Excuse me, I'm upskilling

Excuse me, I'm upskilling r1 ... View this e-mail in your browser. When Alberta made the decision to phase out coal-fired electricity, the province put together a plan to support the workers destined to lose their jobs as a result.

Now labour advocates are wondering if it’s time a similar program was put in place to help oil and gas workers.

The Narwhal met with three former oil and gas workers who transitioned to the solar sector to learn more about their motivations for making the shift.

Our Alberta reporter Sharon J. Riley and filmmaker Jayce Hawkins spent time with these workers as support for renewable energy is slipping under Premier Jason Kenney and the new UCP government.

This week we bring you Sharon's in-depth feature on the question of Alberta’s energy transition as well as a trio of short video profiles on Dustin, Brandon and Kyle — workers determined to push forward with solar no matter the political climate.

We’ve also got a skookum investigation by Sharon into oil and gas companies skipping out on their payments to rural Alberta municipalities that are left coping with a whopping $81-million shortfall.


Carol Linnitt
Managing Editor

P.S. Say, did we ever mention Sharon's a total workhorse?

P.P.S. Sharon, this newsletter is dedicated to you.

Dustin left Alberta’s oil and gas sector to work in solar. Here’s why.

By Jayce Hawkins and Sharon J. Riley

Dustin Taylor left a lucrative job in oil and gas to work in the solar industry. Taylor told The Narwhal that after the last economic downturn he wanted to do something different with his life.

“I gained this kind of value shift and honestly I think it came with the birth of my children.” Watch the video.

From Syncrude to solar: meet Brandon, a face of Alberta’s surprising energy transition

By Jayce Hawkins and Sharon J. Riley

Brandon Sandmaier said he wasn’t what you’d call an environmentalist before he got into the solar industry. But renewable energy rebates, designed to offset Alberta’s most polluting industries, just seemed like a good idea for the province — and for his children’s future.

Yet those programs are now under threat, with the new UCP government eliminating Alberta’s carbon tax and pausing the solar rebates it supported. Watch the video.

‘I’ve moved on to renewables’: Why Kyle left oil and gas for a job in Alberta’s growing solar sector

By Jayce Hawkins and Sharon J. Riley

Although the money was (very) good, Kyle Bauer said his transition away from the oil and gas industry to solar has meant even better things for him and his family. Now that he’s no longer far from home in remote work camps, he spends his evenings at home with his three children.

Bauer is one of thousands of solar workers in Alberta and he continues to believe in the future of renewables in the province — despite government moves to withdraw support. Watch the video.

Rural Alberta coping with $81-million shortfall in oil and gas taxes. How did we get here?

By Sharon J. Riley

An analysis by The Narwhal found many rural municipalities are deeply reliant on oil and gas payments for their tax revenue — some as much as 96 per cent. A new UCP government proposal to cover for industry is controversial among some rural officials who say they’re forced to cut services while companies are ‘flouting the process’. Read more.

Microplastics may affect how Arctic sea ice forms and melts

By Nicolas-Xavier Geilfus

A recent University of Manitoba study reveals distinct changes in sea ice albedo in response to medium and high concentrations of microplastics. Read more.

The Narwhal in the world
Our Narwhal-in-Chief tied the knot this past weekend

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