Renewable Energy: Research, Training and Action

In a world of limited fossil fuels, as well as environmental and economic shifts, renewable energy is the future. The UWI received funding from the European Union and the Inter-American Development Bank for a four-year project in Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago that will build support for innovation in renewable energy technologies, as well as stimulate entrepreneurship in the sector. This initiative is part of The University’s wider focus on renewable energy for sustainable development in the region.

The Faculty of Science and Technology at The UWI Cave Hill Campus in Barbados launched a Renewable Energy Teaching and Research Laboratory to facilitate research and greater linkages between The University and private sector companies involved in renewable energy.

UWI is helping the region to make the essential transition to using our indigenous and plentiful renewable resources.

The UWI Cave Hill recently conducted training workshops in Solar PV and Biogas Technology involving people from various industries, including the agricultural sector. In Trinidad & Tobago, The UWI St. Augustine Campus offers workshops and is undertaking research in Geothermal Energy, Solar Thermal Energy, Solar Photovoltaic and Wind Energy.

On the Mona Campus in Jamaica, the primary focus of the Solid State Electronics Research Laboratory in the Department of Physics is the development and utilization of alternate energy sources through photovoltaic cells. The Lab has undertaken a feasibility study for the design, development, installation and use of large-scale photovoltaic energy in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences. This effort is partially supported by The Mona Institute of Applied Sciences, which has been funded by the Canadian High Commission (CHC) through a Green Fund Project.

With the assistance of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, the Department is also assessing the use of wind-generated electricity at Munro, St. Elizabeth. The first phase of the project has been completed and plans are underway to investigate the feasibility of developing Wind Farms in some areas of this parish, known as the "bread basket" of Jamaica because of its focus on agriculture.

The energy sector is critical for the entire Caribbean and often represents a source of economic vulnerability, since all other forms of economic activity hinge upon having a reliable and cost-effective supply of energy. There is a high demand for trained technical personnel, executives and other professionals in the area of sustainable energy systems. In order to meet this need, The UWI is therefore expanding its offerings to include an MSc in Renewable Energy and MSc in Renewable Energy Management.

Students in these programmes will be provided with a multidisciplinary knowledge of energy sources, distribution technologies and efficient use of renewable energy in building and industrial processes, as well as essential tools for management in this area. Through these and other programmes and initiatives, The UWI is helping the region to make the essential transition to using our indigenous and plentiful renewable resources.