Geothermal energy, or earth energy, is energy extracted from the natural heat stored in the earth’s core from radioactive decay of minerals, as well as from energy absorbed from the sun at the surface. It can be harvested from either ground source or mine water sourced systems and can help meet local energy needs.
Mine Water Geothermal Energy
A total of 10 organizations in Springhill, Nova Scotia extract geothermal energy from old flooded mine workings. The Springhill mine water geothermal system is 1 of approximately 40 known systems to exist worldwide. Water is pumped to the surface, with temperatures as high as 21°C, circulated through heat pumps where most of the energy is removed, and then re-injected into the mines.
The Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre uses mine water geothermal energy to heat and cool their building as well as to create ice for the rink. They reported savings of $70,000/year in energy costs and $40,000 to $50,000 annually in maintenance costs. Ropak Packaging has reported energy savings of $45,000 annually and was recognized as a regional winner of the Canadian Electrical Association’s Energy Efficiency Industrial Award.
Further development of the mine water resource within the Springhill Geothermal Industrial Park will require a lease from the Department of Natural Resources under the Minerals Act. This will allow the Town to better manage this unique geothermal resource which will provide a clean, sustainable, renewable source of energy in Cumberland County.