Coordinators: Keith Hirsche and Joan Embleton
Technical Editors: Brian Schulte, Draga Talinga, Steve Jensen, Jubram Akram
Format Editor: Elizabeth Atkinson


There are many who do not believe renewables will provide solutions to our energy needs. Some feel that the Paris Accord is based upon a fundamental misconception of climate history and science and the push to meet its requirements are mistaken. They feel strongly by moving towards renewables, electrification (electric cars), and the use of cleaner fuels like hydrogen that it will cause more problems than it will solve.

This edition will not address any of these opinions, and it is not our intent to debate these topics here.

Our goal of doing this focus edition is to give individuals who have been let go from oil and gas an opportunity to understand opportunities in sustainability, renewable energy, and alternative fuels. The data provided gives individuals the information they may need to make informed decisions on their careers. We also feel it is important to recognize that many major traditional energy companies, including Shell, bp, Equinor (Statoil) and Total are making significant investments in renewable energy and they are rapidly becoming leaders in the transition to a lower carbon energy economy. While this transition is happening more rapidly in the European market, we feel it is important to understand some of the technical advances that are underlying these investments.

Some of the information has been garnished from the media and you may or may not agree with that information, but we please ask you to have an open mind and that you view this edition in that light and understand the goal of this edition before you criticize or discard this edition.

We are trying to support a balanced and scientifically sound perspective around sustainability and renewables realizing some of the shortcomings, but by doing so we hope to show some of the potential growth in these markets.

It features both technical papers on renewable resources and testimonials from individuals that have made the switch.

Our goal is to inspire those that are unemployed, or under-employed or thinking of changing roles. As a professional organization we need to be concerned about our members.

This edition does not represent or reflect the opinion of the CSEG or the CSEG Board or its members.

Green Energy / Renewables

These days we talk about green energy and renewables where green energy emits lesser amounts of pollution in the form of greenhouse gases, radiation, or chemical contaminants and renewable energy is naturally replenished with time, like the growth of new organisms or natural recycling of materials. Wind, solar and geothermal fall under renewable energy. Renewable energy is a subset of green energy.

As nations are looking at ways to restart their economies using stimulus packages, they are also looking at including into these stimulus packages incentives for green energy technologies such as renewables, and low-carbon vehicles. We see in Europe that many are looking towards creating a hydrogen economy as a growth engine to help overcome some of the damage done by COVID-19 (Szoke, 2020).

We see this also reflected in the decisions by some governments and automakers to switch to 100% electric-vehicle sales or hydrogen soon.

We envision a spectrum of diverse sources of power including but not limited to wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectricity, biomass, natural gas, hydrogen, and nuclear. This does not mean that oil or coal (fossil fuels) will be phased out or discontinued any time soon, they are still needed because a lot of the technologies we require are not quite there yet and are still being developed.

It may be that some of us find ourselves in new careers as we face the challenges of this massive energy transition.

Alberta Government policy and statistics

Here in Alberta, we see the provincial government is moving towards having 30% of its electricity generated by renewable energy by 2030. With this transition more natural gas generation will also be added to the grid. Currently Alberta ranks third in Canada for installed wind energy capacity and represents 9% of our power generation. We also have 6066 PV Solar systems installed with 77% residential, 11% commercial, 11% farm and 1% other (Green Alberta Energy, 2020).

Alberta has taken a leadership role in the North American electricity industry in integrating wind into electricity supplies and leads in new coal technologies, including carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) including a CO2 pipeline which is referred to as the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) (Carr, 2010; Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, 2020).

CCUS Alberta

The ACTL system captures industrial emissions and delivers the CO₂ to mature oil and gas reservoirs for use in enhanced oil recovery and permanent storage (Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, 2020).

With Alberta being a world leader in CCUS technology, it will help as we move towards the development of blue hydrogen and the exportation of it to Asia and Europe. The world will be looking at Alberta’s ability to capture carbon during this process.

