canadian geothermal developers like Terrapin and DEEP, to bring this geothermal revolution home? The same thing that has nurtured successful and growing geothermal industries elsewhere – a combination of early grants and energy pricing that recognizes the advantages of green baseload power. Ideally these incentives would be modeled after the SDE+ system in the Netherlands, which is more efficient, but has the same net effect as a Feed-in-Tariff.

Our calculations are that, a geothermal “Moon Shot” for Western Canada with the above incentives, could easily attract $4 billion in foreign investment capital, to create 400 MW of clean, dispatchable power, all the while employing 5,500 oil service workers for 4 years. Larger plans could employ 25,000 for a decade or more. Such a plan would create a geothermal ecosystem in Canada that could lead the world and represent an entire new clean export industry. At Eavor, we believe that is a vision worth getting excited about. In short, the current situation doesn’t have to devolve into a fight between oil industry jobs or renewables. It doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. With geothermal solutions like Eavor the same investment dollar can protect oil service jobs and improve the environment all at the same time.

To learn more about Eavor visit Eavor

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary

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Alberta

Alberta inquiry finds no wrongdoing in anti-oilsands campaign despite foreign funds

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EDMONTON — Canadian environmental groups did nothing wrong when they accepted foreign funding for campaigns opposing oilsands development, a public inquiry has reported.

In his much-delayed report released Thursday, Steve Allan, commissioner of the Inquiry into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns, says the groups were exercising their rights to free speech.

“I have not found any suggestions of wrongdoing on the part of any individual or organization,” Allan writes. 

“No individual or organization, in my view, has done anything illegal. Indeed, they have exercised their rights of free speech.”

Allan also says the campaigns have not spread misinformation.

While he finds that at least $1.28 billion has flowed into Canadian environmental charities from the U.S. between 2003 and 2019, only a small portion of that has been directed against the oilsands. Auditors Deloitte Forensic Inc. estimate that money at between $37.5 million and $58.9 million over that period. That averages to $3.5 million a year at most.

Alberta’s United Conservative government funds its so-called “war room,” an arm’s-length agency instituted to counter environmental groups, at up to $30 million a year.

The report also finds that what it calls conservative/market-oriented charities that worked in support of the oilsands received at least $26.7 million from foreign sources. 

Allan recommends a series of reforms to improve transparency in the charitable sector. He says charities should be subject to the same standards of disclosure as private corporations. 

He also calls for an industry-led campaign to rebrand Canadian energy.

“Industry associations, governments, and the industry itself have failed to counter (environmental groups’) efforts, such that the public has not had ready access to complete, reliable and balanced information,” Allan writes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

PropTech is making it easier to buy or sell a house online

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CALGARY — Kim and Dave Bailey knew they wanted to build their new home on a lot that would accommodate a three-car garage.

But finding the right location meant repeatedly taking time out of their day to visit sales offices, only to find out what they wanted wasn’t even a possibility.

“We must have visited seven or eight homebuilders in the community,” said Dave. “We’d have a conversation and then ask, ‘can you accommodate a three-car garage?’ They’d say ‘nope,” and so it was like, ‘OK, I guess we wasted our time.’ “

After one too many unsatisfying experiences, the Baileys stumbled upon Ownly, an online shopping tool for the new home market launched last year by a pair of Calgary entrepreneurs and now available on several Calgary homebuilder websites. Using Ownly, the couple were able to browse prospective communities and floor plans and figure out which home designs fit on which lots.

While the advent of e-commerce and mobile technology long ago changed the way Canadians shop for everything from clothing to vacations to food, the real estate industry has been slower to embrace digital innovation. For most people, buying a house remains a cumbersome, time-consuming process that involves multiple in-person visits with agents, lawyers and bankers.

But that’s beginning to change, with a growing number of homebuilders, real estate brokerages and financial institutions offering digital solutions aimed at modernizing the buying and selling process.

The Baileys also used Ownly to play around with different upgrade packages and get a ballpark price quote. By the time they actually set foot in the sales office of the builder from whom they ultimately bought their Calgary dream home, they knew exactly what they wanted and had a good sense of what it was going to cost.

“Building a new home is a huge financial decision,” said Kim. “So being able to look at everything before you go out, and being able to tell if this is even feasible for you, it reduces some of that disappointment.”

Abdullah Snobar, executive director of The DMZ business incubator at Ryerson University, says the economy is undergoing a major transformation as people become increasingly digitally savvy.

“Startups are definitely thriving in this space and we’re beginning to see the industry really find its footing around it,” he said.

Most homebuyers are familiar with commonplace digital real estate tools like web-based listings, virtual tours and online mortgage calculators. But tech innovators are now partnering with real estate companies to offer everything from digital sales offices to artificial-intelligence enabled search tools to virtual-reality-led property tours.

Advocates say taking advantage of PropTech — a term that refers to the use of technology in the real estate space — can offer a host of benefits to buyers and sellers. Whether it’s the minimizing of face-to-face contact during the COVID-19 pandemic, or the convenience of being able to shop on your own schedule, the use of digital solutions can remove some of the headaches from a real estate search.

The use of PropTech can also be a money-saver. Because the Baileys weren’t walking blindly into the sales office, they felt more confident about their ability to choose the model and upgrades that worked within their budget.

“Our salesperson didn’t have to upsell us at all. Anything that we upgraded came directly from us, not from them,” Kim said.

While PropTech has made some significant strides when it comes to disrupting the traditional real estate market, experts say it’s not yet possible in Canada to complete all the steps in the home-buying process — from offer to financing to closure of the deal — online.

But Fred Cassano, partner and national real estate tax leader with PwC Canada, said a number of PropTech companies will likely offer such tools in the near future.

“I think we’re much closer than people realize to being able to complete the entire process online,” Cassano said. “I don’t think we’re too far away from seeing that, which is transacting digitally from start to finish.”

In fact, Ownly says that within the next year, it hopes to expand its own platform to provide a complete end-to-end new home-buying service online.

Melanie Gowans, general manager of sales and marketing at Calgary’s Shane Homes — one of the builders that has been using the Ownly tool — said her company is ready for it.

“We would never replace the service we’re offering now. There are going to people who aren’t comfortable doing the whole sale online. But I want to make it available to those who are comfortable,” Gowans said.

“We (the home building industry) are one of the last industries to have everything online,” she added. “But if you think about back when you first started being able to buy clothes online, that seemed really weird too . . . So I think we are getting there, and we’re only going to get better at it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021.

Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press

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