Richard Riegert Memorial Lecture: Ownership Issues in the Production of Geothermal Energy
Alberta passed the Geothermal Resources Development Act (GRDA) to encourage the growth of a nascent geothermal industry. However, the GRDA fails to determine the respective rights of mineral owners and surface owners to exploit geothermal resources. It adds significant transaction costs to projects, as it forces proponents to obtain the consent of surface owners and potentially multiple owners of minerals on each affected parcel of land. The author concludes that the GRDA stands on an unreliable foundation and discourages the development of geothermal resources. A declaration of Crown ownership of the geothermal resources or retroactive legislation that precisely defined the parties who own the rights to geothermal resources would be more conducive to developing an industry that can produce energy without significant greenhouse gas emissions.
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