Canada - Direct Uses




Installed capacity in Alberta and British Columbia



Installed capacity in Ontario and Quebec





Total thermal installed capacity in MWt


Direct use in TJ/year


Direct use in GWh/year


Capacity factor



Country Update: More than 140 thermal springs of temperature higher than 10oC have been identified in the Western Canadian Cordillera. Commercial exploitation of these natural hot springs in the provinces of Albert, British Columbia and Yukon as well as thermal water pumped from deep aquifers in Saskatchewan is taking place at fourteen locations to heat pools for bathing purposes. The hot springs have played an important role for the early development of tourism in the Canadian Rockies. The creation of Banff National Park in 1885, the first national park in Canada, is the result of a dispute about the right to develop hot springs. Commercial exploitation of the hot springs began in the 1880s, although First Nations people had used them for generations prior. Europeans initially visited Banff Hot Springs in 1882 and the first recorded visit at Radium Hot Springs was in 1841. Construction of bathhouses and hotels at Banff, Miette and Radium Hot Springs respectively began in 1886, 1913 and 1914. Original bathhouses have been modified, restored or reconstructioned and the hot springs pools are still operated today. Of the 13 commercial hot springs, two in Alberta, nine in British Columbia, one in Yukon Territory, and one is Saskatchewan, they have a total installed capacity of 8.780 MWt and annual energy use of 277 TJ/yr. The exploitation of shallow geothermal resources for geothermal heat pumps (GHP) is concentrated in southern Ontario and Quebec, but installations are present throughout the country. The average unit is estimated at 14 kW, the coefficient of performance of 3.5 and the full load operating hours annually as 3,000. From 1990 to date an estimated 120,000 units have been installed in the country with an installed capacity of 1,458 MWt and annual energy use of 11,338 TJ/yr (by the end of 2014). The residential section accounts for about 60% of the installed capacity with approximately 56% of the units are horizontal closed-loop and 24% are vertical closed-loop. A high growth rate of installations was experienced during 2006 to 2008, but severely decreased in 2010. The total for the country is then 1,466.78 MWt and 11,615 TJ/yr (Raymond, et al., 2015; and Thompson, et al., 2015).

Taken from: John W. Lund and Tonya L. Boyd
Published in Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2015 Worldwide Review

Total thermal installed capacity in MWt:1,126
Direct use in TJ/year8,873
Direct use in GWh/year2,464.9
Capacity factor0.25

In recent years Canada has steadily embraced heat pump technology. It is estimated that up to 50,000 residential and 5,000 commercial systems are currently installed (Thompson, 2010). The cost of installing these units, especially in building retrofits, is often prohibited for the average consumer; however, federal and local subsidies have lightened the financial burden. The growth rate is estimated at 13% per year, with recent rates being as high as 50%.

Heat pump technology has also been used in abandon mines, starting as early as 1989 in the Springhill Mine of Nova Scotia where the heating and cooling provides savings estimated C$45,000/yr in energy costs. The City of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories commissioned a study in 2007 to use water from an abandoned gold mine with a heat pump to provide district heating to the community, saving an estimated C$13 million/yr.

There are also 12 western hot springs used to heat swimming pools with individual flow rate of 6-32 l/s and total installed capacity of 10-15 MWt (Lund et al., 2005). Since, no specific data were available on the various Canadian geothermal uses, we estimate the following for heat pumps using a COP in the heating mode of 3.5, 3,000 full load heating hours per year, an average residential size of 12 kW, and commercial size of 100 kW,

resulting in a total of 1,100 MWt and 8,487 TJ/yr.
For the mine water the estimate is 11 MWt and 26 TJ/yr (Jessop, 1995),
and for the 12 western swimming pool, 15 MWt and 360 TJ/yr.

This gives a total of 1,126 MWt and 8,873 TJ/yr. 

Taken from the paper by John W. Lund, Derek H. Freeston, and Tonya L. Boyd: "Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2010 Worldwide Review"; published in Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 25-29 April 2010