Dreaming of Abandoned Wells

Episode 1 of our Renewable Conversations podcast series. This episode features an interview with Keith Hirsche, founder of RenuWell. An idea to turn abandoned well sites into productive renewable energy sites.

Last November the infrastructure was completed on two pilot projects designed to show that abandoned well sites can be given a new purpose that provides renewable energy, opens the door to new business opportunities, and provides workforce training.

Abandoned well sites are scattered throughout oil rich Alberta -  in fact 37% of all oil and gas wells in the province are considered abandoned by the Alberta Energy Regulator.  Many of these wells cannot be reclaimed as productive agricultural land despite the best intentions of well owners or operators.

Those are the facts.

But it took a moment of inspiration for Keith Hirsche to pull together the idea and partners to make the RenuWell project a reality.

With funding through the Municipal Community Generation Challenge, and the Irrigation Canal Power Co-op,  and partners including the Municipal District of TaberRenuWell Energy Solutions Inc., and two prominent Canadian solar companies – Canadian Solar Inc. and SkyFire Energy Inc., the proof-of-concept infrastructure for the RenuWell dream was completed in November of 2022.

In our first episode of the Renewable Conversations with Iron & Earth podcast, freelance broadcaster Don Hill talks with Keith Hirsche about what led to the idea to put solar power generation on abandoned well sites and create the RenuWell project. 

If you want to talk about bringing a RenuWell to your community send a note to [email protected]  


Iron & Earth was founded and operates on Indigenous land within Treaty Six Territory and Métis Region 4 in amiskwaciy-wâskahikan (in Nehiyawewin/Cree), so-called Edmonton. The home of many Indigenous Peoples including the Nehiyawak/Cree, Tsuut’ina, Niitsitapi/Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Haudenosaunee/Iroquois, Dene Suliné, Anishinaabe/Ojibway/Saulteaux, and the Inuk/Inuit.

We pay our respects to all Indigenous Peoples of this land. Through their spiritual and practical relationships with the land, a rich heritage for our learning and our life as a community has been created and maintained. We recognize that the transition to a low-carbon future must be led by Indigenous Peoples and that there will be no justice unless we acknowledge and repair our relationship with the land.

We are committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and upholding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and acknowledge that we are always learning and unlearning practices that minimize harm and lead to the development of trust between us and Indigenous Peoples across Nations and urban centers.