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Geothermal Resource Development Rules and Directive 089: Geothermal Resource Development

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Release Date: August 15, 2022


On December 7, 2021, the Government of Alberta proclaimed the Geothermal Resource Development Act. Under the act, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has the authority to regulate the safe, efficient, and responsible development of Alberta's geothermal resources.

The Geothermal Resource Development Rules and Directive 089: Geothermal Resource Development have been issued to complete the regulatory framework for geothermal resource development. The rules and Directive 089 are effective August 15, 2022, and set out the requirements that industry must follow throughout the entire life cycle of a geothermal development (from initiation through to closure) when developing geothermal resources below the base of groundwater protection. The rules and Directive 089 introduce requirements and processes unique to geothermal energy and include reference to applicable oil and gas regulatory instruments.

A draft directive was released on August 4, 2021, for public review, and we accepted feedback until September 2, 2021 (see Bulletin-2021-31). We considered feedback from various stakeholders and rights holders, including Indigenous communities, industry, and environmental groups. A summary of the feedback, including our responses, is available on the directive's webpage.

We have also updated Manual 012: Energy Development Applications Procedures and Schedules with guidance for geothermal applications (wells, facilities, pipelines), including how liability management will be applied to geothermal resource developments.

In addition, the Oil and Gas Conservation Rules (OGCR) have been updated to align with the geothermal regulatory framework. The definition of oilfield waste in the OGCR has been updated to include waste from geothermal resource development. A new provision has been added to the OGCR that requires an application for amendment where a licensee intends to change a well licensed under the Oil and Gas Conservation Act to a geothermal well.

We will make consequential amendments throughout the year to other AER directives and manuals to address geothermal development where necessary.

Directive 089 is available on our website, > Regulating Development > Rules and Directives > Directives. For more information, contact our Customer Contact Centre by phone at 1‑855-297-8311 or by email at @email.