ABU DHABI // The world's largest wind-turbine maker last night won the $1.5million (Dh5.5m) Zayed Future Energy Prize award - then gave half the cash to the other finalists.
Vestas Wind Systems donated the money to help to launch a product label that will tell consumers which goods have been made using wind power.
The Danish company was chosen from six finalists. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, presented the awards last night as the World Future Energy Summit took place in the capital.
Earlier Sheikh Mohammed met the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and pledged continued UAE efforts to find alternative solutions to energy issues.
Mr Ban also met Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The meeting came on the second day of the summit, which has attracted a host of distinguished heads of state, government ministers and green technology specialists to discuss alternative energy solutions.
The Emirates was also praised by Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, for its commitment to minimising its contribution to climate change.Ms Figueres said the efforts could serve as a model for the Gulf and that initiatives such as the clean-energy Masdar city made the UAE "stand out" among other oil producers.
After the announcement of the Zayed Award winner, the Vestas chief executive Detlev Engel announced that the company would donate the proceeds to the three finalists that did not receive awards: the Barefoot College in India, the country's only institution that runs on solar power; US-based First Solar, one of the fastest-growing solar panel manufacturers in the world; and Terry Tamminen, a California policy- maker who has encouraged green energy.
Amory Lovins, chairman and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado, and E+Co, an American investment organisation that supports clean energy companies in the developing world, also received runner-up prizes of $350,000 each for work in renewable energy and sustainability.
The prize explained:
The Zayed Future Energy Prize was founded in 2008 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, in honour of his father and founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed. The $2.2 million (Dh8m) in prize money is awarded to individuals, companies and non-governmental organisations that demonstrate innovation and leadership in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability. This year’s jury was led by Dr RK Pachauri, the 2007 Nobel Peace laureate. His colleagues on the jury were Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson, the president of Iceland; Khaled Irani, a former minister of energy and mineral resources in Jordan; and Ali al Sayegh, the chairman of Masdar.
* Erin Conroy