Adopting renewable energy sources and boosting energy efficiency are strategies for the energy industry to meet rising demand, cut coal imports and improve the country’s social, environmental and economic conditions. However, public awareness regarding renewable energy has remained modest, especially among people living in the rural and mountainous areas and islands where power is limited. Therefore, those communities require special attention to narrow the development gap between them and urban areas.
Participants during the training course for teachers on sustainable energy, carried out at Cư Pui Commune, Krông Bông District, Đắk Lắk Provinc
To promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in general in Viet Nam via building the capacity of social and professional organizations and individuals in the local area, the Green Innovation and Development Centre (GreenID) has carried out the E-Enhance project with a focus on local civil society, professional organizations and individuals. The project is funded by the European Union (EU) using non-refunded ODA capital and will be implemented over four years between August 2017 and August 2021 by GreenID and the Germany Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (UfU) with total value of 685,326 euros. The EU will provide a non-refunded amount of 600,000 euros, and the rest will be funded by GreenID and UfU.
Themed “Sharing and growing towards a green future”, the E-Enhance project focuses on training courses and seminars on renewable energy and energy efficiency; communicating and installing renewable energy and energy efficiency models; and doing activities on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Based on basic and advanced training courses, civil society and professional organizations will learn about new findings in the field and adopt renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The project will also finance local people as they apply the sustainable energy model at their houses and public places. Acknowledging the demand of local people for consistent, affordable power in areas with modest power grids and many poor households, the project has prioritized supporting the local community as they produce their own power in order to meet basic living conditions.
A key task of the project is to promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the school. Therefore, the “Green School” program is designed with two main components: Green energy and green living. In each of the two components, there are many sub-components that are implemented synchronously in following stages: learning material development, school selection, at-school plan implementation and holding educational activities to improve students’ awareness… The “Green school” initiative will be piloted in at least 10 schools in the North before being carried out in other provinces. Teachers and students will not only improve their awareness and actions about renewable energy and energy efficiency but also help the school reduce power costs and develop an environmentally friendly operating model.
Over the last year, GreenID has worked with the Đắk Lắk Department of Industry and Trade to hand over an integrated solar-powered clean water and electricity system to the people of Ea Rớt Ward at Cư Pui Commune, Krông Bông District. The system has installed capacity of 6.24 kilowatts (kW) to 24kW, using solar power panels to provide energy for daily activities and power an on-site Reverse Osmosis drinkable water filter. The system is designed to generate 20 kilowatts per hour (kWh) each day for 20 households to light up their homes and produce 700 - 1.000 litres of clean water each day for the whole ward. The remaining electricity, if unused, will be stored in the battery for local people to use for different purposes such as increasing light at night. When the demand for power increases, the system capacity can be adjusted to meet that demand. This is the first model that has integrated clean water filtration and power generation for the local area. It has opened a new direction for local authorities to resolve two essential matters of ethnic minority people in the Central Highlands region and drive them towards sustainable development.
A group of students make a presentation on their idea of solar power panels during the launching ceremony of the Green School program
In addition, GreenID successfully launched an exhibition, and at the same time a gameshow, at the Lý Thái Tổ Statue, Hoàn Kiếm Lake, Hà Nội City, which was a part of the event “The European Village”. The exhibition attracted nearly 200 visitors, including 80 who competed in the Green Challenge, and more than 100 children and young people that jointly drew two pictures with total length of 14 metres themed “Green energy - Clean atmosphere”. GreenID also organized a training course on renewable energy and energy efficiency for more than 35 local officials coming from the provinces of the Central and Central Highlands regions; two advanced teacher training courses on renewable energy and energy efficiency for 26 trainees coming from 12 cities and provinces across the country. These training courses focused on sustainable energy and solutions to promote the public’s broad practice of renewable energy and energy efficiency. More especially, the launch of the “Green Star Club” and the programs “Learning about air pollution” and “Starting green school” were carried out at Đoàn Thị Điểm lower and upper secondary schools in Hà Nội. In each program, the students were provided with knowledge and understanding about air pollution and energy saving. They also participated in highly interactive games to develop their critical thinking. The programs were carried out to raise awareness among Hà Nội’s students and motivate them to acknowledge the meaning of sustainable energy, and help them protect the health of themselves and of their families from air pollution. When implemented, the programs were designed to help students maximize their participation and exchange their opinions with specialists and teachers.
It is hoped that the early results of the project will help raise awareness about using sustainable energy sources for the community, thus further developing the renewable energy sector, achieving green economic growth, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making the country more sustainable.
Nguyễn Thu Ha
Green Innovation and Development Centre
(This article was puplished on the Environment Magazine, Enghish III/2018)