Alberta is also looking into how to utilize the carbon that is captured, and many see an opportunity to build an entirely new carbon fibre industry in Canada. Carbon fibre has half the weight and twice the strength of steel, so it can dramatically increase the efficiency of automobiles and electric cars (EnergyNow Media, 2020).

Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, has shown carbon fibres can work as battery electrodes, storing energy directly allowing the vehicle’s body to function as a structural battery (materials that can function as a battery while having mechanical integrity (Wikipedia, 2020a)).

This could revolutionize the electric car industry reducing the weight of the vehicle and allowing the body of the car to function as a battery.

Future renewables Alberta

Rystad Energy predicts that 83% of the combined utility-scale wind and solar capacity built in Canada over the next five years will be in Alberta. Many are forecasting a surge of projects that could have the province poised to be the Canadian leader in utility-scale wind and solar capacity as early as 2025 (Seskus, 2020).

Alberta's current renewable capacity includes 0.1 gigawatt (GW) of solar and 1.8 GW of wind and it is expected by 2025 to grow to 1.8 GW of solar and 6.5 GW of wind (Seskus, 2020).

Challenges in renewables

There are many arguments against renewables which we hear all the time especially in Alberta where we are in the high latitudes such as:

  1. Inconsistent power to the grid by wind and solar especially
  2. Concerns about the electrification and how it will be managed during peak usage especially in places like California where during the summer air conditioning can draw a lot of power from the grid

All of these are valid concerns but as we move towards trying to meet the requirements of the Paris Accord there has been this push towards reducing emissions from vehicles and towards renewables for power generation to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

How we solve these problems is still being researched and developed in academia, oil and gas companies, car manufacturers, entrepreneurs, etc..

We need to acknowledge that it would be hard for businesses and individual users to cut back on power use during peak hours so whatever plan that is put in place needs to reflect that renewables will not consistently supply power to the grid 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Some of the ideas put forward to try to minimize the inconsistent power supply to the grid are (Gent, 2019):

  1. Expand the transmission infrastructure to shuttle power from areas where the wind is blowing to areas where it is not
  2. Pairing renewable energy with energy storage (batteries) to build up reserves for when the sun stops shining
  3. Microgrids which are smaller self-contained grids from the larger main grid
  4. Supplement solar and wind with another source of renewable energy such as geothermal energy and hydro electricity from neighboring provinces

Pairing of renewable energy with energy storage

In Alberta, TransAlta built a 10 MW WindCharger battery storage project which uses Tesla Megapack technology (lithium-ion batteries). The power for the batteries is supplied by the Summerview wind farm and it can sustain power to the grid for a couple of hours if the wind turbines stopped working (TransAlta, 2020).

Those that are looking to build battery siloes for renewables are looking at using the used batteries from electric cars in these planned battery siloes as a means to “recycle” the used batteries instead of discarding them.

Currently we can recycle batteries from electric cars to recover the lithium, cobalt, and nickel but we find that it is 3x more expensive than the value of the minerals recovered, and it is 5x more expensive than mining the lithium. There is a possible market if someone found an inexpensive way to do this (IER, 2019).


Some solar and wind installations are being put onto a smaller grid and the power is stored at battery siloes. If there is excess electricity generated by the solar and wind installations, it is sold to the main grid. If during a storm or for whatever reason the power on the main grid is shutdown then the microgrid can continue to provide power.

This moves towards being able to buy and sell power from one microgrid to another so if we had an overseeing artificial intelligence (AI) this could be done on the fly and it could use blockchain to enable these energy exchanges between customers. The blockchain acts as electronic ledger keeping track of the buying and selling of power.

Use of AI and flow from other microgrids

Incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) to help manage the smaller microgrids may help but we will also have to design the grid so the direction of the flow of the power can be changed. This would allow us to buy and sell power locally as a commodity.

Use of alternative sources power

We still need to acknowledge that at times we will have to resort to secondary and tertiary methodologies to support the microgrid / grid such as hydroelectricity, geothermal, biomass and natural gas during periods when renewable energy can not be produced.


