16 July 2011, Fiji
A group of local researchers and renewable energy stakeholders were given a thorough grounding in the basics of applying for funding for renewable energy projects in the region at a workshop held at USP on Thursday. The Project DIREKT-organised workshop attracted some 40 participants from the local universities, government departments, NGOs and the banking sector.
The project’s Pacific Coordinator Dr. Anirudh Singh said that given the large amounts of funding available for renewable energy projects in the region, the importance of writing proposals for such funding could not be under-estimated. This was the main motivation for selecting this theme for one of Project DIREKT’s four public events this year.
Introducing the subject of proposal writing, UNDP’s Dr. Thomas Jensen pointed out that while the funds available globally for renewable energy projects ranged in the hundreds of millions of dollars, only a few million dollars could be attracted to the region. This was in no small part due to the lack of necessary proposal writing skills within the region.
A real-life example of the need for proposal writing was given by Jonathan Mitchell of the Forum Secretariat (PIFS). He described the steps necessary for the successful application for the US$66m Pacific Environment Community (PEC) fund administered by the Forum Secretariat. These funds would be distributed to fourteen Forum Island Countries, each receiving US$4m for a project in solar PV energy and desalination. To obtain these funds however, each country would have to submit a proposal which would be considered and thoroughly vetted by the Project Management Unit at PIFS.
The importance of micro-hydro projects in the energy development of the region was revealed by the Department of Energy’s Paula Katirewa, who outlined the steps involved in carrying out feasibility studies for the utilization of such resources.
IUCN’s Anare Matakiviti brought the sessions to a close by outlining the steps necessary in tendering for renewable energy projects in the region.
Of note at the workshop was the presence of six representatives from the FDB, which, according to the Project Coordinator, revealed the multi-disciplinary importance of renewable energy.
Project DIREKT is a global renewable energy research network of five universities that facilitates the development and use of renewable energy in the ACP regional via knowledge and technology transfer and capacity building.
The project’s work-plan for this year consists of two further workshops. One will be aimed specifically at a regional audience and the other will be a capacity building workshop for the renewable energy business sector of the region. The Project’s general objective is to fill the gaps in training and capacity building for all renewable energy (RE) stakeholders. It is planned that some sessions will be devoted to RE awareness for decision-makers in the near future. Such training is vital, given the large amounts of funds that are usually involved in RE projects.
Contact: Dr. Anirudh Singh, Ph 3232437 (W), 8660028 (M), email