x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Jury's back in Zayed energy prize

The names of five winners will be announced at a ceremony in January.

ABU DHABI // The winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize have been chosen after months of deliberation.

The five winners, whose names will be revealed at a ceremony next month, were chosen for their achievements in the field of renewable energy.

Nominees were judged on their innovation, long-term vision and leadership.

More than 400 proposals from 71 countries were submitted for consideration. The inaugural event in 2009 received less than half of that number.

Individuals, small organisations and corporations were among this year's entrants.

Four of the five winners will share total prize money of US$3.5 million (Dh12.8m), which is nearly double the amount awarded last year.

While the financial gain will benefit the work of some winners, there are more important things to consider, said Olafur Grimsson, the president of Iceland and chairman of this year's jury.

"Although the financial dimension of the prize is outstanding, the core of the prize is not the money," Mr Grimsson said. "The core is the achievement of the winners."

Last year's top prize of $1.5m was won by Vestas, a Danish wind-turbine company. Proposals this year included new ways of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and sustainable waste management.

"The proposals reflected the great variety and the many dimensions of the clean-energy field," Mr Grimsson said.

The winner will again receive $1.5m, with the second and third place winners receiving $1m and $500,000 respectively.

The winner of the lifetime achievement award will take home $500,000.

Large corporations will be recognised for their green-energy achievements but will not win cash prizes.

An award for international high schools that implement green energy programmes will be introduced in time for the next year's competition.

Five of nine jurors were in Abu Dhabi to make the final decision, reducing a shortlist of 33 nominees chosen in October. The actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio was also a jury member.

Mohamed Nasheed, the president of the Maldives, said the awards ceremony would give green-energy innovators international recognition.

"The gravity of the decisions made today could have impacts and resonance throughout climate-change issues, and therefore the most important global issues that we face today," Mr Nasheed said.

zalhassani@thenational.ae