In Canada we are fortunate to have the abundance of fresh water and the open land to build dams and create reservoirs for hydroelectricity which some countries do not have. Out of the 10 provinces and 3 territories we have 4 provinces and 1 territory (Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, and British Columbia) that rely upon hydroelectricity for most of their power. Even in Alberta, we use dams mostly to control water flow during the spring run-off, 2.8% of our power generation is hydroelectric (, 2020).

Canada’s importation and exportation electricity

Canada exports 8% of the electricity it generates to the U.S., to the west coast and the northeastern States. In 2019 we exported 60.4 TWh to the U.S. and we imported 13.4 TWh (Government of Canada, 2020a). This allowed Canada to make $1.9 billion from the exportation of electricity (Canada Energy Regulator, 2019).

We are third in countries that export electricity and 6th in the world for the generation of electricity generating roughly 534 TWh in 2018. If we look at sources of electricity across Canada, we have 60% hydroelectricity, 15% nuclear, 11% fossil fuels, 7% non-hydro renewables (Government of Canada, 2020a).

B.C.’s electricity policy (business of electricity)

One of the things B.C. is doing is adopting a policy of buying electricity when it is low during the night or during spring and selling it when the price is high. Due to the sizeable amounts of wind the prices in the U.S. Pacific Northwest (PNW) are often low and can even be negative, especially during spring and early summer due to the abundant hydro generation from rain and melting snow. This is when B.C. may choose to import electricity from the PNW to keep the water stored behind dams then releasing it later to generate and sell hydro power during higher priced periods (Canada Energy Regulator, 2015).

Denmark electricity strategy

We see a similar strategy being applied in Denmark where they can operate their grid using more than 80% renewable energy through agreements with Norway and Sweden. During times when surplus wind energy is generated in Denmark, power is exported to Norway and Sweden which allows them to close the hydro dams. When the wind stops and Denmark requires additional power, the dams are opened, and power is imported (Wikipedia, 2020b).

Obtaining net zero emissions

We need to recognize that our goal is to minimize emissions and recognize there will be emissions from the creation of power for the grid especially during peak times or when renewable energy such as solar or wind is not available (i.e. January and February in Alberta).

To offset these emissions from alternative sources of energy, power companies can buy carbon offset credits from companies or individuals that are engaged in best practises to create carbon sinks such as improved farming techniques, planting trees, CCUS, etc. Carbon offset credits encourage the development of carbon sinks (better farming practises to keep carbon in the soil, tree planting, reforestation, etc.) that offset the production of carbon or GHGs emissions.

This way we try to minimize our emissions yet invest into carbon sinks, so the result is net 0 emissions and we see the majority of the companies have already stated by 2050 they will be net 0 in GHGs emissions.

Growth in renewables

What we have been seeing, despite these challenges over 2020 is a 43% surge in solar installations, with more than 19 GW of installations expected by the end of 2020. It is also the second year in a row in which solar power has beaten natural gas for new U.S. electricity-generating installations (Paraskova, 2020). It is expected in 2021 that the electricity output from renewables will continue to set records (IEA, 2020).

Investment into renewables/sustainable energy

We are seeing $17.1 Trillion of investment into sustainability companies (Danes, 2020). This investment is due to renewable energy stocks are increasing in value (Dillalo, 2020) because of:

  1. Cost of renewable energy developments has declined to the point where they are becoming competitive with fossil fuels
  2. With the costs coming down so dramatically, renewables can generate attractive returns on investment

Why renewables, specifically solar, are becoming so cheap is if we look at a graph of the cumulative installed capacity of the technology and the price of that technology (learning curve) we see that for each doubling of the cumulative installed capacity the price declines by the same fraction. This reflects economies of scale similar to it being much cheaper to make 1000 pizzas than just one (Roser, 2020).

It is not just the selling of the solar panels or the wind turbines, but the changes that span the entire production process of the solar modules from the mining of raw materials to the efficiency of the panels/turbines or what some would call the life cycle (Roser, 2020).

Many may argue that it is not the equipment we should be looking but the electricity it produces. If we look at the electricity generated from solar and onshore wind, we see it follows a similar learning curve as the equipment but if we look at offshore wind, it is more expensive and does not follow that learning curve (Roser, 2020).

