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June 11-13, 2024
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Alberta Solar Projects | Repurposing Inactive Wells | Global Energy Show

How an Alberta Solar Project is Repurposing Inactive Wells Into Solar Energy Solutions

Alberta Oil Well

The creation of innovative technologies and systems to better the environment has become increasingly important within Canada and North America. That's why Keith Hirsche, founder of The Renewal Project, is breaking records with his unique construction-less renewable energy projects in Western Canada. His investment in creating a sustainable future for Canada is shown through his devotion to solar energy, green energy and finding alternative ways to repurpose inactive oil wells.

These oil and gas renewable energy projects will help our younger generations create energy from the most trusted energy source: the sun. With no harm to the environment, solar farms or solar panels will ensure we take advantage of environmentally friendly solutions for the years to come.

Keith sat down with Rachel Gregory, Digital Host at The Global Energy Show, to discuss how his company is making a difference in Alberta solar by reclaiming orphan wells.

Interview with Keith Hirsche, Founder & President of RenuWell Energy Solutions

Developing Renewable Energy Projects When Alberta Needs it The Most

Rachel: Alberta has over 3,400 orphan wells and the founder of The Renewal Project, Keith Hershey, is here to give us some insight on how he plans to tackle this problem. In January, there was a headline coining Alberta's orphan wells as a looming multi-billion dollar problem. However, your project renewal has a solution. So what is the big idea behind the renewal operation?

Keith: Alberta has a lot of opportunities to move into things like solar energy and wind energy. And as we're doing that, we're typically taking big land allocations to site the projects. What we started working on about five years ago, now is to take some of the lands under these inactive oil and gas sites and in suitable areas and utilize those same land locations for siting small, renewable energy solar projects.

Renewable Resources Will Provide Canadians With More Jobs

Rachel: Can you tell us more about how this opportunity provides skilled individuals within the oil and gas industry the opportunity to learn more about renewable energy projects?

Keith: You know, my hope is that we can break down some of these barriers, which are artificially present in Alberta and utilize the skills that we have in the oil and gas sector. We partnered with Iron and Earth, which does workforce training for people from the oil and gas industry and indigenous workers to work in the renewable energy field.

Rachel: Petroleum Services Association of Canada estimates that to close a well requires between 35 to 50 different services and between 40 and 60 different workers. So how does this compare to the renewal concept of turning inactive walls into a solar energy project?

Keith: We have these leases that need to be cleaned up. So all of those same jobs that are required that you mentioned are still being completed. But what we can offer is rather than taking the roads and power lines out that are already servicing the site location, by reusing those roads and power lines, we actually improve the economics of the solar installations without disrupting any landowners. Also, we save money for the oil and gas site closure because typically, there's a four-year period after the site closure is done to wait for the vegetation to reestablish. And so, during that vegetation reestablishment phase, we can be using the site for generating renewable electricity.

Repurposing Oil and Gas Sites for a Better Future

Rachel: What makes The Renewal Project so unique?

Keith: Basically, we are able to put the renewable energy projects out at a comparable cost to utility-scale projects without taking more land from agriculture. If we reuse just 10% of the inactive or abandoned oil and gas infrastructure in that province for solar, we could achieve six to a hundred megawatts of solar generation by just reusing 10% of these leases. And, we wouldn't require any additional land for agriculture. Our hope is that by saving some of the reclamation costs for the surface reclamation, we can accelerate some of the well closure. 

Meeting The Canadian Governments Sustainability Goals

Rachel: What impact does this have on achieving Alberta's renewable energy goals?

Keith: This gives us a good fit for the government's goal of 30% renewable energy by 2030, which would require more than 35,000 acres of land. If we can use 10% of the abandoned or inactive sites, then we can meet that renewable energy goal.

Learn More About the Future of Alberta’s Solar Projects

Solar panel farm

With a constant increase in climate change concerns, the economy and world need to make an investment in clean energy and solar energy projects. Keith's Alberta solar project is an excellent example of how our industry leaders are adapting and growing from the challenges directly affecting our environment.

If you're interested in learning more about how North American companies are innovating sustainable energy for a progressive future, register for the next Global Energy Show today.

Alberta Solar Projects | Repurposing Inactive Wells | Global Energy Show

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