The University of Guyana has teamed up with the Anton de Kom University of Suriname (AdeKUS) and the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium to be part of €613,640 (US $840,686) programme geared at capacity building in applied renewable energy technologies.
Seventy-five percent of the funding is made possible through a grant under the ACP-EU Cooperation Programme in Education (EDULINK II). The remainder is the contribution of the two universities.
The overall objective is to improve the capacity of the Universities of Guyana and Suriname to deliver programmes and courses with the different technologies associated with applied renewable energy.
A major aspect of the project is a joint Masters programme in renewable energy technology which will be offered in both Guyana and Suriname. Other aspects include training of staff from UG and AdeKUS, procurement of laboratory equipment for both universities, and a number of workshops and symposiums (to be held in both countries).
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Robert Persaud who was present at the launch, commended the partnership and expressed the Government’s gratitude to the ACP-EU for facilitating this initiative.
He spoke of the importance of renewable energy in mitigating/reducing the effects climate change and global warming.
When Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) was launched in 2009, eight priorities were identified, one of which was the need for affordable and reliable renewable energy.
Minister Persaud said that one of the major bugbears in the local manufacturing sector is the availability of cheap energy and it is for this reason, the Government remains totally committed to ensuring that the country’s vast hydropower potential is harnessed.
“For us, it is an economic imperative that we developed not only clean energy, but affordable energy as well, and we are lucky that we possess the resources that we can have both…the low hanging fruit in this regard is hydro,” the Minister said.
He added that successive governments from all sides of the political divide have recognised the need for Guyana to have renewable energy, and at this point in time, the country is closer than it has ever been to realising this dream.
He noted too, that it is extremely important for the country to have the necessary human capital to drive this area of development which is why this type of collaboration is welcomed in Guyana.
Meanwhile, Registrar of UG, Vincent Alexander said that UG and AdeKUS have a long history of collaboration in a number of areas. He said that he is particularly pleased with the project’s focus in taking the human capital to higher heights.
The project’s target groups are: students, technicians, policy makers, lecturers and researchers.
Project Manager, UG, Verlyn Klass said that the project falls within context of Guyana’s LCDS. She said that in terms of the joint Master’s programme, UG will be churning out approximately 10 Guyanese graduates in applied renewable technologies every two years.
As it relates to staff development, three lecturers will benefit from training at the Catholic University of Leuven to teach the Masters programme.
UG also plans to develop a hydropower lab, conduct micro/pico hydropower (hydroelectric power generation of under 5 kW) facilities in hinterland communities and conduct research to determine the country’s wind energy potential.