ECREEE Fellowship for Sustainable Energy Solutions

The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in cooperation with the Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) in New York and the Engineering Department of the University of Cape Verde (UNICV) in Mindelo, Sao Vicente, are executing an innovative certified distant-learning programme for building capacities of West African experts in the field of sustainable energy systems and solutions. Applications are invited from qualified experts from West Africa, who meet the professional and academic qualifications, to apply for a certificate programme on sustainable energy solutions to be conducted by the Columbia University.

Target Group and eligible applicants:
The first round of this programme will train ten (10) young West African experts currently employed by utilities, regulators or independent power producers (IPPs) in the areas of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency and energy policy planning. The overall objective is to strengthen the long-term capabilities of these institutions and companies to design and appraise projects, integrate renewable energy and energy efficiency into their planning, operational and monitoring cycles and contribute to strengthening of policy framework at the national level. Recent studies and reports by various organizations including ECREEE and UNIDO have revealed that lack of capacity, knowledge and awareness on the technical feasibility and economics of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and systems is still a major barrier for scaling up clean technologies and investments in the electricity sector of countries of West Africa.

Structure of Course:
The proposed certificate programme includes e-learning lessons by the faculty of Columbia University as well as a physical workshop to be held at the Engineering Department of the University of Cape Verde (UNICV) in Mindelo, Sao Vicente. Written exams for each course take place in the form of tests, home works and MATLAB assignments in line with standards and procedures applied by the concerned School of the Columbia University. The programme will end with a final exam. The courses will be held exclusively in English. Men installing solar panels:  Photo Courtesy ECREEE

Successful students will receive a Columbia University's Certificate of Professional Achievement in Sustainable Energy (course credit can be applied towards a Columbia Master Program- see NOTE). The Certificate will constitute four 3-credit courses. The students will be expected to successfully complete the 12 credit curriculum with a minimum average GPA achieved of 3.0.

NOTE: Admission to the Masters Program is not automatic and requires a separate application. Also note that the fellowship award is for the Certificate Program and not for the Masters Program.

The courses will formally start in January 2014 and will be implemented over a period of 12 months.

Tuition Fee:
The tuition fee will be covered by the organizers. However, candidates and their employers will be responsible for meeting other costs on time, logistics and arrangements for distance learning as required.

NOTE: Minimum Internet Connection Speed of 100kbps required for lecture download, higher speeds recommended.

The Certificate of Professional Achievement in Sustainable Energy Solutions will constitute four 3-credit courses. The specific topics to be covered range from energy sources, energy conversion technologies, and energy infrastructure planning to applications and implementation as they pertain to different energy services. System level issues about integration of renewable energy and incorporating energy efficiency will be addressed. The program will offer a broad overview of possible renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and their unique characteristics. The curriculum will train students in quantitative tools that assist in decision-making when multiple technological choices that have varying spatial and temporal capabilities/impacts are present. Technologies that rely on a combination of renewable and storage and combination of power with heat/cooling (cogeneration) are critical to capture in the curriculum. For a global curriculum, ability to plan with local resources, temporal variability of the resource and the appropriate centralization/decentralized level of the infrastructure is also important. Students will also develop the capacity to design and assess bankable projects that connect demand to supply.

The detailed contents of the modules are currently in the finalization process. The program will include the following modules:
  1. Introduction to the general energy and particularly the renewable energy and energy efficiency. Special context setting for the Economic Community of West African States (special module executed by ECREEE, UNIDO)
  2. Introduction on Energy: units, nomenclature, energy sources, energy carriers, and services
  3. Historical perspective and relationship to economic growth,
  4. Decarbonization, renewable energy and energy efficiency
  5. Energy sources and conversion
  6. Renewable sources of heat: geothermal and biomass, biomass derived energy carriers: biogas, plant biofuels, lipids, DME. Role in Cooking/heating/access, energy-food-water nexus.
  7. Conversion Devices: Internal Combustion Engines, Stirling Engines,
  8. Solar Energy - Specialized coverage on Solar thermal engineering because of it's relevance to West Africa and the Sahel. Photovoltaics, concentrated solar thermal, concentrated PV,
  9. Wind Power, turbomachines, gas turbines, small hydro, pumped hydro
  10. Systems approach to energy: efficient energy use, combined heat and power
  11. Integration of RES into the energy system
  12. Energy Infrastructure Planning with computer assisted system planning tools (Perspectives on the ECOWAS region, project work based on data availability)
  13. Demand Forecasting and demand growth
  14. Energy Policy Tools and Regulatory Framework

International and Regional Context:
The certificate programme on Sustainable Energy Solutions is directed towards the three objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL): (1) ensuring universal access to modern energy services; (2) doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and (3) doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency. Energy issues facing society are seen as one of the biggest technological and policy challenge of the century. The fifteen Energy Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have adopted the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) and the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP) during the High Level Energy Forum, which took place from 29 to 31 October 2012 in Accra, Ghana. The policies aim at making SE4ALL a reality in West Africa by 2013 and include minimum targets and scenarios for RE&EE and a broad range of measures, standards and incentives to be implemented at regional and national levels. To implement these regional policies there is a urgent need to strengthen the capacities of key institutions/companies in the power sector on sustainable energy issues.

The ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) aims at the following objectives:
  • The share of renewable energy (incl. large hydro) of the overall electricity mix of the ECOWAS region will increase to 35% in 2020 and 48% by 2030.
  • The share of new renewable energy such as wind, solar, small scale hydro and bioelectricity (excl. large hydro) will increase to around 10% in 2020 and 19% by 2030. These targets translate to an additional 2.425 MW renewable electricity capacity by 2020 and 7.606 MW by 2030.
  • To provide universal access to energy services it is envisaged that around 75% of the rural population will be served through grid extensions and around 25% by renewable energy powered by mini-grids and stand-alone hybrid systems by 2030.
  • By 2020, the whole ECOWAS population will have access to improved cooking facilities either through improved stoves or fuel switching to other modern forms of energy such as LPG.
  • The share of ethanol/biodiesel in transport fuels will increase to 5% in 2020 and 15% by 2030.
  • By 2030, around 50% of all health centers, 25% of all hotels and agro-food industries with hot water requirements will be equipped with solar thermal systems.

The ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP) aims at the following objectives:
  • by 2013, create the institutional basis for five priority regional initiatives, with the following concrete objectives:
    • lighting: phase out inefficient incandescent bulbs by 2020;
    • electricity distribution: reduce electricity distribution losses from the current level of 15 -40% to under 10% by 2020;
    • cooking: achieve universal access to safe, clean, affordable, efficient and sustainable cooking for the entire population of ECOWAS, by 2030;
    • standards and labels: establish an ECOWAS Technical Committee for Energy Efficiency Standards and Labelling, and adopt initial region-wide standards and labels for major energy equipment by end 2014;
    • finance: create instruments for financing sustainable energy, including carbon finance, by the end of 2013;
  • by 2015, begin implementation in each ECOWAS country at least one of the priority initiatives;
  • by 2016, implement measures that free 2 000 MW of power generation capacity: the equivalent of creating forty virtual EE power plants, with a capacity of 50MW each, available to power development, serving new users and new needs;
  • In the long term, more than double the annual improvement in energy efficiency, so as to attain levels comparable to those of world leaders such as China. This would mean that each year, the amount of energy needed to produce a certain amount of goods and services would decrease by about 4% .

Application/Admission Requirements:
  • Citizen of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
  • Maximum age of 35 years at time of application
  • Full-time employee of an utility, regulator or Independent Power Producer (IPP) located in the ECOWAS region; demonstrate at least 3 years of continued employment and long-term employment perspectives in the institution/company;
  • At least Bachelor's degree in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering from a recognized institution of higher learning. Ideally this degree was received within 5 years of application to the Certificate Program.
  • Bachelor's degree GPA > 3.2 on scale of 4.0. This is equivalent to a B+ or higher grade. Where the grading systems are different from letter grades, fill out your scores or grades in the scale that your institution uses. Do not attempt to translate your grades yourself. Meeting the above minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.
  • Professional oral and writing skills in English. Candidates selected for an interview will be tested for their oral and writing skills.

Application documents:
  • Signed Statement of Purpose (max. 3 A4 pages or 1.500 words) describing the motivation to participate and the career possibilities to make use of the knowledge and skills in the institution/company; participating experts might have to sign an agreement with the employer to stay in the institution/company after the finalization of the course for a certain time.
  • Signed Approval/recommendation letter of the employer on the participation of the applicant in the part-time training program. The letter shall include an explanation how the employer will take advantage of the obtained knowledge of the employee in the future.
  • Scanned Copy of your Passport
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 A4 pages). Clearly list dates of attendance of each educational institution when listing educational background and the dates of employment for each item in work experience. Include a short description of the kind of work performed. Also include a description of familiarity with programming languages and software tools such as C, C+, Java, Matlab, Python. Include your experiences in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector;
  • Official transcript from every post-secondary institution and copies of diploma/degree certificates (in English); Translation of the official transcript(s) and degree/diploma certificate(s) is required if the institution(s) you attended does not issue transcripts in English. The translation must be conducted by a reputable service provider and must be sent in addition to the official transcript in the original language. Personal transcript translations will not be accepted.

Apply Online

Application Deadline: November 1