The project, carried out within the framework of Objective 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, aims to promote access to safe, clean and affordable energy. This is decisive in reducing poverty, aiding access to basic services (health and education) and promoting economic growth in two countries traditionally burdened by their dependence on imports of energy sources and the scarce implementation of renewable energies technology.
In Cuba, although 96% of the population has access to electricity, in rural areas, only 81% has it , and this figure is even lower in more remote mountainous regions. Furthermore, 90% of the electricity produced comes from imported fossil fuels and only 5% comes from clean energies (hydroelectric, wind, photovoltaic and biomass). Electricity coverage in Haiti, meanwhile, is the lowest in Latin America and the Caribbean, at 36%. Almost seven million people there do not have access to electricity.
RENet, the Renewable Energies Education Network, is structured as a triangular cooperation network around several lines of work. One is the creation of a post-graduate degree in renewable energies and theoretical and practical education through courses, workshops and exchanges of researchers between member universities. Another is the provision of infrastructures necessary for this education (renewable energies classrooms, research and alternative technologies units). The last one is the creation of academic and research networks in conjunction with civil society, with sufficient forward projection to guarantee RENet's sustainability, expandability and visibility in the coming years.
Seventy percent of objectives achieved
After almost four years of work, the members have completed 70% of the objectives initially proposed, as was explained at the last meeting of the program members in June in Port-au-Prince (Haiti). The UC3M delegation consisted of Matilde Sánchez, the Vice-Rector of International Relations and Cooperation; Silvia Gallart, the Director of the International Relations and Cooperation Service; Jorge Martínez Crespo, the Director of the RENet project; and team members Agapito Ledezma and Henar Cuadrado.
Eloísa Astudillo, the representative of the project's main financing entity and head of local development for the EU in Haiti, highlighted the direction of European cooperation policies regarding the Sustainable Development Goals and considers access to clean and affordable energy a key point for guaranteeing sustainable development.
In addition to the UC3M, other institutions of higher education have participated in RENet, like the Université d'État d'Haïti (UEH), and the Universidad de Oriente (UO) and the Higher Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Moa (ISMMM), both in Cuba. Also, social organizations such as Energy Without Borders, Cubasolar and the Italian Agenzia per la Promozione de le Recerca Europea have taken part.
Further information: http://renetedulink.