As part of the thrust to build an energy efficiency culture in the public sector, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) has trained the second cohort of energy ambassadors to promote conservation methods.
The seven-day training programme was sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), under a project aimed at developing an energy savings industry in Jamaica by raising the level of awareness and understanding of the business of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The participants were trained in conducting energy audits, evaluating/measuring energy use by ministries/agencies, understanding how to read electricity bills and energy meters, while being introduced to the different elements of an energy management plan.
Speaking at the closing ceremony held at the Montego Bay Revenue Services Centre in St. James on Tuesday (May 15), trainee and Procurement Officer at the St. James Parish Council, Sonia Simpson, said the training will help to reduce the national energy bill.
“This will go a far way in preparing government officers to play our part in achieving the goals of the National Energy Policy 2009-2030, and pave the way for the government to be a model leader in energy management,” she said.
Mrs. Simpson, who spoke on behalf of her fellow trainees, pledged that “we, as a group, wish to make a public pledge to do our part in achieving the goals of the national energy policy, so that Jamaica can be the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.”
Principal Director for Energy at the Ministry, Fitzroy Vidal, said he is satisfied with the project. He urged the trainees to use the knowledge gained to become true ambassadors for energy conservation and efficiency in the country.
“This programme has dubbed you as ambassadors for energy. Make sure, whether it is in the homes, public places, in the schools, wherever it is, you are going to be true ambassadors for responsible use of energy through Jamaica,” Mr. Vidal urged.
In her address, Deputy Resident Representative for the UNDP in Jamaica, Akiko Fuji, noted that the agency supports the initiative, which will save on energy costs and provide more resources for the most vulnerable in the society.
“UNDP is supporting the government programme… our focus is always poverty reduction, and growth with equity and by creating the environment for energy efficiency and conservation, you are reducing the expenditure in the national budget to be allocated for electricity and energy. You are actually creating more fiscal space in the national budget to be spent for public services, for social protection for those people who are in need,” she told the gathering.
She also urged the participants to communicate and practice what they have learnt, “in your own agencies”.
The training was designed for government officers, who have direct responsibility for improving energy conservation/efficiency and reducing energy costs at their various locations. They are now better able to employ guidelines and strategies in ensuring reduction of energy use in the public sector, and other places where they have influence.
Training for the first batch of energy ambassadors was done in Kingston earlier this year. The next training will take place in Mandeville, during the month of August.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter