Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

Greening the Oil Sands

Small aerial of Alberta's oil sands

Suncor's Millenium oil sands mine east of the Athabasca River. Photo: David Dodge,  The Pembina Institute.

Energy reporter Geoff Dembicki's Tyee Solutions Society series explores whether and how innovative technology and policies are folding the oil sands into a larger national narrative of transition to a greener energy future for Canada. Along the way he interviews industry insiders, scientists, engineers and policy experts who share their often surprising perspectives on how to get from here to a greener society.

In This Series


Greening the Oil Sands series graphic

Could Alberta's 'Tar' Pave the Road to a Green Canada?

Steps to an oil sands we can live with. First in a Tyee Solutions Society series.

By Geoff Dembicki, 18 Jun 2012


FSuncor tailings pond at Wapisiw Lookout

Oil Sands Carbon: When Money and Morals Align

Why the oilpatch is already preparing to surf the green wave it sees coming. Second in a series.

By Geoff Dembicki, 19 Jun 2012



Canada's Oil Insiders Want a Carbon Tax

Surprising as that sounds, interviews reveal a business community consensus based on economics. Third in a Tyee Solutions Society series.

By Geoff Dembicki, 20 Jun 2012


Former environment minister Rob Renner

To Spur Innovation, What Price to Put on Oil Sands Carbon?

BC and Alberta each have pioneered policies that help to answer that question.

By Geoff Dembicki, 21 Jun 2012


Wind farm near Pincher Creek

Using Bitumen to Fuel Green Energy

Alberta already invests some carbon taxes in low emissions tech. But sky's the limit say industry insiders. Fifth in a series.

By Geoff Dembicki, 22 Jun 2012


In situ oil sands

A Greener Way to Get Bitumen?

Extracting oil sands crude is energy intensive, making it one of the 'dirtiest' fuels. Fixable? Sixth in a series.

By Geoff Dembicki, 25 Jun 2012


Weyburn carbon monitoring

Alberta's Gamble on Sticking CO2 Back in the Earth

The high price and distant hope for carbon sequestration. Part seven of a Tyee Solutions Society series.

By Geoff Dembicki, 26 Jun 2012



On Oil Sands, Ottawa's Not Hearing What Alberta's Saying

If you thought the oil patch firmly favours Canada's federal stance on carbon emissions, think again. Last in a series on greening the oil sands.

By Geoff Dembicki, 27 Jun 2012


Polymer beads

Cleantech Firms Want a Shot at Fixing Oil Sands

Opportunities for breakthroughs? We found five. Today's story is about the first: thirsty beads.

By Geoff Dembicki, 12 Mar 2013



Oil Sands Cleanup Opportunity #2: Pay As You Go

A 'play now, pay later' policy discourages clean investment, say experts. Second in a series.

By Geoff Dembicki, 13 Mar 2013


Vancouver's Saltworks

Oil Sands Cleanup Opportunity #3: Harvest Heavy Minerals

Process cleans tailing ponds, pays for itself. Why does industry balk? Third in series.

By Geoff Dembicki, 14 Mar 2013


Greening the Oil Sands

Oil Sands Cleanup Opportunity #4: Restore Subsidies for Innovation

Scaled back federal support for new tech frustrates top oil patch execs.

By Geoff Dembicki, 15 Mar 2013



What's Holding Back High-Tech Oil Sands Cleanups?

We found five opportunities. Here's the last, capping Geoff Dembicki's surprising series.

By Geoff Dembicki, 18 Mar 2013