Author: Xavier Farrell
Country: Montserrat

I am a final year student undertaking an Electrical Engineering Diploma at the University of Technology in Jamaica. After returning to Montserrat from Jamaica, I was nominated by my employer – the only power provider on the island – for the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) internship programme. I had not heard of the organisation previously so, I proceeded to read the email on the task at hand and I was immediately intrigued.  As I looked through the data sheet, I saw so many things that looked familiar to me especially after taking a class called Energy Conservation during the semester.  I was ready to accept the challenge just to see what else I could learn while doing the internship.

I started drafting my motivational letter to support the application.  I was anticipating being selected to be part of what seemed to be a very interesting project. I thought this would allow me to put what I have been learning and my knowledge in the field of study to work.

I submitted my application and waited for that call or email.  The response finally came a few days later, and I was informed of an interview. I was anxious, nervous and uncertain all at the same time; because I was not sure what kind of questions I would be asked. I however, geared myself up for the challenge.  Interview day and I was able to put a face to emails from CCREEE, Mr Gerald Lindo and Ms Cherri-Ann Farquharson.  It was a very comprehensive interview, although nervous at first, I thought I did well and tried to be positive as I waited on the approval.

The uncertainty of university resuming after break and, having to head back to Jamaica was fast approaching.   I had to accept having to leave home earlier than usual to allow for 14 days quarantine prior to the start of school. Although I was not sure if I was selected, I started to make contacts based on the information received in the initial email. I was not contacted the following week so I thought I might not have gotten the position but to my surprise I was actually selected.

Montserrat, though with a small population size has advanced in terms of energy, some successful and some not so much.  Since there is an active volcano on the island the UK government has made efforts to provide some funds to allow for drilling wells to create a geothermal plant on island which could reach up to 3.5MW.  This would give the island a high probability to share energy with neighbouring islands as it would meet more than our daily requirement of a little over 2MW.   At the power station there is currently an installed 0.28 MW solar system as a first stage to energy and cost reductions. There is an estimated 0.8 MW of panels currently at the station waiting to be installed to the system which should have started but estimated to start later in the year.

While being in Jamaica I’ve done a level one ETA Photovoltaic Installer certification and, I plan to pursue the level 2 certification when it is offered.  My knowledge in the field of electricals and renewable energy aligns well with the CCREEE internship.