Monthly Archives: January 2017

Home/2017/January

Iron and Earth: oilsands workers call for training in renewable energy

By | 2017-06-01T21:21:26+00:00 January 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Published: May 15, 2016 – Green Energy Futures

The call to action on the Iron and Earth website says it all:

 “As oil sands workers, or friends and family of somebody in the energy industry, we acknowledge the contribution of fossil fuel extraction projects to our lives and livelihoods. As global citizens, we also acknowledge the need to reach climate change targets. Let’s seize this opportunity and create jobs in the renewable energy sector.”

Lliam Hildebrand is an boilermaker and oilsands worker that helped found Iron and Earth to call on training in renewable energy for out of work oil workers.

Lliam Hildebrand is a boilermaker and oilsands worker that helped found Iron and Earth to call on training in renewable energy for out of work oil workers.

Lliam Hildebrand is first and foremost a boilermaker. On his last oilsands project in northern Alberta, a colleague said to him over lunch, “Man, oil prices are still dropping. They’re going to go below $30 soon, and if we don’t start diversifying our jobs into renewables, our union is screwed.”

It was many conversations like this that inspired Hildebrand to join forces with other like-minded oilsands workers to start Iron and Earth, a campaign calling for training and retraining in renewable energy.

New energy jobs for energy workers

“Our primary goals are number one, to build up the workforce capacity to build renewable energy projects in Canada and in Alberta,” says Hildebrand, now the executive director of Iron and Earth. “Secondly, we want to help build up the manufacturing sector required to build renewable energy. And third, we want to ensure that our contractors and unions can position themselves within this emerging sector.”

Iron and Earth has attracted 4,000 supporters and 450 workers interested in renewable energy training since launching.

Iron and Earth has attracted 4,000 supporters and 450 workers interested in renewable energy training since launching.

The campaign has really taken off. “It’s been absolutely incredible, the amount of attention and support we’ve received so far,” says Hildebrand. “We only launched a month and a half ago, and we already have 4,000 people who have signed our pledge and over 450 of those are actually workers interested in the program and excited about our initiative.”

Hildebrand says that diversification is already built into how various trades operate.

“These tradespeople actually work in all of these industries, whether it’d be coal or natural gas or the oilsands,” says Hildebrand. “So the work force is capable of diversifying, just as we’re capable of diversifying our energy grid.”

(more…)

Workers want a just energy transition

By | 2017-06-01T21:21:26+00:00 January 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|

As Coal-fired electricity is phased out workers want a say in what their future looks like

Category: Renewable Energy

Published: November 16, 2016 – Green Energy Futures

By David Dodge & Dylan Thompson GreenEnergyFutures.ca

Blue Green Canada is an unlikely alliance of labour unions and environmental groups who learned that there was much to be gained by working together rather than at odds.

Dan Woynillowicz, Clean Energy Canada

Speaking at the BlueGreen Just Transition conference Dan Woynillowicz told the audience there was a staggering $325 billion in clean energy investment in the world in 2015 and that job growth was following suit. Photo David Dodge, GreenEnergyFutures.ca

Take the situation in Alberta right now. Alberta’s Climate Leadership plan aims to accelerate the shutting down of the province’s remaining coal plants. Instead, 30 per cent of Alberta’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2030. This is not shocking news. It’s already happened in Ontario and continues to happen around the world as nations face the increasingly serious implications of carbon emissions on the planet.
Even China, long considered a carbon-producing goliath, is leading the way globally in terms of building clean energy and now turning away from coal-fired generation.

“Last year, $110 billion of investment in China, was 10 times more renewable power capacity than natural gas-fired power, and three times more than coal-fired power,” says Dan Woynillowicz, policy director with Clean Energy Canada and one of the speakers at Blue Green Canada’s Just Transition event in Edmonton in October.

(more…)