APETT Promotes Investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Renewables to Engineer a More Sustainable Future for SIDS

June 5th, 2024

Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago (APETT)
APETT Promotes Investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Renewables to Engineer a More Sustainable Future for SIDS
Honorable Minister, Ms. PENNELOPE BECKLES, Minister of Planning and Development with the APETT President – Eng. Kala Trebouhansingh (lady in brown dress) and the APETT Executive Council.

The Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago (APETT) has outlined an ambitious agenda to boost T&T’s Engineering sector and that of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) through greater investments in artificial intelligence and renewables such as solar and green hydrogen in engineering processes, education, and ethics.

At APETT’s Annual Technical Conference (ATC) 2024 held last week at the Hyatt, Regency in Trinidad, Engineer Kala Trebouhansingh, President of APETT says the organization is dedicated to the development of engineers and the engineering profession against the backdrop of this year’s Conference theme: Engineering Our Future: Green, Equitable, Intelligent, and Integrated. “To achieve our mission, we promote the highest standards of professional practice and stimulate awareness of technology and the role of the engineer in society.”

Trebouhansingh said this can be achieved through effective collaboration with stakeholders, underscoring APETT’s decision to partner with two leading educational institutions and industries to host ATC 2024. The Conference which was organized to reinforce the role of engineers in leading sustainable development in Trinidad and Tobago featured influential engineering experts who provided intellectually challenging and informative papers on the following key areas:

  • Sustainable Development for Small Island Developing States (SIDS),
  • Energy and Energy Related Industries,
  • Resilient, Safe and Inclusive Engineering Infrastructure,
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Digitalization in Manufacturing and Processing
  • Engineering Education and Ethical Practice

Speaking at the Opening Ceremony Featured Speaker, the Honorable Pennelope Beckles, Minister of Planning and Development said SIDs in the Caribbean region must prioritize engineering in sustainability to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, promote renewable energy sources, and foster resilient economies that are less vulnerable to external shocks.

Minister Beckles recommended a multi-faceted approach to engineer a more sustainable future for SIDS, given its unique challenges in achieving sustainability due to their small size, limited resources, and vulnerability to climate change. Some of the recommendations made were centred on developing renewable energy and climate-resilient infrastructure; promoting sustainable agriculture and fisheries; implementing efficient waste management systems which include recycling and composting; investing in education and capacity building; and building collaboration with international partners.

“By combining these strategies, SIDS can work towards a more resilient and sustainable future, ensuring the well-being of both current and future generations,” Minister Beckles said. However, to fully optimize these approaches the Minister recommended having development issues and priorities incorporated into engineering designs in the face of modern reality challenges such as climate change. “Integrating climate risks into engineering designs must be the first order of business in building climate resiliency in all its facets and in all relevant sectors.”

She also recommended the integration of artificial intelligence, AI, and digitalization in manufacturing and processing for SIDs to enhance productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness. “By leveraging AI algorithms, automation, and data analytics, manufacturing agencies can optimize production processes, reduce waste, and improve product quality,” Minister Beckles said. “Digitalization also enables businesses in SIDs to access global markets, engage in e-commerce, and participate in the digital economy, thereby diversifying our economies and creating new opportunities for growth and development. This, therefore, places small island economies in a position to be catalysts in the global economy irrespective of size.”

The two-day ATC 2024 Conference featured 37 presentations and 1 feature discussion with Dr. Hayden Furlonge, GM of Powergen, and Mr. Guillermo Chavez of S&P on the Energy Transition and its impact on SIDs. There were over 175 delegates in attendance over the two days.

The major outcomes reported were as follows:

  • APETT’s image as a professional organization supporting its engineers and local/regional engineering was enhanced by the public and the engineering community.
  • Exposure of cutting edge and relevant research and professional work being done by local and regional engineers.
  • Inspiring the young engineers to be part of their local engineering association.
  • Invitation by the Editor-in-chief of the Professional Engineers Journal to have a Special.
  • More senior members have expressed their desire to assist the Executive Council in promoting and raising APETT’s profile and the work of its engineers in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean region.
  • Delegates were happy with their participation in a “world class” event that was hosted right here in Trinidad & Tobago by its own association.

The Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago (APETT) would like to thank all our esteemed speakers for their expertise and knowledge and our SPONSORS – PowerGen; Danny’s Enterprises Company Limited; NGC; IDB; Ramps Engineering Services Limited Trinrico Steel & Wire Products Limited; Ansa Motors, EIG; Trinidad Lake Asphalt; TTMB; Media 22, and Guardian Media Limited, Freedom 106.5 FM for their support towards hosting ATC 2024.