Pacific Islands Renewable Energy Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project

Project: Research project

Description

1: Executive Summary The Pacific Island Nations face a number of barriers to clean energy development. Of the 12 countries in USAIDs Pacific Islands region (Fiji, Kiribati, The Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) five are classified by the United Nations as Least Developed countries (Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) and all have limited financial resources. Given that there are limited financial resources available, there are still a large number of renewable energy projects that have been completed, are on-going, and are planned within the region that are funded from a variety of aid organizations from around the world. Even though there has been this large infusion of renewable energy technology, there is still inadequate local, human capacity to support renewable energy equipment installation, operation, and maintenance. This is due in part to high turnover within the population as skilled personnel are able to relocate to better paying positions outside of the region, but it is also due to a lack of the standardized training for technicians, operators, and engineers that would establish and build human capacity in the region. This proposal is written to request New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for funding ($500,000 NZ) for the on-going Vocational Training and Education on Clean Energy (VOCTEC) program, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is being implemented under the leadership of Arizona State University (ASU). The VOCTEC program in the Pacific Islands is a two year program that aims to improve the sustainability of renewable energy infrastructure and investments in developing countries by increasing awareness, knowledge and capacity of local stakeholders to sustain renewable energy investments, primarily in decentralized renewable energy technologies. This proposal builds upon the results of the teams assessment of the renewable energy education needs of the Pacific Island Nations and stakeholders within the region, including education providers, institutional stakeholders, renewable energy practitioners, and donor organizations. The VOCTEC team includes experts in the fields of solar photovoltaic, wind energy, micro-hydro, and micro-grids. This team can provide comprehensive renewable energy related trainings for both on and off grid power throughout the region. VOCTECs partner organizations (Arizona State University, Appalachian State University and Green Empowerment) have a long term interest in ensuring the promotion of clean energy and climate adaptability in the region and around the world. The stated objective of the training program is to strengthen local capacity to design, install, operate, maintain, and repair solar photovoltaic (PV) energy equipment in the Pacific islands in order to sustain renewable energy investments within the region. The VOCTEC program will provide vocational education and training to build capacity of male and female PV solar technicians including undergraduate and graduate level engineering students, electrical engineers currently working in other fields, and technicians. The VOCTEC program will develop collaborations with local and regional institutions to implement and sustain the program within the region for the long term. In order to deliver on the program objectives, four major tasks are identified related to solar off-grid photovoltaic power:

Description

A team from ASUs VOCTEC program traveled to Fiji and Tonga, May 7th through 18th, 2012 to meet with renewable energy stakeholders to assess conditions and needs for renewable energy technical and vocational education and training first hand. The team had completed an initial review of literature (renewable energy planning documents, reports, articles from regional energycentric publications, and reports from various donor organizations) and organizations in the region (education providers, institutional stakeholders, renewable energy practitioners, and donor organizations), serving the targeted South Pacific island nations including: Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshal Islands (RMI), Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Fiji serves as a regional hub for renewable energy practitioners and aid organizations and has reasonable access to the other Pacific Island Nations. Fiji is also a relatively well developed nation, with large urban populations and with 75% of the estimated 844,000 people having access to electricity1 The Pacific Island Nations face a number of barriers to clean energy development. Of the 12 countries in USAIDs Pacific Islands region, five are classified by the United Nations as Least Developed countries (Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) and all have limited financial resources. Given that there are limited financial resources available, there are still a large number of renewable energy projects that have been completed, are ongoing, and are planned within the region that are funded from a variety of aid organizations from around the world. Even though there has been this large infusion of renewable energy technology, there is still inadequate local, human capacity to support renewable energy equipment installation, operation, and maintenance. This is due in part to high turnover within the population as skilled personnel are able to relocate to better paying positions outside of the region, but it is also due to a lack of the standardized training for technicians, operators, and engineers that would establish and build human capacity in the region. . Tonga is a more remote island nation with strong governmental support for renewable energy and has developed the Tonga Energy Road Map (TERM) that serves as a guiding document for reduction in consumption and transition to clean energy technologies. Tonga, is less accessible than Fiji, with less tourism income, and therefore more accurately represents conditions in the field across more of the Pacific Island Nations. 90% of Tongas estimated 100,000 people have access to electricity1 and Tonga has developed a number of solar photovoltaic projects as stand-alone systems, micro-grids, and grid connected systems. Access to a number of installations, government support for renewable energy, and being more representative of the typical Pacific Island Nation drew the team to Tonga to survey practitioners and installations in that nation. This proposal builds upon the results of the teams assessment of the renewable energy education needs of the Pacific Island Nations and stakeholders within the region, including education providers, institutional stakeholders, renewable energy practitioners, and donor organizations.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date8/10/121/31/15

Funding

  • US Agency for International Development (USAID): $1,393,532.00

Fingerprint

Education
Engineers
Personnel
Developing countries
Wind power
Sustainable development
Repair
Students
Planning