History And Background Of RETC

RETC PROJECT BACKGROUND

Access to electricity is directly correlated to higher economic activity, better access to education, and improved healthcare (UN, Human Development Report 2010). However, according to the 2016 report "Tanzania Energy Access Situation", only 67.5% of the population has access to electricity with the rural areas at just 49.3%. More than 50.7% of the rural population relies only on distributed generators for electricity with some of them not having access to electricity at all.

One of the most economical methods to accelerate the electrification in sub-Saharan countries (Kempener et al., 2015, IRENA), in particular, rural areas, is off-grid solutions based on hybrid renewable systems and grid-connected renewables to support the main grid. Through DIT's ongoing research projects in sustainable energy (Royal-Society-DfID: ACERA and Capacity Building, EPSRC: CRESM-HYRES), and the long-standing collaboration with local industries, NGOs and the government utility, we have identified that the lack of engineering expertise and knowledge in the local workforce is one of the main reasons hindering sustainable energy development (slower adoption of new technologies, higher installation, operation and maintenance costs, etc.).

This project will tackle this problem by establishing the DIT Renewable Energy Technology Centre (RETC). The institute will design and implement a sustainable energy education and capacity building programme that will directly benefit students, academic staff and renewable energy industry at a local and regional level.

The centre will provide graduates with the necessary skills and knowledge to start their own business (SME) or be employed immediately by industry. In the short-term, this will enhance the employability of graduates and reduce the training costs for industry. In the mid-term, the highly trained workforce will gradually help reduce the associated costs of renewables. Finally, in the long-term, it will accelerate the electrification in Tanzania and the region.

 

PROJECT FUNDING

Education for Renewable (E4R): the establishment of Renewable Energy Technology Center Project is Funded by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering under Higher Education Partnership Programm (grant). Reference HEPSSA2\48.

 

HUB INSTITUTE AND PARTNER INSTITUTIONS

This project builds on the platform formed through two grants - Royal Society - DfID Africa Capacity Building Initiative and one Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant, linking Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC), University of Marien Ngouabi (UMN) and University of Leeds (UoL). It brings on board the strong industrial links that DIT has with the local industry REX-Energy and the NGO Tanzania Traditional Energy Development Organization (TaTEDO), experts in renewable energy systems (RES), the utility Tanzania Electrical Supply Company (TANESCO), and the educational institution University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM).

 

HUB INSTITUTE AND UK PARTNER

Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT)  has the vision of becoming the leading provider of high quality engineering education and research within Tanzania and East African Region. Our mission is to provide the development and usage of appropriate technology that meets national, regional and international needs and standards through skills and practical-oriented training, research and consultancy.

DIT was established in 1957. Currently it has 40169 students and 384 academic and supporting staff. DIT offers 23 academic programmes in the fields of maintenance management, computational science and engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, science and laboratory technology, oil and gas engineering, information technology, mining engineering, biomedical equipment engineering, communication system technology, renewable energy technology, multimedia and film technology, biotechnology, and food science and technology.

Technical training at DIT is competency based, characterized by the ability to carry out an occupational activity. In order to achieve this, DIT fosters a so called “teaching factory” approach where technical training is interactively linked to a real-life factory business. This is realized by either establishing a lab-based or a physical factory. (http://www.dit.ac.tz)

University of Leeds (UoL), was established in 1904 and has 33000 students and 8000 academic and support staff. It is ranked in the top 10(UK) and top 100(world), and has a gold ranking on teaching excellence(TEF). School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (SEEE) is ranked 4th for research quality in the UK (REF2014), and scored 97% in student satisfaction (NSS) in 2018. The SEEE offers BEng, MEng, and MSc in Electrical Engineering and Renewable Systems. UoL is in legal agreement with DIT through a Royal-Society and EPSRC grant involving RES that includes staff and student exchange (https://engineering.leeds.ac.uk).

 

SPOKE PARTNERS.

 University of Marien Ngouabi (UMN), Congo Brazzaville, was founded in 1971 and currently has 30000 students and 1000 academic staff. The Electrical Engineering offers undergraduate and graduate programmes. UMN is in legal agreement with DIT through a Royal-Society and EPSRC grants involving RES that includes staff and student exchange (https://www.umng.cg/?q=en/node/15).

Makerere University  was established in 1922 and has 40000 students and 3174 academic and support staff. It's Uganda's largest and third-oldest higher learning institution. The Electrical Engineering offers 5 programmes (undergraduate and graduate). CREEC-Makerere is in legal agreement with DIT through a Royal-Society and EPSRC grant involving RES that includes staff and student (https://cedat.mak.ac.ug/).

