The Zayed Future Energy Prize announced that it will open submissions for the 2013 edition of the awards on March 5th. The Prize will invite entries from companies, individuals, organizations and high schools prior to the deadline to submit – July 16, 2012, for a chance to win part of the US$4 million prize fund.
The scope of the Prize has also been broadened to include five distinct categories: Large Corporations, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Lifetime Achievement, and the newly instituted Global High School Prize.
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, explained: “Under the wise and visionary leadership of the UAE – The Zayed Future Energy Prize has always been an agile, dynamic and engaging prize that readily adapts to the changing landscape of renewable energy and sustainability. The Zayed Future Energy Prize aims to inspire global energy innovators who create solutions that meet the energy challenges of our time. As such, we have been diligent in ensuring that with every year, the Zayed Future Energy Prize evolves to meet the current requirements.
“We decided to open submissions earlier this year in order to guarantee equal opportunity for countries on the opposite side of the equator. It was important for us, from inception, that the prize benefits a global audience.” The decision to reformat the Prize was taken at a workshop hosted on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit on January 18 that engaged past winners and finalists, committee members as well as jury panelists and other relevant stakeholders. The session drew upon their perspectives to enhance the impact of the Prize and sustain its relevance to emerging industry trends.
“It was very important for us to engage with our stakeholders who have been generous with their time and efforts towards ensuring that the Zayed Future Energy Prize is fast becoming the pre-eminent platform for innovators from around the world.” He added: “Nurturing and developing young minds at an early age and encouraging them to innovate lies at the core of the heart of our wise leadership.” The decision, during the workshop to segregate the award categories for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) was seen as a crucial step to widen the Prize’s appeal to a larger pool of applicants in the future.
The workshop additionally examined the format of the Global High School Prize and split the total prize fund of US$500,000 for this category into five parts. According to this decision, winning schools in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Europe will be awarded up to US$100,000 each.
High schools from around the world will be requested to submit a business case for how they plan on utilizing the prize for the purpose of raising awareness on the importance of sustainability and improving the school’s environmental footprint.
The Global High School Prize is also a UAE commitment to the UN Secretary General’s Year of Sustainable Energy for All, which was launched from Abu Dhabi on January 16th on the opening day of WFES.
High schools are asked to submit projects based on one or more of the three pillars of the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative that include Energy Access, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
The growth of the Prize’s knowledge-base, known as the ‘Innovators Hub’, comprising top-performing candidates from the past editions of the Prize was also highlighted during the workshop.
For the 2012 edition, the prize attracted a record 425 applications from 71 countries and was held on January 17 2012. The Prize recognized Schneider Electric in the Large Corporations category, whilst the prize total of US$3.5 million was awarded to Professor Ashok Gadgil in the prestigious Lifetime Achievement category (US$500,000) and the Carbon Development Project (US$1.5 million) as the winner in the SME ’&’ NGO category. The first runner-up for the SME/NGO category, Orb Energy was awarded US$1 million, while the second runner-up, the Environmental Defense Fund was awarded US$500,000.
The Zayed Future Energy Prize celebrates achievements that reflect innovation, impact, long-term vision and leadership in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability. The Prize is awarded annually to companies, individuals, organizations and recently high schools that have made significant contributions to the future of energy and sustainability around the world.
The winners of the Prize are chosen according to a stringent four-stage selection process. The first stage involves an independent research and analysis firm conducting all necessary due diligence of each candidate’s application. During the second stage, a Review Committee evaluates each candidate and shortlists entries in each award category using a scoring matrix based on the Prize’s four criteria. In the third stage, a Selection Committee comprising leading experts in the field of renewable energy and sustainability evaluates the shortlisted entries. Submissions that have scored the highest make it to the fourth and final round, where an elite jury comprised of various heads of state, leading academics, energy experts and world renowned personalities with a keen interest in sustainability, reviews and selects the winners and runners up in each award category.