Alternative fuels or means to power vehicles

Many are looking at electric cars (EVs) as the next wave of transportation, but we need to recognize some of the challenges this presents:

  1. Demand for lithium for car batteries
  2. Drain of power from the grid to “re-fuel” vehicles
  3. Larger vehicles such as diesel trucks, construction vehicles, boats, and planes may have difficulties with the number of batteries to power these means of transportation and the distance these vehicles can travel on a full charged battery pack

There has been suggestion of different fuels to be used that would reduce GHGs emissions. One of the simplest conversions to alternative fuels currently would be switching to natural gas (CNG or LNG) for larger vehicles.

Some vessels have switched their bunker fuel, which tended to be made from high sulfur heavy oil, to LNG to meet existing and upcoming requirements for emissions. LNG vessels have used LNG as a fuel for decades, it is a proven technology, and the price is competitive to bunker fuel.

Fugitive gas and emissions

Many investors, regulators, and customers are asking natural gas producers to do more to meet climate change goals through capturing of leakage of fugitive gas, and to incorporate CCUS to reduce GHGs emissions around wells, pipelines, and facilities.

To capture investment capital oil and gas companies may have to do this and utilize ESG metrics to show the results, especially in the quarterly reporting.

This will involve monitoring of fugitive gases using GIS, drones and physical measurements then incorporating this data into a model to determine how best to capture the fugitive gases so they can be reused. The model is important because we can determine ESG metrics to present to the government and other groups.


Many are looking at hydrogen to help fuel the vehicles for tomorrow and to replace fossil fuels. To help with the research and development of hydrogen the Canadian government has created a CAD1.5 billion (USD1.2 billion) Low-carbon and Zero-emissions Fuels Fund to increase the production and use of low-carbon fuels, including hydrogen (World Nuclear News, 2020).

As we are all learning there is a colour spectrum to hydrogen dependent upon what is used as a source for the hydrogen and the energy that is used to create the hydrogen.

Brown hydrogen utilizes brown coal as its preferred source because of the amount of the high oxygen content makes it less chemically stable and easier to break apart during gasification. Countries with a large abundance of coal are considering brown hydrogen (Allen, 2018).

Natural gas is used to make most of the hydrogen that is available today. The significant difference between whether it is blue hydrogen or grey (both use steam reforming) depends upon the use of carbon capture utilization storage (CCUS). If CCUS is used then it is blue hydrogen, and if it is not used then it is grey hydrogen.

There is also yellow and green hydrogen, which is made with purified water and electrolysis. If the source of the energy for the electrolysis comes from nuclear energy it is yellow, and if it comes from renewable sources it is green. Both yellow and green hydrogen are clean hydrogen since no carbon is released during the process.

Green hydrogen is 3x more expensive than blue hydrogen. Most who want to use hydrogen would prefer the much cleaner green hydrogen, but green hydrogen uses a lot of energy for electrolysis and requires purified water. There is research and development being done in working on using sea water without desalinating the sea water since sea water is more abundant than the fresh water that is used to make the purified water.

Hydrogen does have 3x more energy than natural gas, but it is not a fuel, but a means to store or transport energy. This is because hydrogen requires energy to make it (Wise, 2006). The climate impact of hydrogen is dependent upon the carbon footprint of the energy that is used to produce it (Kimani, 2020).

When hydrogen is used as a fuel for a vehicle it needs to be compressed under 700 bar or 5000 PSI.

Hydrogen can be used in an internal combustion engine (ICE) or in a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) where it generates electricity by using oxygen from the air and compressed hydrogen.

Presently there are only 3 car manufacturers (Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda) that are selling FCEVs, Nikola is planning to release a battery electric (BEV) version and a FCEV version of their Badger pick-up truck in a couple years.

