Abu Dhabi: The winners of the $4 million (Dh14.7 million) Zayed Future Energy Prize for 2014 were announced in a ceremony held at the Emirates Palace on Monday.
The awards, now in their sixth year, honoured nine winners for their outstanding achievements and excellence in advancing renewable energy and sustainability worldwide. The winners, across five categories, are ABB, Abellon CleanEnergy, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, battery pioneer Wang Chuanfu and five high schools from around the world.
“The award will continue to motivate all of us at BYD to continue to develop the innovative technologies this world so urgently needs. I want to stress that the award is not only for me, but also for the 180,000 BYD employees, as well as for all the people committed to making our world more sustainable. What I am, is merely a symbol of the award.”
“In addressing the challenges of energy generation, energy storage and the deployment of energy efficient environmentally-friendly solutions, BYD has developed solar farms, energy storage stations and various kinds of hybrid electric-powered vehicles. All of these products come together to form a zero emission, non-polluting ‘Green City Total Solution.”
“Winning the Prize is a key enabler to help reinforce our efforts to pioneer, introduce and rapidly advance best-in-class technology solutions in renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology areas. The Prize will help accelerate momentum and cascade a positive impact on customers, governments and major stakeholders in shaping a sustainable energy future.”
“We would like to thank the Prize’s management for inspiring us to continue our mission, to follow in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, and to help leave behind a more sustainable world for our children.”
“Sustainability is the key to survival of our species on this beautiful planet. We will have to learn to live in a sustainable way in all aspects, from the use of land and water to our mineral resources and energy. The sun can provide us with all the energy we humans need — and together with wind, water, biomass and geothermal energy, today’s technology allows us to build a stable and sustainable energy supply.”
The Global High Schools Prize category — in its second year — was launched to recognise and encourage young people to incorporate renewable energy and sustainability into their schools. Five schools from five continents were each awarded $100,000 for their proposed sustainability projects.
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of the Republic of Iceland and chairman of the prize, said, “The prize carries the challenging vision that there is indeed an alternative way, that following the vision of Shaikh Zayed, we can together make the future safe for our cities, our nations, our children.
“Although the prize is still young, it has already galvanised a broad community of innovators and entrepreneurs, farmers and industrialists, visionaries and activists, scientists and students, corporations and idealists, rich and poor, young and old.”
The Americas: New York-based Bronx Design & Construction Academy was selected for its energy environment research centre — an initiative to generate on-site renewable energy from wind and solar power.
Europe: Gheorghe Rosca Codreanu National College in Romania was selected for its proposal to reduce the school’s electricity demand 100 by per cent using LED lighting and solar panels, as well as conduct sustainability seminars for the local community.
Africa: In Malawi, the Nkhata Bay School Authority, was rewarded for its proposal to create a solar demonstration and training centre — a program that will promote the use of solar power in one of the least electrified countries in Southern Africa.
Asia: Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya — based in the southern Indian state of Karnataka — was selected for its student-led project to incorporate energy efficiency, solar technology and biogas, as well as other energy programs, to electrify the homes of deserving, underprivileged students.
Oceania: The Tonga High School was selected for its project to install solar panels and energy-efficiency measures that will power up to 100 per cent of the school’s electricity requirements.
The primary aim of the high school category is to inspire future generations across the globe by instilling an ethos of sustainability from an early age, including an appreciation of issues in energy, and broader sustainability.
The high school category does not focus on past activities of the school. Instead, each school submits a detailed proposal for a project, and the prize becomes a grant that enables the project’s completion. While the main objective is to promote sustainability in schools, special emphasis of the proposed project should be on energy measures or projects that the school would undertake, which would directly result in measurable energy reduction or efficiency through a sustainable and innovative means.
Each regional winner is allocated up to $100,000, with the final prize amounts decided based on financial information submitted in the project proposals.
Pupils at the academy came up with an initiative to build an energy environment research centre to generate on-site renewable energy from wind and solar power. Science teacher and Green Roof director Nathaniel Wight said, “It’s a huge honour to be the recipient of this prestigious Zayed Future Energy Prize. We’re just grateful, and thankful, and really shocked, to be honest. We’re going to install a power tower; it’s a wind turbine and a solar ray. What that does is that it gives us a 24-hour energy generating profile so we have the wind during the evening and solar energy during the day.
“The research centre will be a part of the community. It’s going to be a learning centre not only for our students, but the community as a whole. And what that does is that it allows our future energy leaders of tomorrow to implement sustainable solutions to address the local, national, and international environment issues.”
Pupils proposed to reduce the school’s electricity demand by a 100 per cent using LED lighting and solar panels. They also plan to conduct sustainability seminars for the local community.
Head of the Foreign Languages Department, Nicoleta Croitoru said, “We’re very proud and very honoured to win the prize but it’s also a huge responsibility. This shows that we’re accepted to be part of an inspiring vision, and the students have become more motivated to take on more projects.
“With the prize money, we are going to install solar panels and LED lights to reduce carbon footprint. With the money we save from energy bills, we are going to insulate the building to become more environmentally friendly. The project will make the environment cleaner, but the strongest impact we hope to have is on the community. We hope that they will try to do the same to reduce energy and find ways to deal with waste, so we really hope to set a trend.”
Pupils led a project to incorporate energy efficiency, solar technology, and biogas to provide electricity to the homes of the underprivileged pupils.
President of the Managing Committee, Arun Bellary said, “It’s extremely exciting to win. We were finalists last year. This goes a long way for our school because it’s a school for the poorest people. We telephoned and told the kids that we won and there was a big celebration and it seems they didn’t sleep all night.
We plan to do two projects with the prize money. One is using the solar system. We have already set up some but with this money, we’ll make the whole school 100 per cent solar energy efficient. We plan to remove our school from the electric grid, so we’ll be completely self-sufficient. With the remaining money, we will do the biogas plant by which we can get gas to cook food.”
As for the environmental impact of the project, Bellary said that families will switch from cutting down wood to using biogas for domestic heating purposes. Pupils will also be able to replace their kerosene lamps with energy efficient light bulbs.
The school’s proposal is to create a program that will promote the use of solar power in the country.
Zone Education Advisor at the Authority, Elsen Kisty Mwase said, “We’re more than excited to win the award, and we’re just really happy. With the prize money, we are going to open a school to train students on how to make solar panels, and how to install and repair them. Our project will allow the whole community to access solar energy, so if you carry that and pass it from one generation to another, this will result in sustainability.”
The school’s project involves installing solar panels and energy efficient measures that will power up to a 100 per cent of the school’s electricity requirements.
School Principal, Amelia Folaumahina said, “When I heard that we won, I was speechless, spellbound, and just overwhelmed. The fact that we’re recognised by such a prestigious country, and also because of the founding father, that blew us over. [The prize] has empowered us really to go back to work harder. The fact that we’re a winner will be like a catalyst and will set the ball rolling for [Tonga].
But with great privilege comes great responsibility. What we’re going to do with the prize money is that we’ll install solar systems to generate electricity for the whole school. It’s going to be a very big venture for us because [Tonga] is dependent very much on electricity. We’ll be the first in the South Pacific region to have a school that is generated by solar panels so that’s really exciting for us.