Geoscience: Energy resources
The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) has geoscientific information and knowledge about Canada’s energy resources that can help your company, government or community answer questions about energy-related resource development and how it might affect the surrounding environment. Use our data to make evidence-based decisions about land use. You’ll improve your chances of success in creating environmentally sound resource developments and in improving the environmental performance and efficiency of your operation.
Why it matters
There is a growing demand in Canada for clean energy sources and environmentally sustainable energy resource development so we can reach the Government of Canada’s target of net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. We’re working to support this critical shift, and to improve the chances that industry will succeed in energy resource extraction (helium, natural gas and the earth’s geothermal heat) and injections (sinks such as carbon capture, utilization and storage).
We’re redirecting our research efforts from frontier petroleum basins toward less conventional energy-related research and development, including geothermal and offshore renewable energy solutions. The resulting information should allow Canada to meet its energy needs while reaching environmental targets and providing the science to help us better protect our coastal and marine areas. Canada has been, and must continue to be a global leader in these efforts.
What we’re doing
Our research explores new energy sources, such as geothermal and offshore renewables, and helps ensure that tight oil and unconventional gas can be safely extracted with minimal environmental impact. Several GSC programs support this work and advance the body of knowledge and tools that industry and governments at all levels can draw upon. The GSC’s contributing programs and their work are outlined below:
- Geoscience for New Energy Supply (GNES)
- Marine Conservation Targets (MCT)
- Environmental Geoscience Program (EGP)
- GEM-GeoNorth (GEM)
Protecting Canada’s landmass and marine spaces
- Improving mapping methods and geoscience knowledge to better detect, understand and model the impact of resource development
- Providing estimates of geothermal energy potential
- Helping to keep Canada on track to hit its targets for protecting coastal and marine areas, such as protecting 30% of its offshore lands by 2030
- Working to identify the best localities and seabed geology for offshore renewable energy development
- Informing policies that protect Canada’s landmass and its coastal areas
- Providing geoscientific advice and expertise on major resource development projects and their potential environmental effects, as required for federally mandated environmental impact assessments
Supporting the shift to clean energy
- Boosting the fledgling geothermal industry and other renewable energy industries by assessing low-emission, clean-energy sources and geothermal potential
- Helping companies and governments distinguish the environmental effects of energy resource development from those produced by natural processes
- Developing new approaches that support the sustainable use and development of all Canada’s geological energy resources through informed decision-making
- Expanding the knowledge available for geothermal energy using innovative geoscience energy mapping techniques
Investing in training
- Investing in the training and development of the next generation of Canadian geoscientists in responsible natural resource research and development
- Improving access by Northerners to training, jobs and economic opportunities
- Generating public science training documents in collaboration with Indigenous communities
- Offering Indigenous communities access to geoscience knowledge about Canada’s onshore and offshore lands
At the GSC, we believe deeply in establishing working relationships with Indigenous communities. We’re working to co-develop more geoscience activities that support informed land management and decisions in Indigenous communities, based on their needs. It’s important that we help build geoscience capacity within Indigenous communities so they can incorporate geoscience knowledge into their land-management decision-making processes. We will continue to deepen our relationships with Indigenous communities, with respect and cooperation, while recognizing their traditional knowledge.
Examples of our work together:
- Our Geoscience for New Energy Supply program, in collaboration with Parks Canada, incorporated traditional knowledge of the Haida people into a research study. That helped create the conceptual model of the thermal system at Hotspring Island in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia.
- Our Environmental Geoscience Program worked with Indigenous groups to include traditional knowledge in their collaborative work. This resulted in publications being co-authored with Indigenous communities and the development of guidance documents and publications for working with traditional knowledge, particularly in support of geoscience around metal mining in Northern Canada.
Featured tools and data
Browse these pre-filtered topic results on Canada’s open data portal or search the entire collection:
- Carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS)
- Geothermal energy and heat
- Offshore renewables
- Renewable energy
- Tight gas
You can conduct your own GEOSCAN search, or browse pre-filtered results by topic:
- Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS)
- Geothermal energy and heat
- Nuclear energy
- Oil sands
- Offshore renewables
- Tight oil and unconventional gas
Marine and coastal
Canada has the world’s longest coastline. We research its offshore landmass, evaluate natural resource potential and assess natural hazards. Access data about the geological composition, environmental sensitivity and seismic activity in these areas.
Geoscientific research: GEM-GeoNorth program
Explore the research we’re doing above the 55th parallel, and browse our available grants. Our research can help you assess the potential of geological and mineral resources, conduct environmental assessments and make land-use decisions.
Improving mineral exploration: Targeted Geoscience Initiative
Do you need to identify areas for mineral exploration and improve the exploration process, or need a grant to support your research in this area? Learn about our geological models and knowledge, as well as leading-edge tools and methods.
Edward (Ted) Little
Head, Energy Geoscience Subdivision
Program Manager, Geoscience for New Energy Supply
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