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Project addresses orphan oil well problem

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

Iin 2022, Iron & Earth partnered with a broad network of stakeholders to help develop a replicable solution to Alberta’s inactive well problem. The infrastructure was completed in November of 2023 and despite a nasty snow storm, we went ahead with the ribbon cutting featured in the above video. Power is now flowing into the grid. 

With funding through the Municipal Community Generation Challenge, and partners including the Municipal District of Taber, RenuWell Energy Solutions Inc. , IRRICAN Power, and two prominent Canadian solar companies – Canadian Solar Inc. and SkyFire Energy Inc., the RenuWell Project has given two orphaned well sites a new and greener life.

The RenuWell Project has demonstrated how re-purposing legacy oil and gas infrastructure to community solar development can provide significant benefits to energy industries, the environment, and the economy.

Iron & Earth collaborated with Medicine Hat College, along with solar energy and wellsite closure experts, to develop a rapid upskilling program. The RenuWell Workforce Training Program is designed for fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers to learn the basics of solar before working on transforming the well sites.

The RenuWell Project concept offers significant economic benefits including:

  • New economic opportunities for landowners stranded with orphaned wells on their farms.
  • Energy cost savings for farmers who can purchase solar electricity to power their irrigation systems.
  • The conservation of farmland and undisturbed ecosystems by utilizing brownfield sites for solar energy projects.
  • Cost savings for consumers by repurposing existing infrastructure such as roads and powerlines that were put in place for the original oil well production.
  • Reduced reclamation costs for oil and gas companies who don’t have to remove the roads and powerlines to the sites.
  • Revenue generation for Irrigation Districts to continue irrigation system maintenance and upgrades.
  • Property tax revenue for the Municipal District of Taber.
  • Training and employment opportunities for workers in reclamation and solar industries

To dig deeper into the project details and to access resources about what we have learned while working on RenuWell, visit the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre

The RenuWell Guidebook: Turning Liabilities into Assets is of special interest to communities or municipalities interested in their own RenuWell type projects. 

Listen to our podcast with Keith Hirsche to find out where the idea came from and watch a great timelapse video of how the project unfolded.

Or you can contact us at [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.