You won't believe who is leading the charge for renewable energy. Oil sands workers launch 'Solar Skills' campaign and say "Yes" to a renewable future.
The response to our Iron & Earth launch has been incredible. A beautiful whirlwind of support rose behind us in the hours and days after our press conference. Thousands upon thousands of you liked, tweeted and shared our messages.
We’ve had an incredible 2,800 new pledge signatories and received a flood of requests from oil and gas workers keen to participate in the retraining. Over 50 articles and blog posts helped spread the word far and wide and one CBC article has been shared over 7,000 times—it was the second most shared story of the day.
You can imagine our excitement as we watched the numbers roll in and read your messages of encouragement. Thank you to every single one of you helping to make this idea a reality. Now, it’s time to get down to the very real business of catalyzing Canada’s renewable energy economy!
Share the pledge to support Canadian workers
As a first step we want to take a moment to answer some questions that have come our way since the launch. While the majority of responses were positive, many people had thoughtful questions about our campaign. We feel that with the right information, renewable energy is an idea everyone should be able to get behind. In that spirit, let us try to clear a few things up:
“Wind and Solar don’t work.”
They really do work and they are getting better every day! We’re not saying renewables are perfect but the technology has been improving steadily and becoming cost competitive in many markets. The main challenge has been storage in off-peak times but that is also being addressed. The evidence of all this is prolific (see below).
“Renewable Energy is an economy killer.”
Not so. The International Energy Association (IEA) is forecasting $7.4 trillion in renewables investment by 2040 and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) predicts 24 million new jobs in renewables by 2030. The old arguments of economy vs the environment just don’t play out anymore.
“What about displaced coal plant workers?”
Our programs will be open to the coal plant workers and any trades person who is interested in renewables and retraining.
“You shouldn’t get a dime of government money!”
While we’re hoping to partner with government on these initiatives, we’re also in talks with numerous oil and gas companies regarding sponsorship and investment through innovative finance models. Our members will be expected to help cover the cost of their retraining.
“You’re an NDP front.”
We have no affiliation with the NDP or any other political party. Our members are diverse in their political views and we have Conservatives, NDP, Liberal and Green supporters in our ranks. That’s the point! Renewable energy isn’t a partisan issue.
“Electricians don’t need solar retraining.”
Solar is very different from many traditional electrical installs. The panels are live as soon as they are exposed to light and things like the angle of the sun have to be factored in. While it doesn’t take too much to retrain an electrician in solar, the payoff in terms of safety, quality, and skillset is definitely there.
“You aren’t from Alberta.”
The bulk of our membership and directorship are from Alberta. Like countless oil sands workers, some of us travel to work from out of province. We don’t think this makes our voice any less valid. Alberta is a logical place for our first campaign with recent policy announcements in support of energy diversification.
“There are no solar jobs.”
Alberta has decided to phase out coal power by 2030 and the federal government has pledged to meet a range of climate change commitments. The jobs are coming and we need to have a trained workforce ready for when they arrive. Provinces and municipalities that embrace these opportunities are looking at an economic boost and thousands of new jobs.
“You’re a secret eco conspiracy!”
Really not sure what to say to that. We are all current or former oil sands workers. This is the truth! There are pictures.
“You work for Saudi Arabia and want to destroy Canada”
Nope. All the nopes. Come on.
There you go! We hope that helps clarify some things. If you are one of our many supporters, welcome to a community of like minded individuals.
But right now we need to quickly grow in numbers, and for this we need your help!
Share our pledge
We need to increase our pledge support to show industry, government and the public at large that the matters we advocate and the opportunities we’re trying to provide are needed and wanted at a grass roots level. The bigger our voice the louder it will be heard.
We want you to share the pledge with your friends, family, and anyone you know!
Become a member
We need to increase our membership. Our membership offers extractive trades workers the opportunity to move into a renewable energy future. Through our retraining programs and links to industry, we will help give workers the tools needed to find careers in the renewable energy sector based on the skills they already have. But first they need to know about us!
By recommending fellow colleagues to join Iron & Earth, you help spread the word of what we’re doing and allow all oil sands workers the opportunity to shape the future Canada so desperately needs.
To begin, why not ask three fellow workers to join by sharing this link with them:
Together we can catalyze Canada’s renewable energy sector. We’ll be in contact every couple weeks with ways you can help make this happen. We look forward to working with you to make Canada a greener, more economically stable place!
In hope and action,
Iron and Earth
Wind and Solar on par in India:
Solar is cost competitive:
Emissions decoupled from economic growth: