The Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) is being re-positioned to serve an additional role as a learning centre for renewable energy, capable of producing alternative renewable energy, and potable drinking water.
This is being pursued through the institute's renewable energy project and centre, developed at a cost of US$50,000, with funding provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ).
A total of US$40,000 was allocated through the GEF SGP, with US$10,000 in co-financing from the EFJ. The funds were awarded to the Jamaica Maritime Institute Trust Fund to execute the undertaking in June 2010.
Both the centre and project were formally opened and launched, during a ceremony at the CMI’s campus at Palisadoes Park, Kingston, on July 26.
Outlining details, National Co-ordinator for the GEF SGP in Jamaica, Hyacinth Douglas, said the scope of works entailed the construction of wind turbines; solar panels with auxiliary batteries; and acquisition of a reverse osmosis system to facilitate the conversion of harvested sea and rain water to potable water, among other key features.
Ms. Douglas advised that replication of the technology was undertaken at Pedro Cay, adding that the project has been instrumental in the training of inner-city youth and equipping them with entrepreneurial skills and other opportunities.
“Through workshops and training, this cost-efficient technology is expected to be replicated throughout the island and region, thus enabling our less fortunate citizens to lessen their dependency on expensive power supply and reducing and/or eliminating the associated high cost of energy,” Ms. Douglas assured.
Guest speaker, Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining Minister, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, in welcoming the project, commended the CMI for its initiative in pursuing the undertaking.
He underscored the need for the nation to become “totally pre-occupied” with pursuing innovations, particularly incorporating science and technology, that will make Jamaica more efficient and competitive. He contended that unless this is done, then “we are not going to be able to make the next step (in national development).”
“We have, for too long, been satisfied with being primary producers. As a country…we have to look at adding value, because that is what is going to make the difference between us remaining where we are, (being) underdeveloped, and for us to take the leap to becoming a first world country,” Mr. Paulwell said.
In his remarks, Executive Director of the CMI, Dr. Fritz Pinnock, pointed out that over the next five years the institute will, through the input of the Jamaica Maritime Institute Trust Fund, move to reduce its dependence on the national power grid by 50 per cent, by generating its own energy.
Also participating in the ceremony were UNDP Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Arun Kashyap, and EFJ Board member, Stephen Hodges.