UTECH/GERMAN EMBASSY LAUNCHES SUSTAINABLE ENERGY CONFERENCE & EXPOSITION
The University of Technology Jamaica (UTech), in collaboration with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany yesterday, Tuesday, March 15, 2012 launched its Energy Conference and Exposition under the theme “Building a Sustainable Energy Economy” at a press conference held at Lillian’s restaurant, UTech.
The four-day sustainable energy event which runs from May 16 to 19 will include a range of activities being held with the objective of raising public awareness of the need and the possibilities of a sustainable energy economy for Jamaica. Included among the activities is a Round Table Discussion on Sustainable Energy featuring panelists, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, German Ambassador, HE Joseph Beck, Director General, Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), Mr. Zia Mian and German energy expert, Mr. Detlef Loy, among others. The discussion will be held on Thursday, May 17 at the Terra Nova hotel. Prime Minister, Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, ON will address the Opening Ceremony today, May 16. The energy event will also include a series of public lectures and workshops to be held May 17 to 19 on topics related to wind and solar energy and fuel cell technology.
In her opening remarks Dr. Ruth Potopsingh Director, Sustainable Energy, UTech, said “UTech has intentionally placed focus on Sustainable Energy having regard to Jamaica's National Development Agenda including the National Energy Policy 2009-2030, which seeks to create and advance ‘a modern, efficient, diversified, and environmentally sustainable energy sector.’ She noted that “the university has a key role to play in providing research and technology-based support to clearly identify national and regional objectives.”
In his remarks, German Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Josef Beck cautioned that the world will “reach the peak in worldwide production for oil, gas and coal in less than a generation.” The need for a sustainable energy economy is therefore immediate and urgent. He argued that “the only way out in the medium and long term is therefore “the decoupling of our economic growth from fossil based energy consumption.” He urged the gathering to look at a green economy as an opportunity with huge potential for innovation, growth and employment which over time will make Jamaica’s economy stronger and more competitive. The Ambassador noted that the conference and exposition is being placed in the context of 50 years of Jamaica’s independence and 50 years of Jamaican-German diplomatic relations.
Addressing the press conference, Mr. Thomas Scheutzlich, German International Corporation (GIZ) Consultant and Principal Advisor for the Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP) said that it is imperative that Jamaica taps into the unused energy sources such as wind, hydro and solar which are available in abundance. Mr. Detlef Loy, GIZ Consultant and Energy Policy Advisor, CREDP in his remarks, said that “Germany is now a leading country in the manufacture of and supply of energy efficiency products. He also announced that 20% of his country’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources.”
Dr. Noel Brown, Director Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Computing and lead coordinator for the exposition said that a total of sixty exhibits will be on show from May 17 – 19 at the Alfred Sangster auditorium, UTech. These will include thirty pieces from German companies which will provide information and demonstrations on the new technologies available for the advancement of a sustainable energy economy.
The public is invited to the free of charge exhibition.