Canada’s first commercial geothermal heat and power plant is one step closer with the announcement of an exploration milestone.

Borealis GeoPower, which is set to be acquired by renewable energy startup P Squared Renewables, has begun passive seismic subsurface analysis at its Canoe Reach Energy Project in British Columbia province.

According to the company, Passive Seismic Reservoir Characterization is one of the final steps in pre-drilling evaluation for the project. The process uses seismometers to detect subsurface structures including faults and fractures and avoids the use of man-made external stimuli.

Craig Dunn, chief geologist at Borealis, called the step “a first for geothermal exploration in Canada” and said it “represents a milestone in the development of Canada’s first commercial geothermal heat and power plant”.

The Canoe Reach project is planned for development in three phases. In the first phase, geothermal ‘hot pools’ are planned to increase tourism for the local community. In phase two, called ‘Sustainaville’, a ‘geo-park’ is planned to provide 100 kW of power through BC Hydro’s net metering scheme and 1 MW through the BC Hydro Community First Nations Standing Offer Programme, as well as supplying heat to local businesses.

In phase three, the geothermal plant will aim to sell 15 MW of power to BC Hydro as well as providing ancillary services for the grid.