Like many towns across Alberta, the landscape around Hinton is a pincushion of oil wells. At the bottom of some of the deeper wells, temperatures can reach upwards of 120 degrees Celsius, and that geothermal heat could be about to spur the town on to its next energy windfall.
A plan is underway to pump water up from deep underground, capture the heat it brings to the surface, then re-inject that water into the ground. The captured heat could warm a dozen municipal buildings or even eventually provide electricity.
“That’s attainable, that’s not a huge technical challenge. The question is at what cost,” Jonathan Banks, a research associate in geoscience at the University of Alberta, told DeSmog Canada.