Besides offering several courses and conducting research in various aspects of renewable energy, The University of the South Pacific has been resolute in supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 which is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
The Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2022 highly ranked USP on its contribution toward SDGs achievements.
USP submitted data for the following SDGs in November 2021 for the 2022 rankings: SDG17: Partnership for the Goals; SDG 4: Quality Education; SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy; SDG 13: Climate Action; SDG 14: Life Below Water and SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
The results revealed USP’s overall score of 70 out of 100 and an Overall Rank of 401-600 out of 1406 institutions.
Regarding SDG 7, the University was among the first to establish a grid-connected PV system in Fiji and has assisted remote communities in improving their livelihoods by using renewable energy.
USP, in a joint project with the Korean International Co-operation Agency (KOICA), produced a 45-kilowatt grid-connected Photovoltaic (PV) system, a full-fledged contributor to the Energy Fiji Limited grid.
It is located at the University’s Marine Campus in Suva and the project is one of the largest in Fiji.
The PV electricity generated from the system is first supplied to the Marine Campus and any excess power is exported to the FEA grid.
In addition, the University has developed training programmes for regional grid-connected PV installers and designers to help sustain the renewable energy sector in the region.
It also contributed through community outreach for energy efficiency in local communities. It assisted start-ups that foster and support low-carbon technology and other innovative measures implemented to encourage an energy-efficient university.
“Our community projects include solar water pumping for remote schools and solar-powered refrigeration for fishing communities,” says USP’s Associate Professor of Engineering and Physics, Dr Atul Raturi.
“Our staff have been actively involved in supporting national and regional policy development in the area of renewable energy. Some examples include Fiji’s Low Carbon Development Strategy report, National Communications to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Framework for Energy Security and Resilience in the Pacific. National and regional capacity development has also been one of our main activities.
USP staff have represented the Pacific region in various regional and international forums dealing with SDG 7,” he added.
For the University, Professor Raturi attested that sustainable development of the Pacific region was “the thread that runs through all the things we do and research”.
“As Pacific Island countries plan to fulfil their Nationally Determined Commitments, renewable energy development will be critical and USP is well poised to provide support and advice to member countries while building regional human capacity,” Dr Raturi said.
Dr Raturi went on to say that USP was proud to have carried out several community projects where solar energy was used to provide clean water and refrigeration services.
“USP, as a Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific agency and regional higher education provider, has the mandate and responsibility to conduct relevant research and produce innovative ideas to help build an energy secure and resilient Pacific region,” he said.
“The THE Impact Rankings proves that the University has been doing that and beyond,” Dr Raturi added.