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RMI, CARILEC, BELCO, and Bermuda Host 20 Energy Leaders from 12 Countries Accelerating Renewable Energy across the Region

RMI, CARILEC, BELCO, and Bermuda Host 20 Energy Leaders from 12 Countries Accelerating Renewable Energy across the Region

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RMI’s Energy Transition Academy (ETA) with support from the Caribbean Electricity Utility Services Cooperation (CARILEC), Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO), and the Government of Bermuda are hosting energy professionals from a dozen countries across the Caribbean participating in a three-day fellowship summit to support local capacity building and workforce development.

Acting Minister of Transport Vance Campbell (the substantive minister of Tourism), will address participants to kick off the multi-day event, underscoring the role of governments and utilities in advancing the clean energy transition while integrating ambition, local ownership, equity, and execution. Hosting the summit showcases Bermuda’s commitment to collaborating and supporting the region in building the skills to meet its collective energy resilience and climate goals, marked by the nation’s notable progress in public electric transportation and enabling regulatory and policy framework. One of the main goals of the ETA’s Global Fellowship Program is to meet the needs of the energy transition workforce. With 30 million clean energy jobs needed globally in seven years to achieve net-zero targets by 2050 and 60 percent of these jobs requiring some amount of training, region-wide efforts to train the energy workforce are paramount.

With support from the New York Community Trust, the ETA has been running its second Caribbean fellowship cohort in tandem with the inaugural Nigeria fellowship program launched late last year. The Caribbean summit provides opportunities to visit award-winning project sites and share experiences and best practices for developing utility-scale renewable energy projects. The Summit builds on the fellowship’s online technical training sessions, which focused on project development and management for solar-plus-battery-storage microgrids. The Summit provides direct project experience through highlighting Bermuda’s cutting-edge public fleet electrification strategy and touring the nation’s award-winning solar facilities.

“The energy transition is ultimately a human transition, and the ETA puts people at the center of its approach. Renewable energy deployment and electrification won’t be possible without a skilled workforce,” said Amber Zirnhelt, manager of RMI’s Energy Transition Academy. “In the Global South, leaders need to be at the forefront of designing and implementing solutions, with an equity and gender-inclusive lens central to the process.”

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Technical knowledge and skills are critical for utilities to scale renewable projects. This is a top priority for CARILEC, which coordinates advocacy, training, capacity development, and networking opportunities for the regional utilities. CARILEC has been a key strategic partner for RMI since the fellowship’s inception, ensuring that the program design responds to the training needs of CARILEC member utilities. The ETA’s work supports CARILEC by offering utilities skills and leadership training designed to scale renewable energy development, electrify fleets, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“RMI and CARILEC have shared a close and longstanding partnership and it is always remarkable to see the impressive work which RMI continues to undertake, and the ETA Global Fellowship Program is no exception… As such, CARILEC supports RMI’s initiatives and we look forward to our continued partnership with RMI in promoting the energy transition, capacity building, and gender equity and inclusion in the Caribbean,” said Dr. Cletus Bertin, executive director, CARILEC

The summit also provides the opportunity for community building among fellows and other key stakeholders, fostering collaborative engagement and strengthening global and local partnerships. The fellowship is designed to build community among regional energy leaders and industry partners to create an ecosystem that can support and drive workforce training, which is critical to energy resiliency and climate goals.

“Informed and effective leadership will be a key ingredient in the global clean energy transition,” said Arturo Garcia-Costas, program officer for the Local, National, and International Environment at the New York Community Trust. “This initiative will help provide energy sector leaders across the Caribbean with what they need to navigate the complex challenges and opportunities on the horizon.”

ETA not only focuses on how many jobs can be created but also for whom. Research illustrates that gender-diverse utilities and private sector entities within the energy sector outperform less diverse entities, and as such, gender diversity becomes an important business decision, which also needs to be prioritized in the education system. Some members of ETA’s Women in Renewable Energy (WIRE) Network, comprised of over 600 women from 80 countries, are on the ground for the summit, two of whom are participating in the Mentorship Program geared toward early- to mid-level women professionals seeking guidance and mentorship. Women hold only 32 percent of renewable energy sector jobs and 14 percent of leadership roles in the power sector. Both the fellowship program and WIRE seek to elevate, support, and amplify women and young professionals.

On Thursday, March 30th, Acting Premier and Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban will give closing ceremony remarks ahead of the Director of Energy, Department of Energy, Ministry of Home Affairs, Jeane Nikolai handing over certificates to the fellows.

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