July 24th, 2024

Oil-to-solar reclamation project wins environmental award for all involved, including MHC

By Collin Gallant on June 14, 2024.


A partnership that converted two reclaimed abandoned oil and gas sites in southern Alberta to host small-scale solar arrays has won an “Emerald Award” for environmental ingenuity in the field of energy production.

The award, given to “RenuWell,” is shared by Medicine Hat College, a power entity owned by two southern Alberta irrigation districts and the Municipal District of Taber, among others.

Keith Hirsche, of RenuWell Energy Systems, received the award on June 6 at the 33rd annual Emerald Awards in Calgary, and was set to present the project at the Global Energy Show in Calgary in a technical audience.

The company commissioned arrays on two well sites in the custody of the Orhan Well Association near Barnwell, Alta. They have a cumulative capacity of about 1.4 megawatts and are expected to produce enough power to supply the equivalent of 90 quarter-section irrigation pivots.

Medicine Hat College hosted job training related to renewable project construction in conjunction with workforce advocate Iron and Earth.

The production is marketed by IRRICAN Power (jointly owned by the St. Mary and Raymond irrigation districts). The project contractor, SkyFire Energy, and supplier, Canada Solar, were also cited in the award.

The Emerald Awards have existed since the early 1990s as a way to recognize ingenuity in addressing environmental issues.

Also nominated in the “Energy” category this year were geo-thermal power company Eavor Technologies and the Métis Nation of Alberta, developer of the 4.9-megawatt “Salay Prayzaan” solar array near Smoky Lake.

Other winners were Kathairos Solutions (Air), the Sustainable Projects Group (Business), the Friends of Fish Creek Provincial Park Society (Non-profit), Alberta Envirothon (Education), Smart Sustainable Resilient Infrastructure Assoc. (Infrastructure), the Alberta Conservation Assoc. (Land), and Alberta Wildlife official Bill Wishart (Lifetime Achievement).

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