The potential for geothermal energy near Watson Lake was highlighted by Liard First Nation and the Kaska Nation during a systematic and intensive inventory of clean energy opportunities within the Kaska Nation traditional territory undertaken by BPG in 2010. In the assessment, the potential for geothermal energy in association with the Tintina Fault was ranked as one of the top options for further study. The Tintina Fault is a continental-scale tectonic structure running north-south, 2 – 7 km west of the Town of Watson Lake. It is an active slip-joint fault expected to provide pathways for water to descend deep into the earth’s crust in conjunction with a convection pathway for heat to ascent closer to the surface. Exploration activities are designed to identify sites where fault geometry may create enhanced permeability and reservoir volumes of hot fluids closer to surface.
In January 2021, Liard First Nation (LFN) and Yukon Geological Survey (YGS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and collaboration agreement to co-manage and co-fund early geoscience research supporting the exploration of geothermal energy in the Watson Lake area. BPG is currently supporting LFN’s involvement in the project as co-manager.
The project phase currently underway includes five activity types: project co-management, desktop studies, field sampling, community engagement, and permitting.
Chief Stephen Charlie from Liard First Nation states that this project and the implementation of geothermal power could significantly reduce diesel use in the Watson Lake area, and potentially have agricultural applications, such as heating greenhouses. “We’re really looking forward to the different opportunities this project could result in,” he said.
This project has received support from Government of Yukon and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.