29 submissions have been chosen as finalists in the 2016 Zayed Future Energy Prize, the eighth annual award ceremony that seeks to recognize and reward individuals, businesses, and high schools that are working toward innovative solutions for a sustainable energy future.
Each year, the Zayed Future Energy Prize awards a single large corporation with a non-monetary recognition award, as well as a total of $4 million in prizes to other winners, including $1.5 million to a small and medium enterprise (SME), $1.5 million to a nonprofit organization (NPO/NGO), a $500,000 award to an individual for lifetime achievement, and $100,000 each to five global high schools (one in each region).
“The Zayed Future Energy Prize represents the vision of the Late Founding Father and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, who championed environmental stewardship. This annual award celebrates achievements that reflect impact, innovation, long-term vision and leadership in renewable energy and sustainability.”
To pick the best of the entries from this year’s 1,437 submissions, the Zayed Future Energy Prize team uses a four-tiered evaluation process, including due diligence from an international research and analysis firm, evaluation from a review committee, a review of the entries by a Selection Committee, and then a separate committee for assessing all high school entries. After that, the finalist entries get forwarded to a Jury, which will meet to decide the winners at the end of the month, and then announce them to the public on January 18th, during the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
This year, the finalists in the Large Corporation category of the Zayed Future Energy Prize are BYD, Iberdrola, and Infosys. In the Small and Medium Enterprise category, the finalists are SMEFunds, Greenlight Planet, and Off.Grid:Electric. For the Nonprofit Organization category, four finalists have been chosen: Kopernik, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, SolarAid, and Rural Services Foundation.
The Global High Schools committee has chosen 14 finalists, with the African schools being Mfantsipim School (Ghana), SOS HG Sheikh Secondary School (Somalia) and Abaarso School of Science and Technology (Somalia). From the Americas, Manuel Picasuti High School (Bolivia), Professional Technical High School Juanacatlán (CONALEP131, Mexico) and Institucion Educativa Gabriel Plazas (Columbia) were picked, and from Asia are Mahindra United World College of India, Royal College (Sri Lanka) and Korea Science Academy of KAIST. The European schools finalists are Belvedere College (Ireland) and Schuelerforschungszentrum Suedwuerttemberg (Germany), and from Oceania, Cashmere High School (New Zealand), Huonville High School (Australia) and Lume Rural Training Center (Vanuatu) were tapped as finalists.
In addition to the prizes given to businesses, nonprofits, and schools, the Zayed Future Energy Prize also bestows a Lifetime Achievement Award on a deserving individual, which was awarded to Al Gore for the 2015 cycle, and which the former US Vice President used to provide funding to the Climate Reality Project’s COP21 climate action campaign.
This year saw a record number of entries for the Prize, with the organization receiving a total of 1,437 submissions and nominations for the 2016 awards, with 549 of those nominations, from 97 countries, coming for the Lifetime Achievement award. The largest share of submissions came from “emerging market nations,” and this year’s event saw Asia contributing 186 entries, Africa putting forth 102 submissions, and Latin America submitting 241, with these regions all experiencing a 50-100% increase in their number of entries for the Prize.
“The extraordinarily large number of submissions from all over the world demonstrates how the prize is now firmly established as the leading international honor for those who are shaping the energy landscape of our times and building a new foundation for the future of energy.” – His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, president of Republic of Iceland and chair of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Jury
For more information about this clean energy innovation prize, which is said to have positively influenced the lives of more than 150 million people in its first seven years, visit the website, Zayed Future Energy Prize, or its companion site, Sustainnovate.
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