We have been supporting IRENA since last year on their development of an online platform for renewable energy education and training. Well, I’m pleased to say that it was launched at CEM3 in London a couple of weeks ago, so is now available. It’s called the IRENA Renewable Energy Learning Partnership (IRELP) and is available at www.irelp.org
IRELP is designed to provide info to anyone who wants to learn about renewable energy including students, vocational trainees and other professionals looking to develop and update their renewable energy knowledge; education and training providers; as well as government entities and decision makers. I thought I’d offer you a quick tour around some of it’s features, so if you fall into one of those categories, read on.
At the heart of IRELP are two databases: one of study and training programmes (which incorporates webinars) and the other a library with training materials.
Say you want to learn about solar energy, and you’re based in Africa. Start your search in the Education and Training section (which you can select from the main menu bar). The website immediately presents a list of courses, unfiltered. You can then select the filters on the left-hand side of the screen to your preferred options of ‘Solar Energy’ and ‘Africa’. You’ll see that the website starts to filter as soon as you check a box, and you’ll see the result that there is an upcoming course for the practically-minded on how to design, install and manage off-grid solar PV systems, or for the policy-minded there’s a workshop to bring together experts to deliberate on ways of getting the ECOWAS sub-region to tap into its significant solar energy potential, both at The Energy Center of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi in Ghana.
If you want to prepare yourself before attending one of those courses, or simply do some self-directed study, click over to the Library, where checking the ‘Solar Energy’ filter brings up a variety of books and guides to download. One word of warning – some of the search results will lead to paid downloads, but never fear, there’s plenty of free stuff to be had!
If you want to take part in a study session without leaving your desk, webinars are included in the database and can be found through their own section. Alternatively, via the Academy you have access to videos of exclusive lectures from Masdar Institute as well as training presentations from RETScreen International.
Planned future developments include a knowledge exchange corner (Forum) where professors and renewable energy experts can participate to stimulate the further development of renewable energy modules and study programmes. Keep an eye out for that.
Apart from REEEP, other initiatives and institutions in the field of renewable energy have been involved in IRELP’s development, including the Economic and Technological Development Distance Learning Centre Foundation (CEDDET), Research Center for Energy, Environment and Technology (Ciemat), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) at York University, Canada.