An abundant supply of renewable energy is critical for the low emission economic growth and health of any nation. Many clean energy investment projects in developing countries failbecause their beneficiaries lack the knowledge, training and capacity to install, operate and maintain these systems and the ability to transfer those skills to future generations as time and technology progresses.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded Arizona State University (ASU) in 2011 a five year global "Vocational Training and Education on Clean Energy" (VOCTEC) program 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 clean energy technologies.
The technological focus is on the design, installation, operation and maintenance of distributed energy systems, specifically on solar PV, micro-hydro, wind systems, and hybrid systems, utilizing one or more of these three technologies along with fossil-fueled generators. The program embraces theconcept that the sustainability of renewable energy infrastructures in any community is a social issue with a technical component, rather than the other way around.
The service portfolio is comprised of inter-related and interconnected program components that will be adapted to countries and regions based on USAID's requirements and fully implemented with USAID's support. For example, training programs aimed at multiple levels, including short term training for skilled workers, longer term training for technicians and engineers, and economics and policy workshops aimed at community leaders and policy makers are customized and localized for each individual country. In addition, an online learning, collaboration and dissemination platform, which builds off of a unique technological and educational infrastructure, promotes best practices and analysis of outcomes and experiences.
Other training modules and support services include gender sensitivity training to achieve maximum access and participation among women in vocational education and subsequent employment; in-country training facilities development; and certification and accreditation Support for in-country and regional institutions and organizations.
VOCTEC has been working with various USAID missions in developing countries in Latin America, Africa, South-East Asia and other regions.