The hydrogen infrastructure to refuel is limited both in Canada and in the U.S., which has limited the growth of FCEVs. There are currently 33 FCEVs in B.C. and 3 fuelling stations in the Vancouver area. The only other hydrogen fueling station in Canada is in Quebec (Government of Canada, 2020b). The B.C. government is planning to build 10 more hydrogen fuelling stations around the province to encourage people to buy FCEVs (Duffy, 2020).

In the U.S. there are 45 publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations with 43 found in California, 1 in Connecticut and 1 in Hawaii (Government of Canada, 2020b).

If we compare this to electric car recharging, there are 5478 electric vehicle charging stations with 13020 charging outlets in Canada and 28608 stations with 94932 outlets in the U.S. (Government of Canada, 2020b).

Limited hydrogen fuelling stations is something that must be overcome for hydrogen to be taken seriously. With limited sales of FCEVs few oil and gas companies will build hydrogen fuelling stations because the hydrogen fuelling stations are expensive due to the use of industrial strength compression equipment.

To afford building hydrogen stations there needs to be significant economies of scale to be cost effective and to be able to compete with gasoline and electricity. With at least 8890 FCEVs on the road today there is not the demand to invest into the building of hydrogen fuelling stations (Korn, 2020).

We do see dozens of countries such as Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, South Korea, and the UK have started committing billions of dollars, especially to green hydrogen, in a bid to combat climate change (Kimani, 2020). The question is with the building of the hydrogen fuelling stations will car manufacturers build FCEVs or BEVs which currently hold the market share.

New innovations in green energy

Each day we tend to see the development of technologies that can change what is going on in “green energy” / renewables / alternative ways to power vehicles. This shows how innovative this field is and how many disciplines are involved:

  1. Use of carbon fibre to store electricity so the body of an electric car can be the battery or could supplement the batteries in an EV vehicle. This could lead to lighter EVs (Pinkstone, 2018).
  2. Nanotechnology photosynthetic hydrogen production
  3. Hydrogen from salt water
  4. Development of better and cheaper electricity storage
  5. Solid state batteries which use solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, instead of the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries (Wikipedia, 2020c). It is believed with solid state batteries it would take only 10 minutes to recharge (Schmidt, 2020). 6. And many more.

Opportunities for those considering career change

With the current downturn we are seeing many geoscientists that have been let go deciding to go back to school and some are now trying to obtain a Masters in sustainability through programs at various universities to become “Sustainability Consultants.”

Sustainability Consultants will advise on (Ballentine, 2012):

  1. Social responsibility, environmental impact mitigation strategies
  2. Environmental or socially minded re-branding efforts
  3. Development of new product and marketing strategies to serve environmental markets
  4. Internal and supply-chain assessments that have led to improved efficiencies and regulatory risk mitigation.

What you need to do this are (Ballentine, 2012):

  1. Energy expertise
  2. Land Use, Agriculture, Waste and Water Expertise
  3. Policy Expertise
  4. Expertise in Performance Measurement and Reporting (Traditional Financial and Non-financial)
  5. Leading Edge Knowledge of Technology
  6. Stakeholder Expertise and Credibility
  7. Communications Skills 8. Understanding of Corporate Finance and Capital Markets

REDEVELOP contest and sustainability programs

There is a graduate level “contest” that puts students into teams, and they look at different subjects. The contest spans across 5 universities (University of Calgary, University of Edmonton, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, and Western University). Each team is composed of at least one member from each different university. It is the REDEVELOP challenge and for more information please go to The REDEVELOP Challenge 2021 – REDEVELOP. The 2021 challengers will look at: CCUS, LNG, Geothermal, Modular Nuclear, H2 economy and Compressed air storage (CAES).

In the past it was mostly geoscience, engineering, and public policy graduate students who took part in this contest. We are now seeing graduate students from sustainability programs being a part of this.

Sustainability programs tend to be interdisciplinary since the topics span across multiple disciplines such as Public Policy, Business, Engineering, Architecture, Law, etc. The sustainability industry is highly multi-faceted which could be an attraction for some. Most of the people involved in sustainability are (Knowles, 2014):

  1. Under the age of 35 so there is an appeal of sustainability consulting for new professionals with a sciences background
  2. Have degrees in business and public administration, physical or life sciences, engineering, social sciences or natural resources and conservation.

