Ilocos Norte university offers master's degree on renewable energy engineering
Ariel Paolo Tejada ( - August 19, 2016 - 1:21pm

BATAC CITY, Philippines - Engineers who would like to venture in renewable energy industry may want to consider enrolling in the Professional Science Master's in Renewable Energy Engineering (PSM-REE) program recently launched at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac City, Ilocos Norte.

A first in Southeast Asia, the program was established with the support of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Energy Development Corporation (EDC).

Dr. Prima Fe Franco, MMSU officer-in-charge, said the two-year program will provide advanced professional training and managerial capability building for industry and academic personnel.

Those who will graduate in the program are expected to spearhead researches, programs, and projects that harness the development of alternative energy for national self-sufficiency, self-reliance and self-sustainability, Franco added.

The program is open to all licensed engineers in any field.

Human capital development 

With the continuing worldwide effort of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a lot of renewable energy professionals will be in demand in the next few years.

This what makes the PSM-REE program very relevant according to Davidson Torres, chief legislative staff of Sen. Miguel Zubiri - considered as the country's father of renewable energy.

"As we move from fossil-based energy sector towards a renewable energy sector, we need more professionals, scientists, and engineers on renewable energy," he said.

Although renewable energy is regarded as one of the most expensive energy sources, the key to bringing down the cost is technology that can be developed by human resources like renewable energy professional, Torres said.

Dr. Susan Brems, USAID mission director for the Philippines, Pacific Islands and Mongolia, said the launching of the PSM-REE program is a significant achievement that supports the goal of the United States (US) to propel the Philippines to sustain broad-based and inclusive economic growth and development.

As a result of a bilateral agreement called "Partnership for Growth" between the US and the Philippines signed in 2011 by former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, USAID helps in addressing some constraints that will help the Philippines become one of the leaders in Southeast Asia, according to Brems.

"One of those constraints that was identified is human capital," she said.

USAID, through its Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) project supports the enhancement of tertiary programs in Philippine higher education institutions, primarily through the offering of Professional Science Master programs, with participation from private and public sector, on the basis of industry needs and market research.

Ilocos Norte is considered to be the renewable energy capital in Southeast Asia with the presence of wind and solar farms as well as a mini-hydro power plant located in Pagudpud town. 

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