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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


If oil sands are to be eliminated from the energy market to protect the global environment, human health and long-term economic welfare, a significant number of workers will be displaced in the transition to renewable energy technologies. This study outlines a cost-effective and convenient path for oil and gas workers in Alberta to be retrained in the burgeoning solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. Many oil and gas workers would be able to transfer fields with no additional training required. This study examines retraining options for the remainder of workers using the most closely matching skill equivalent PV job to minimize retraining time. The costs for retraining all oil sands workers are quantified and aggregated. The results show the total costs for retaining all oil sands workers in Alberta for the PV industry ranges between CAD$91.5 m and CAD$276.2 m. Thus, only 2–6% of federal, provincial, and territorial oil and gas subsidies for a single year would need to be reallocated to provide oil and gas workers with a new career of approximately equivalent pay. The results of this study clearly show that a rapid transition to sustainable energy production is feasible as costs of retraining oil and gas workers are far from prohibitive.

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Carbon Neutrality

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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