There are also opportunities in renewables, CCUS, etc. As mentioned above, there are many challenges that we are still working on and we are not there yet on much of this, but we do see research and development ongoing in these fields.

Geoscience, energy, and sustainability

Much of what geoscientists do can be applied in the field of sustainability.

We can utilize 2D seismic that have small near offsets to map out aquifers in the near surface. We can then look at water flow and this can help us design where to put a garbage site or to find much needed water for a village.

We also have an understanding about the processes in the earth and about energy.

As geoscientists and engineers there is a lot of what we know and do that could be applied in sustainability studies.

Articles in this edition

This edition can be broken into technical articles and in testimonials from people who have made career changes from oil and gas into sustainability or renewable energy.

Technical articles

Kathleen Dorey – Geophysics for an energy transition
Kathleen writes a good summary article about a number of subject areas including exploration and development for geothermal heat/power, lithium resources as well as Inland LNG and carbon capture and storage where geophysical applications and techniques can be applied to help bring these energy sources to maturity.

Jeremy Boak, Alan J Cohen, Salah Faroughi, Hamed Soroush and Maria Richards - Geothermal Energy – a Sustainable Alternative to Well Abandonment
Discuss developing geothermal resources in sedimentary basins using proprietary workflow and screening platform, which integrates several effective criteria to select appropriate late-stage oil and gas wells to convert to clean and lower-cost geothermal energy sources.

Keith Hirsche – A Tale of Two Energy Industries
Reflects on the differences between the oil and gas industry and renewables in terms of cost where it shows the cost of producing oil and gas increasing especially with the unconventionals and the cost of solar PV decreasing similar to what is mentioned above.

It is the price difference between renewable energy and oil and gas that is driving the investment dollars. As renewables become cheaper, they become more attractive.

In 2021, with the decrease in drilling in 2020 in the gas plays like the Marcellus, it is expected the price of natural gas will go up which would cause more to look towards renewables, and it will decrease the demand of natural gas for power generation (Schulte and Felton, 2020).

Dilpreet Singh Khehra - The Hydrogen Transition is Here, A Simplified Glance at Major Factors and Concerns
This article looks at hydrogen from a nonexpert perspective. Dilpreet Khehra is currently a Carbonate Sedimentology Student with Enhance Energy. It looks at a student’s perspective on the subject and is very informative. Some of what is in this introduction is in his paper but in more detail.

Andrea Hasenbank and Scott Meunier - The RenuWell Workforce Training Program
Andrea and Scott look at building training resources that are at the nexus of transitions in our energy economy to support fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers to apply their knowledge and skills to the new net-zero economy.


Keith Hirsche - The RenuWell Project
Keith talks about his career in oil and gas and the rollercoaster ride he has gone through due to the price of oil. He talks about in 2009 $600 bought you a 40 watt panel and then around 2014 $600 purchased 500 watts of solar generation capacity.

This is when Keith decided to leave oil and gas and start his own renewable energy company.

Keith’s company converts some of the abandoned leases to solar generation and provide power for the remaining operations since electricity costs are one of the reasons why oil and gas fields are abandoned.

It takes a known problem and finds a solution. Using solar PV makes it economical for the field to continue.

He also talks about the skills he transferred from oil and gas to renewable energies.

Juli Rohl - The waves of the past are lapping the shores of the future
Juli writes about how she realized she would not be a great geologist because her heart was not in it. Juli felt her personal path to success lay in unlocking other people’s greatness, so she went and got an MBA. She talks about being involved with Integrated Planning recognizing that she was always the “Inventor’s helper.” Today she is the Animator for the Energy Futures Lab, where she breathes life into ideas and projects developed by 60+ innovators who are working together to build the energy system for the future.

Adam Yereniuk, Kuby - Transitioning from mining to solar
Adam reflects on transitioning from mining to solar. He talks about taking the initiative to invest in yourself, and by doing so others may invest in you as well. He points out in transitioning to a new role you should learn what is required and to get those skills and knowledge as quickly as possible.

