Arizona has been digging out from under its economy woes in recent years with some major solar projects. Can the state make the transition to a clean economy–and lead the way for solar worldwide? A new agreement between Arizona State University (ASU) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is set to pave the way.
Under the agreement, ASU will receive a $10-million in two grants to lead a consortium of higher education institutions and service providers offering clean tech vocational ed to develop and implement renewable energy programs worldwide. The first, $3 million grant will allow the university to build and develop this program, while the second, providing up to $7 million in funding, will focus on renewable energy projects for specific countries. These projects will be developed under USAID’s Vocational Training & Education for Clean Energy (VOCTEC) umbrella.
“The project will help to create curricula around the operation and maintenance of decentralized clean energy technologies,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation (where the program will be centered) in a statement. In conjunction with its consortium partners Appalachian State University and Green Empowerment–responsible for training in wind energy and micro-hydro, respectively–ASU will focus on delivering training in solar and micro-grid technologies.
R.F. “Rick” Shangraw, ASU’s senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development, highlighted the agreement as presenting an opportunity for ASU to develop networks in targeted countries in the developing world, and to establish relationships with private and governmental sectors making clean energy investments worldwide.