University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM)  was established in 1970 and has 20000 students and 2000 academic and support staff. UDSM is one of the oldest institutions in Tanzania and has extensive experience in teaching engineering subjects. The Electrical Engineering offers one undergraduate and 4 postgraduate programmes. UDSM has MOU with DIT on education and research (http://www.coet.udsm.ac.tz/)

Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), established in 1964,is the government-owned utility company with approx. 5000 employees responsible for the secure supply of electricity in Tanzania. TANESCO has MOU with DIT on training and education in the area of power and energy systems (http://www.tanesco.co.tz/)

REX-ENERGY was established in 2000 and is a pioneer company in the area of PV system design, installation, and maintenance. REX-ENERGY has MOU with DIT on training and education in power and energy systems (http://www.rexsolarenergy.com/).

Tanzania Traditional Energy Development Organization (TaTEDO) is a sustainable energy development NGO, established in 1990. TaTEDO has MOU to be agreed upon with DIT on training and education in the area of power and energy (http://www.tatedo.org/).

 

ROLE, CONTRIBUTION AND BENEFITS OF PARTNER INSTITUTIONS.

Three industry partners have been strategically selected, representing prominent stakeholders in Renewable Energy (RE). DIT has a close collaboration with them with a large number of student internships. DIT and UDSM have been involved in developing training courses tailored to the technical requirements of these companies. Through this experience, the needs to revise the curriculum to address gaps and embed the necessary skills as learning outcomes were identified.

TANESCO is responsible for the secure and efficient electricity supply to the grid-connected areas of Tanzania. They have long experience in RE projects (PV installation, wind-solar hybrid, Biogas/gasification). The partner will train academic staff/students during their industrial secondment and internships with the unique view they have on system integration. Also, they will send their staff to the institute to train students.

REX-Energy has experience in PV systems and electrical installations. The company is currently working on a large-scale 50MW solar PV project in Ukerewe Island in Tanzania. They will provide a unique input from an SME with limited resources for training. They will host DIT personnel for training and provide input to the skills required to develop an run an SME. Finally, they will assist in organising a business incubator.

TaTEDO has more than twenty-year experience in RE programmes and has trained more than 800 technicians with a unique focus on stand-alone and mini-grid-based solutions. They have established several professional networks including the Tanzania Renewable Energy Association. They will support the design of training programs; provide feedback on the specific skills required for off-grid solutions, and access to their vast network. They will assist in establishing the proposed RETC, support the mobilisation of funds during the post-project period, and assist in organising a business incubator.

The benefit for the industries will be a reduction in training costs since the learning outcomes and practical experience required by the RE engineers will be embedded in the DIT and partners' curriculum. Also, industrial partners doing secondments at DIT will be exposed to new RE technologies and business management solutions and have the opportunity to upgrade their skills.

In the long term, DIT envisions to become a HUB of knowledge transfer between industries. We expect these companies to remain on an industrial advisory board, and provide constant feedback on the curriculum, based on the graduate uptake. As new RE technologies evolve, the curriculum should change pre-emptively to prepare future engineers.

 

UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS (UoL) has long experience in training and education in the area of Renewable Energy Systems, with several taught programs in Renewable Energy Systems (BEng, MEng, MSc), and a particular focus on the use of new technologies (Smart Grid) to enhance the resiliency and efficiency of power grids. UoL is also a great proponent of research-led teaching, to expose students to recent developments in new technologies and pro-actively adapt the curriculum to tackle future challenges.

In this project UoL will take an advisory and support role, helping to revise the DIT curriculum and make it future- proof with the current development in resilient renewable energy systems

This will be done through bilateral exchange of staff (travelling expenses are already covered by other research projects and would simply extend to cover the educational aspects), ad-hoc bespoke training of DIT staff, access to digital educational material developed at the UoL, feedback on educational material from DIT, access to the laboratory facilities at UoL (the Smart Grid Laboratory at UoL allows for remote access, performing experiments, and analysing results), and access to online MOOC resources (one such course in renewable energy is currently being developed with DIT and two of the spoke partners through an EPSRC­funded project).

UoL has a strong connection with DIT and two of the academic partners (UDSM, CREEC) both on a research level. This connection is enabled through an ongoing Royal-Society DFID-funded project (on capacity building for renewable energy in Africa) and an EPSRC project (on the development of hybrid mini-grids for rural electrification). Through these projects, all four universities have signed legal agreements to facilitate their joint work, and have already completed several exchanges of PhD students and academic staff for training and research, and published jointly in related conferences and journals. These agreements, already in place, can be extended to cover the E4R project.

By building a multifacet collaboration (education and research) DIT and UoL will further strengthen their ties. This will allow for students to continue their higher education at UoL or provide a platform for a continued student exchange system. Moreover, UoL will create links with local industry, government bodies and NGOs, and will promote best practices and novel technologies developed in the UK for resilient renewable energy systems.