x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Record entries for Zayed Future Energy Prize

The Zayed Future Energy Prize, which recognises leaders in clean-energy innovation, saw the number of contestants rise by 180 per cent over the previous competition.

A record number of participants have signed up for this year's Zayed Future Energy Prize, organisers announced yesterday.

The award, which commemorates Sheikh Zayed, the founding President of the UAE, recognises international leaders for their clean-energy innovation.

A total of 425 individuals, businesses and organisations are running for the accolades this year.

The number of entries is more than twice the number of those who competed in 2009, when the initiative was announced. At that time, there were 150 participants.

Most entries are in the fields of energy efficiency and technologies that reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. The prize also recognises solutions and technologies in sectors such as solar and wind power; energy-efficient building design; smart grids that efficiently deliver electricity; biofuels and sustainable waste management. Participants are from 71 countries.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the director general of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and the chief executive of the clean-energy company Masdar, said the increase in participants this year was a "reflection of the continued maturity and confidence of the renewable-energy sector".

"I am looking forward to sharing the successes of the innovators and their entrepreneurial spirit with the world," he said.

In May, the organisers announced that they would nearly double the total prize money to US$4 million (Dh14.7m). The top prize remains $1.5m, while the award for the first runner-up was boosted to $1m and second runner-up to $500,000. Both were previously $350,000.

Eligible participants include clean-energy advocates, scientists and inventors, as well as small and medium-sized private enterprises and non-governmental organisations. The award also recognises corporations at the forefront of clean energy research, but those winners receive no cash rewards.

There are also two categories for lifetime achievements and for international high schools that adopt green programmes. Winners in both entries will be awarded $500,000.

The panel is chaired by Dr Rajendra Pachauri, who is also the chairman of the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The submissions will be judged based on four main criteria: their effect, long-term vision, leadership and innovation.

Thirty-seven per cent of all entries this year are from developing countries such as India, Egypt, China, Iran, Pakistan, Jordan, Nigeria, Mexico and Brazil.

"Today, the developing markets are a key driver in the renewable energy sector," Dr Al Jaber said.

The winners and runners-up will be honoured in a ceremony in Abu Dhabi on January 17, 2012. Last year's winner was Vestas, a Danish maker of wind turbines.

The runners-up were E+Co, a company that invests in small, clean-energy enterprises in developing countries, and Amory Lovins, the chairman and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado, who is known for his work on energy-efficient buildings, vehicles and factories.

vtodorova@thenational.ae