In September 2021, Globe and Mail reporter Emma Graney shared an insight from University of Calgary professor Sara Hastings-Simon: “there’s a bit of a geothermal renaissance” underway. On the prairies, this fresh focus on geothermal energy is turning toward a specific company: Saskatoon-based DEEP, Deep Earth Energy Production Corporation, and its president, Kirsten Marcia, P. Geo.
A 2022 Clean50 honouree for promoting green energy, DEEP’s founder, director, as well as president and CEO, Kirsten grew up in Estevan, graduated from the University of Saskatchewan, and is a professional geoscientist and an experienced resource entrepreneur. For over two decades, Kirsten has been in exploration, including diamonds, gold and base metals, coal, uranium, as well as oil and gas.
She’s also a practical promoter of sustainable development, social mobility, and good governance. Featured in another Globe and Mail piece, about how “a new energy economy offers a chance to bridge gender gaps,” Kirsten explains “it’s such a refreshing tailwind, compared to the headwind that I had early on in my career.”
Another aspect of the president’s commitment to ESG principles is DEEP’s partnership with the Saskatchewan First Nations Natural Resource Centre
of Excellence. Discussions are also underway with the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan. Simply, DEEP seeks to work strategically with Saskatchewanbased Indigenous partners.
And as a green energy leader, Kirsten is shaping this new energy sector by diversifying Canada’s energy portfolio and creating private sector energy jobs, all while encouraging durable regional economic development in southern Saskatchewan, estimated to be worth $1 billion.
Highlighting DEEP, a 2020 federal document, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, explains “geothermal energy harnesses heat from the earth’s crust and transforms it into electricity to power homes and businesses year-round.”
Reflecting Canada’s commitments on climate and carbon, in 2019 Prime Minister Trudeau announced more than $25 million to bolster DEEP’s work. The investment aimed to support about half of a $50-million, five-megawatt power facility. DEEP has now optimized the design and is preparing for a 20-to-32-megawatt facility, supplying sufficientpower for about 32,000 households.
While negotiating a scaled-up contract, DEEP holds a power-purchase agreement with SaskPower. Aligned with Saskatchewan’s environmental plan, SaskPower is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
After more than a decade of tireless work, Kirsten’s visionary efforts are paying off. Construction of DEEP’s power project is scheduled to start in 2022.
Drawing on Saskatchewan-based, world-class oilfield expertise, DEEP recently drilled the six deepest wells – about 3,500 metres – into the Canadian side of the Williston Sedimentary Basin, accessing hot geothermal brine for power generation and direct heating options. DEEP also drilled a horizontal well in October 2020. Globally, this is the first horizontal well to be drilled for the purpose of geothermal power generation.
Unlike other sources of renewable power, once this geothermal power plant is operational, its energy is “always on,” providing safe, reliable, sustainable baseload power. Because of Kirsten’s experience, another opportunity was spotted: waste flare gas. Capturingit. Converting it to power. Using it to mitigate DEEP’s parasitic loads. Further reducing emissions by 60,000 mtCO2.
And Kirsten’s commitment to inclusive innovation attracts private capital. Building on the $25 million in Canadian private equity already raised, in February 2021, with the close of an oversubscribed private placement offering, the president highlights that “this is a clear demonstration of support for our geothermal power facility.”
Drawing on the vision, values and experience of Kirsten Marcia, DEEP is positioned to be a new energy leader in Western Canada.