The University of Guyana is partnering with the Anton de Kom University of Suriname (AdeKUS) and the Catholic University of Leuven of Belgium to benefit from a €613,640 (US $840,686) programme aimed at capacity building in applied renewable energy technologies.
“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 report from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said.
Seventy-five per cent of the funding was given via a grant under the ACP-EU Cooperation Programme in Education (EDULINK II). A major aspect of the partnership is a joint Master’s programme in renewable energy technology which will be offered in both Guyana and Suriname. Other aspects entail training staff from UG and AdeKUS, the procurement of laboratory equipment for both universities, and a number of workshops and symposiums (to be held in both countries).
At the launch, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud said government was grateful to the ACP-EU for facilitating the initiative. He also spoke of the importance of renewable energy in mitigating/reducing the effects of climate change and global warming.
Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) identified eight priorities when it was launched in 2009, one of which was the need for affordable and reliable renewable energy. Persaud noted that one of the major bugbears in the local manufacturing sector is the availability of cheap energy and it is for this reason that government remains totally committed to ensuring that Guyana’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,” he said. Representatives from all sides of the political divide have recognised the need for renewable energy and the human resources to drive this area of development.
Registrar of UG, Vincent Alexander said that UG and AdeKUS have previously collaborated in a number of areas. He is particularly pleased with the project’s focus on 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. In terms of the joint Master’s programme, UG will be churning out about 10 Guyanese graduates in applied renewable technologies every two years. Regarding staff development, three lecturers will benefit from training at the Catholic University of Leuven to teach the Master’s programme.
UG also plans to develop a hydropower lab and conduct research to determine the country’s wind energy potential, GINA said.