Wigton Windfarm Limited has opened a renewable energy training facility at its Resource Centre in Rose Hill, Manchester.
The Wigton Renewable Energy Training Lab will deliver practical and theoretical courses in areas such as solar thermal, photovoltaics, concentrated solar and wind power, small hydro, bio-energy, fuel cells and energy conservation. Wigton’s goal is for the Lab to become one of the Caribbean’s premier renewable energy training facilities.
The training offered will focus on capacity building and exposure to best practices with emphasis on innovation and efficiency. Curricula will be delivered through workshops, seminars, lectures, courses and practical lab work. Target groups include energy professionals and entrepreneurs, tertiary students and the general public.
The Lab was officially opened by the Minister of Science, Energy & Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley on Wednesday November 2. Speaking at the opening Dr. Wheatley said, “Wigton, is an integral component of the national drive for sustainable energy solutions. The addition of this renewable energy lab to its plethora of service offerings to the people of Jamaica, represents a continuation of the vision of Wigton, and indeed the Government – for capacity building, creating sustainable energy solutions, reducing threats to the environment and growing our economy.”
The establishment of the Renewable Energy Lab was partially funded by a $4.8 million grant which Wigton received from the British High Commission in 2014. Additionally, a US$200,000 grant from the OPEC Fund for International Development partially financed the procurement and installation of renewable energy technology demos and other equipment by the Renewables Academy (RENAC), a leading international provider of energy training.
Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, RENAC is known worldwide for training technicians, engineers, decision-makers, investors and developers in renewable energy and energy efficiency. In addition to supplying lab equipment, RENAC conducted Train the Trainer Courses at Wigton with participants from local institutions including the HEART TRUST NTA (National Tool and Engineer Institute), the University of Technology and the University of the West Indies earlier this year.
Wigton’s General Manger, Earl Barrett said, the facility will accelerate Wigton’s ongoing efforts to foster the growth of Jamaica’s emerging renewable energy industry by developing human capital. Since its inception in 2004, the company has continually provided training for local engineers and other professionals as well as tertiary level engineering students.
“This latest educational undertaking is in fulfilment of Wigton’s goal to actively support the growth of Jamaica’s renewable energy industry by developing human capital and increasing local expertise in alternative energy,” he said.
“In addition to playing its role in reducing the country’s energy bill and achieving the goals outlined in the national energy policy, Wigton is also creating opportunities for people to learn and develop skills that will enable them to capitalize on an area that is both lucrative and demanding,” Mr. Barrett added.