Oil and gas workers go solar with Louis Bull Tribe

Louis Bull Tribe in Maskwacis, Alberta, installed solar panels on their daycare as part of a longer-term vision to move from dependency on coal-fired electricity to producing their own renewable power.

Louis Bull partnered with a group called Iron & Earth on this particular project to provide hands-on solar installation training to some of their members. They also extended an invitation to fellow oilsands workers from neighbouring communities who wanted to expand their skill sets to broaden their job prospects.

The community is taking charge of its energy system by bringing on renewables and by moving forward on energy efficiency and conservation measures.

Band councillor Desmond Bull says, “It’s important to me that this is clean energy. It shows our responsibility in creating sustainability for the next seven generations — our grandkids, their grandkids.”

If we can prove this can be done here in a First Nation community, I believe every country or every city has the opportunity to move in this direction so they can become more self-sufficient, but also create capacity development and have people trained in their local community.

Desmond Bull, councillor, Louis Bull Tribe

For Louis Bull, this project is about economic diversification, new job prospects, saving money on energy bills and environmental stewardship.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous trainees discovered that working together provided an unanticipated opportunity for rich cultural exchange.

Former rigger Jen Turner says, “We participated in really special cultural activities and then worked on this installation shoulder to shoulder.”

Renewable energy is empowering communities across the country. Charged Up is the story of you — of all of us — on a mission for a cleaner, healthier, charged-up Canada.

David Dodge

David Dodge

David Dodge is an environmental journalist and photojournalist. He is the producer and host of GreenEnergyFutures.ca, a series of documentaries on the green energy revolution in Canada, and has worked for non-profit organizations such as the Pembina Institute, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and Greenlearning.ca.