Former oil sands workers eye renewables market

A Canadian non-profit organization led by former oil sands workers is hoping to get laid off colleagues back on the market by retraining them in alternate energy sources.

The Edmonton-based group, known as “Iron and Earth,” hopes the province and corporate sponsors would support the initiative, whose first goal is to convert 1,000 out of work electricians into solar panel installers by 2018.

More than 100,000 people have lost their jobs in the Canadian oil patch over the course of the downturn.

More than 100,000 people have lost their jobs in the Canadian oil patch over the course of the downturn, which has pushed the province of Alberta into a deep recession.

Only last week, Suncor Energy (TSX, NYSE:SU) — which is Canada’s largest oil company — announced more job cuts even as crude prices have climbed above US$40 a barrel for the first time in 3 and a half months, The Globe and Mail reported.

The company’s previous layoffs contributed to more than 41,000 direct job losses in the oil industry as crude prices dropped from over $100 a barrel in mid-2014 to just above $26 in February.

On Monday, U.S. benchmark crude was up 0.8% at $41.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while the global Brent contract was last up 0.8% at $41.52 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.

“Iron and Earth” will reveal more details of its plan at a news conference in Edmonton later Monday.