Converting abandoned wells into solar power

The Municipal District of Taber is repurposing legacy oil and gas infrastructure into green solar power.

RenuWell, a $2.3-million project funded by the Government of Alberta, was one of two projects selected for investment in the 2020 Municipal Community Generation Challenge. The challenge was administered by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC), in collaboration with Alberta Innovates.

The RenuWell project is set to create new opportunities for old conventional oil and gas field operations. In Alberta, there are more than 200,000 inactive and abandoned wells, which affect more than 1,600 square kilometres of disturbed and potentially contaminated land.

Projects like RenuWell aim to showcase:

  • Economic opportunities for landowners stranded with orphaned wells on their farms
  • Opportunities to conserve farmland by using brownfield sites for solar energy projects
  • Innovative options to reduce reclamation costs for oil and gas companies by eliminating the need to remove the roads and powerlines
  • Avenues for revenue generation for partnering organizations and municipalities.

Some of the project’s many goals include:

  • Successful development of a distributed solar generation network 
  • Training for oil and gas workers via Medicine Hat College to help diversify the local economy
  • Creation of new revenue generation opportunities for the municipal district.

The effects of this project are expected to be felt across Alberta for years to come. Proponents believe RenuWell will help scale the technology across Alberta, thereby creating billions of dollars of investment opportunities and thousands of new jobs.

For more information, please contact Hylann [at] (Hylann Ma), Growth and Innovation Manager at Alberta Municipalities.