RenuWell - Stand with oil sands workers calling for renewable energy


Good news for energy workers: Project to solve orphan oil well problem with solar energy gets green light.

Project represents an opportunity for training and employment in renewable energy for oil and gas workers hit hard by the downturn in the fossil fuel industry

Oil and gas workers are welcoming the announcement...

Iron & Earth, a worker-led not-for-profit empowering fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers to build and implement climate solutions, is a partner in the project developed by Keith Hirsche, a leading innovator in the oil and gas industry. Iron & Earth sees the initiative as an opportunity for its members in the region to get training in renewable energy while using skills earned in the oil and gas industry.

“Many fossil fuel workers are ready to help build a net-zero emissions economy and we have the skills to do the work,” says Lliam Hildebrand, Executive Director of Iron & Earth. “This project is a perfect example of our workforce building that new economy.”

As a part of the project, Iron & Earth is partnering with Medicine Hat College to develop a 5-day rapid upskilling program for fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers to learn the basics of solar before working on transforming the well sites themselves. 

Hildebrand notes that “as Canada stimulates its economy following the pandemic, it is critical to invest in projects that will have wide-reaching and long term economic and social benefits. RenuWell is exactly the type of shovel ready project.” Hildebrand says the hope is that the RenuWell model can soon scale up to repurpose more of the hundreds of thousands of wells across Canada.

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.