ABU DHABI // A jury of international experts yesterday decided on the recipients of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
The names of the winning individuals and organisations - who will receive a total of US$4 million (Dh14.7m) - will be announced on January 15, to coincide with Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
The recipients represent "a wide selection both globally and in terms of their impact", according to Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, the president of the Republic of Iceland and chairman of the jury.
"In the top seats, you have [representatives from] countries as different in size as the United States and Switzerland," he said.
But all of the winners share one thing in common, he added, "a profound contribution to making the world a better place".
The award aims to recognise organisations, scientists and advocates working in the fields of energy efficiency and other technologies that reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, such as solar and wind power, energy-efficient building design, smart grids and biofuels.
"The Zayed Future Energy Prize is different from other prizes in the world because its mission is to change the world," Mr Grimsson said. "The only way [to avoid] a monumental disaster with climate change this century is to transform our energy sector."
Now in its fifth year, the award recognises small and medium enterprises in the renewable energy sector, as well as non-governmental organisations, each being given $1.5m.
The jury also awarded $500,000 to commemorate a person with a lifetime achievement in the field.
Large corporations in the sector are acknowledged, although they are not given a monetary award.
For the first time, five schools - in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania - will be given $100,000 each to commemorate their contributions.
The winners were selected from 579 applications from 88 countries. Members of the jury included Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, the chairman of Masdar, Adnan Amin, director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, influential politicians, a renowned educational administrator and the Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who was not in the capital yesterday.
Former prize winners include the Toyota Corporation, maker of the Prius hybrid car, Grameen Bank from Bangladesh and the Danish wind turbine maker, Vestas.