An example: Britain’s food supply is becoming more volatile
While Alberta is somewhat insulated from global political instability, other countries are feeling the pinch in their food supply chain. For example, Britain is having supply chain issues in their vegetable and produce markets. The conflict in Ukraine has caused an increase in energy costs, causing financial difficulties for British greenhouse operators. Unusual weather in Morocco and Spain have also created shortages in British supermarkets. To top it off, trading relationships have been interrupted by Brexit, and trade relationships that were easy to manage and working well are now being renegotiated.
This is a topic of national interest in Britain as shown by this recent news story.
Could Alberta be in a similar situation in the future?
As Canada’s biggest trading partner, the United States is dealing with climate change, wildfires, drought in California, and a diminishing water supply, the cost and availability of US grown produce is becoming more volatile. The answer to this volatility is for Alberta to become more self-sufficient in food production. Greenhouse operations are a logical place to start – why not grow our own food in greenhouses?
Greenhouse operations in Alberta are under threat
In a recent publication by the Government of Alberta, 73% of Alberta’s greenhouse operators feel that their businesses are going to be under threat in the next 3-5 years. Their biggest concern is energy costs, with 25% of greenhouse operators reporting this concern. Market prices are a close second at 22%, followed by taxes and government regulations being a concern for 21% of greenhouse operators. (Profile of the Greenhouse Industry in Alberta 2019)
A solution to high energy costs
If a greenhouse is presently located within 500 meters of an out of service oil or gas well, Algar Geothermal’s technology could lower the energy costs for a greenhouse by 50% or more, while providing a steady source of energy for decades to come. As an added bonus, the well generating the energy would cease to be an environmental hazard, and become a benign energy supply for decades to come. If energy costs rise high enough in the future, it may become economically feasible to drill a bespoke well for an existing greenhouse or to support a new facility.