Alyssa Bruce - From land management to sustainability
Alyssa comes from a strong background in oil and gas where she has spent half of her career at a land consulting company and the balance in the land department at a junior E&P. She is now a recent graduate from the interdisciplinary Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Development (SEDV) program at the University of Calgary where her Capstone project “from Brownfields to Brightfields” focused on the he RenuWell Project which is deploying solar PV on inactive wellsites in the Taber area. She reflects on how her various skills within oil and gas land asset administration and management can be leveraged for renewable energy development projects.

This is something many may not have thought about is how our land administration and knowledge of government regulations can be transferred to installing solar PV.

Jim Hollis - From subsurface to a venture capital and business incubator
Jim talks about his 30 years of working in geoscience and then being approached by the venture capital and business incubator arm of Johns Hopkins University (JHU) whose mandate is to help launch new business around ideas and technologies that emerge from the University. They wanted assistance in commercializing a novel geothermal technology developed by a team of JHU geoscientists.

Jim points out in rolling out this technology that techniques utilized within geoscience specifically those around fracture reservoirs can be directly applicable to aid in the finding of suitable sites for geothermal power systems including deriving an understanding of the natural fracture systems through the analysis of attributes generated from abundant seismic reflection data.

Doug Schouten - How a curious geophysicist set the stage for a low-impact mining breakthrough
Doug talks about how they developed muon tomography which is used for subsurface mineral exploration. Utilizing muon tomography, they are accelerating the world’s transition to low-impact mining. It shows how sustainability and low-impact technologies are being designed for numerous industries including mining and it shows oil and gas is not the only industry that is changing.


We hope you enjoy this edition; it is different than what we normally do as a Recorder edition, but we felt for many this information may help them as they consider their career options, and they can see hope in looking to transfer to a new career.

We hope that we also cover the challenges that are present in this transition to cleaner energy that could be opportunities for some especially with so many governments committed to it.



About the Author(s)

Keith Hirsche is a fourth generation Albertan, second generation in the oil and gas industry and the originator of the RenuWell Project. Over the course of his career, he provided research support for in-situ oilsands production, managed software developments and played key roles in several consortia including Canada’s first CO2 sequestration/EOR project.

Keith was introduced to renewable energy technology in 2003 while visiting extended family in Denmark. Later that year, he founded Elemental Energy (2003 Alberta) Inc / to explore how conventional and renewable energy systems could be combined for a more sustainable future. Since 2016, he has worked with key stakeholders to create economic, environmental and social benefits by repurposing Alberta’s legacy oil and gas infrastructure to be a foundation for renewable energy development.

In addition to his technical experience, Keith is trained in group facilitation and conflict management.

Joan Embleton has been the Program Manager of the CHORUS (Consortium for Heavy Oil Research by University Scientists) since 2002 and is an SEG and CSEG member. Joan has a background in gemology and has done lab work with geology core measurements in the mining and gold research projects. Joan is also an Alberta Justice officer and has handled all of the legal, software, data and confidentiality contracts for the CHORUS projects. Joan coordinated the CHORUS work plan outlines to all of the industry sponsors and assisted in assigning the research project data projects to the grad student thesis projects. She is a recipient of the University of Calgary’s Presidential U Make a Difference award.

Joan is currently the SEG Global Affairs Coordinator for Canada and also the Western Canada Business Advisory Chair

Joan served as an RCAF Communications specialist in Command Squadron at the CF Baden West Germany Air Force Base for 2 years. Upon completion of her oversees work, Joan was appointed to special posting to Veterans Affairs Canada located in Calgary. During her term at VAC, Joan served in the legal hearings to veterans regarding the effects of PTSD in a war time setting. Joan has been a member of 264 Legion since 2015 and served as the 264-604 Air Cadet liaison for 2 years. Recently Joan became a Navy League of Canada senior instructor as a band officer and enjoys teaching brass and music theory to the young cadets. Joan is an active member of the RCAF Association and was elected to be a Wing Director for our 783 Wing.


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