MBA Renewables: A much-awaited online degree program!

Yes, you are reading it correctly! I am happy to find out that a university in Berlin, Germany, is now offering an online graduate program with focus on renewable energy. I have been waiting for this for the longest time now!

MBA Renewables: A much-awaited degree program!

The course is called Master in Business Administration (MBA) Renewables, and is offered by the Institute for Distance Learning of the Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin (BUASB) in cooperation with the university’s Department of Business Administration and Social Sciences and the Renewables Academy AG (RENAC). The first run of the program will begin in October 2011. The course is spread over five terms (semesters) or 30 months. What makes this program unique is that it is the first-ever and only distance learning (online) MBA program with focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

This is very ideal for working professionals who have limited flexibility in terms of time and mobility. The Beuth University and RENAC are also known for their cutting-edge approaches in training environmental and energy students and professionals.

Personally, I preferred enrolling again in my alma mater, the University of the Philippines. In fact, I have already been admitted to the UP Open University’s Master in Environmental and Natural Resources Management (MENRM). However, I was recently told–with all due respect, albeit the one year of waiting for a reply–that it takes a long time to develop and then approve a new track (I requested for a customized track on climate change and renewable energy). The UPOU’s MENRM is still a good option for those wanting to concentrate in coastal and upland resources management but MBA Renewables may be a better program for those who are really keen on and passionate about more environmentally-friendly energy sourcing. It may also be another course offering that UPOU may want to consider in the future particularly that the Berlin program–while comprehensive and timely–may be considered quite expensive by students from countries such as the Philippines.

My interest in renewable energy is deeply-rooted because I have grown up vacationing in Aurora (my Mom’s hometown) where many barangays were not yet connected to the electricity grid back when I was still in high school and college. While many barangays there now are electrified, many lands/farms are still far from the main grid. More importantly, I have always believed that the renewable path is the way to go!

We already know that the over-dependence on fossil fuels is the main culprit for greenhouse gases emissions in the atmosphere. For centuries now, economies are greatly-dependent on fossil fuels and related sources. Just in the year 2001, the world depended on oil and coal for roughly 58.4% of its energy requirements while only 13.5% were sourced from renewable energies.

Just in our own backyard, we have experienced a very destructive flood brought by Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) last 2009. More than 1.8 million people were said to be affected. The damage to crops and properties was pegged at more than 5 billion pesos (roughly 107 million US dollars). Obviously, the issue on climate change has to be addressed more seriously. Greater and more destructive floods can happen in the near future.

As such, countries should focus more on climate-related solutions such as carbon management and more use of renewable energy. Environmental and social development professionals should continuously pass on the word and nurture future leaders.  They should also be actively engaged in advocacy and policy work for a more serious shift on energy sourcing.

The Bangui Wind Mills in Ilocos Norte, Philippines. I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for this project! (Photo credits: philippinebeaches.org)

In the Philippines, we have already enacted the Republic Act 9513 or An Act Promoting the Development, Utilization, and Commercialization of Renewable Energy Sources and for Other Purposes–but we need to do more in improving the markets. The role of the market cannot be over-emphasized. Issues such as on trading, financing and investments, transmission and grid connections, market regulatory policies, and pricing should be resolved, and soon.

Education and training programs like MBA Renewables is a step in the right direction.

Kudos and many thanks to those who developed the Program! Special thanks also goes to Ms. Silja Kroesche, Program Coordinator, for her patience in answering my emails! 

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