Monday, July 9, 2012

The Zayed Future Energy Prize for Renewable Energy and Sustainability

The Zayed Future Energy Prize for renewable energy and sustainability began in 2008 and has been awarded annually to large corporations, individuals, small businesses and non-government organizations that have displayed evident effort in advancing renewable energy and sustainable technologies. The 2013 edition of the Zayed Future Energy Prize for renewable energy and sustainability will for the first time offer a special prize for high schools starting to engage in the sustainability business. Renewable energy prize opens $500,000 award in the high school category.  This new category will award $500,000 to be divided among five regions – the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania.

High schools from around the world can submit a business plan outlining how they would use the prize to raise awareness on the importance of sustainability and to improve their school’s environmental footprint. “Unlike any of our other categories – the High School Prize is about a promise – we ask schools around the world to submit projects for funding consideration,” said Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

Submissions for all categories of the 2013 edition of the Zayed Future Energy Prize close on July 16, 2012. The previous edition of the prize attracted a record 425 applications from 71 countries.

Main awards The prize will have four other main categories. These are “Large Corporation,” “SME,” “NGO” and “Lifetime Achievement.” The Large Corporations category is open to companies with a focus on renewable energy and sustainability. Last year’s winner was Schneider Electric, a France-based specialist in energy management. Schneider Electric works across numerous sectors including renewable energy, water, electricity and green buildings to ensure resource efficiency and sustainability.

Previous editions of the prize combined the S.M.E. and N.G.O. category, but the 2013 edition will separate the two. Prizes of $1.5 million each will be given to the chosen S.M.E. and N.G.O. that will be judged as having made a clear impact, either through disseminating a particular solution or through furthering knowledge, awareness, policy development or technology. Last year’s winner was the Carbon Disclosure Project, a British organization that measures, discloses, manages and shares environmental information. The organization uses market-based tools to solve environmental issues.

The Lifetime Achievement Award, which is also worth $500,000, goes to an individual who has made an exceptional impact on the industry with personal achievements over a prolonged period of involvement. The 2012 edition gave the Lifetime Achievement Award to United States physicist Dr. Ashok Gadgil for his sustainable humanitarian work in Darfur. Dr. Gadgil invented the energy-efficient “Berkeley-Darfur” cooking stove, which reduces need for firewood by 55 percent. He is also well-known for developing “UV Waterworks,” a technology to inexpensively disinfect drinking water in developing countries.

Managed by Masdar, the Zayed Future Energy Prize was created to honor the founding president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who advocated for sustainable development and environmental stewardship.

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James McGregor said...

I think the Zayed awards should be extended to companies which operate at low profit thresholds in order to garner more public interest in renewable energy systems. Here in the UK companies like that are thin on the ground, the jumps in advancement are making companies wary to buy in bulk for fear that their current version of solar panelling might soon fall out of favour and they'll be left with what is now an overpriced product.

Is it so competitive in the US Richard?

The Green Market Oracle said...

Thanks for the comment James. The business environment in the US is very competitive. Global economic volatility is providing substantial headwinds, however, I would counter that although the difficult global economy will be the kiss of death to the weak, it will ensure that the companies that do survive will be strong.

Every technological innovation has a life cycle, companies must assess and mitigate risk. No one wants to get stuck with an outdated technology. Ongoing innovation is the best way to stay afloat.

Although I am a believer in the importance of government support to help renewable energy sectors achieve economies of scale, in the end they must compete in a free and open marketplace.

I am pleased to see that US physicist Dr. Ashok Gadgil was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement award in 2012. I believe this will help to bolster the profile of the Prize in the US.