Training in renewable energy has taken another step, with the opening of the Wigton Renewable-Energy Laboratory, in Rose Hill, Manchester.
The resource centre, which was opened on November 3 by Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, will deliver practical and theoretical courses in solar thermal, photovoltaic, concentrated solar and wind power.
It will also offer courses in small hydro, bioenergy, fuel cells and energy conservation. The goal is to develop the lab into one of the Caribbean’s premier renewable-energy training facilities.
Dr. Wheatley said the training component of the wind-energy facility is part of the Government’s thrust for capacity building, creating energy solutions, reducing threats to the environment, and growing the economy.
According to Dr. Wheatley, energy is one of the most critical sectors in Jamaica, and acts as the single important driving force for all other sectors. He added that it is integrally linked to three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, environmental and social.
“The way in which energy is supplied largely determines the health and environmental impacts of the sector. Renewables are, therefore, increasingly becoming a part of the national and global solution to combat the effects of climate change, through the avoidance of carbon-dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases,” he said.
The Minister told the audience that as one of the signatories to the Paris Agreement on climate change, and an advocate for Sustainable Development Goals, Jamaica must continue to be a leader for environmental and sustainable sources of energy.
He urged the Management of the Wigton Windfarm to strengthen its position in the national drive for sustainable energy solutions, energy-generating capacity, and with diverse capacity-building/training in various areas of renewable energy.
The resource centre was developed with a $4-million grant from the British High Commission in Jamaica, and support from the Renewables Academy in Germany and the OPEC Fund for International Development.