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Iron & Earth asks the Government of Alberta to engage with the renewable energy sector

Iron and Earth IconMedia release, August 9, 2023

Last August the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law in the US. Among its many provisions were extensive investment in clean energy and environmental justice.

Last week, the Government of Alberta announced it was pausing approvals of large renewable energy projects in response to what it says are rural and environmental concerns. This puts 91 projects in the province on hold.

Iron & Earth is perplexed by the decision given that Alberta has been attracting more renewable energy investment than any other province. According to the Business Renewables Centre, $4.7 billion has been invested in renewable energy projects in the province since 2019 and provided 5,300 jobs. This investment has resulted in millions per year in municipal property tax payments and lease payments to rural landowners.

Iron & Earth is concerned that the moratorium will harm renewable energy activity and could drive investment elsewhere such as to the US or other jurisdictions. This will in turn affect renewable energy workers and their communities.

The Executive Director of Iron & Earth Luisa Da Silva said,

"Alberta’s moratorium on clean energy puts its energy future on shaky ground. This moratorium asks everyone who is working in the clean energy sector to put their life and bills and family on pause while the government decides what to do about a booming industry that is providing underemployed, unemployed, and skilled workers with jobs. Will workers pause their life?  No. They will go where the jobs are.  We are operating in a highly competitive space.  Since the United States invested $141 billion into clean energy in 2022, nearly 200 new clean energy projects have been announced in the US. How long must Alberta workers and their families wait for good, sustainable jobs?"

Iron & Earth is a not-for-profit organization with roots in the fossil fuel industry and has been empowering fossil fuel workers, Indigenous Peoples, and their communities to find opportunities in the net-zero economy since 2016.

Our Climate Career Portal currently provides information on clean tech jobs in Canada and our Net-Zero Pathways program connects renewable energy workers and employers to create paid on-the-job training opportunities. Our collaboration with Indigenous communities in Alberta, Newfoundland & Labrador, and the Northwest Territories has resulted in small scale power generation systems built by the community and for the community.

We find the renewable energy project moratorium by the Government of Alberta to be a short sighted and unnecessary decision that hurts workers and renewable energy companies and sets back net-zero planning. The decision has the potential to increase electricity rates, cost jobs, create doubts for investors, and reduce revenue for municipalities and landowners.

Iron & Earth asks the Alberta Government to re-consider its decision and engage organizations such as Iron & Earth and renewable energy companies so that together we can keep renewable energy flowing in a manner that benefits the whole province.

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Media Contact:

Mike Spear, Director of External Relations
C: 403-813-5843
E: [email protected] 

Iron & Earth is committed to partnering with Indigenous workers to empower their communities to become self-sufficient in training programs, clean energy transition projects, and employment opportunities to combat environmental racism. It falls to all of us to continue the work of healing and reconciliation in our communities and our organizations. Our relationship with the land and the people who live here shapes who we are. It is in the spirit of reconciliation and honouring the past that we recognize treaties and agreements wherever they are and wherever we work.

We also acknowledge all peoples who live, work, and play on this land, and who honour and celebrate this territory.
As individuals and teams we may make mistakes along the way, but we are dedicated to growth, openness, compassion, and forgiveness. These principles in our work are essential to building successful and healthy relationships with individuals, communities, organizations, and governments.

We look forward to building a path to lead us to a better relationship with Indigenous nations and the environment around us based on peace, friendship, and respect.