Certified distant-learning programme on sustainable energy for West African experts of utilities, regulators and IPPs

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. Courses will be held exclusively in english.


Successful students will receive a Columbia University 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, 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 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

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 a 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. A recent certificate of TOEFL, GRE or equivalent tests with high scores is an added value (please attach a copy).

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 letters 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.

  • Professional oral and writing skills in English. Candidates selected for an interview will be tested for their oral and writing skills.

Online application will begin on August 1 at: http://www.cvn.columbia.edu/ecreee/

Applicants who meet the required criterion are encouraged to start gathering application materials

Application Deadline: November 1 2013

ECREEE-UNIDO Contact: Jansenio Delgado, Martin Lugmayr, se4alltraining@ecreee.org