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Leaders at World Future Energy Summit

By Wam

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and  General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Monday attended the opening of the eighth annual session of the World Future Energy Summit, as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, in the presence of Egyptian President, Abdul Fattah El Sisi.

The opening of the summit was also attended by a number of presidents and representatives of a number of sisterly and friendly countries, a host of leading personalities, experts and scholars, and those with interest in the energy sector from around the world.

Mohammed bin Rashid, Gen. Mohamed and El Sisi honour Zayed Future Energy Prize 2015 winners

General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday confirmed that under the leadership the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE has become a centre of gravity for the encouragement and incubation of innovation for those who seek to find solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed made his remarks during the seventh Zayed Future Energy Prize awards ceremony, part of the current Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2015.

During the ceremony, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El Sisi honoured the winners of the prize.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed also emphasised the importance of moving forward in the modernisation and  development efforts with a commitment to the principles of sustainable development – noting the importance of focusing on energy other vital resources such as food and water, that are considered the spinal cord of all human development.

"It all starts with an idea – and our bid to honour and continue the legacy of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – who advocated for education and the development of human resources throughout his lifetime. We aim to encourage the bright minds and the innovators to find practical solutions for our world’s challenges; in a path towards a better future built on the pillars and foundations of sustainability.

Gen. Mohamed emphasised on the importance of catalysing the international and multilateral action towards promoting energy and water security, sustainable development and improving the social and economic sustainability mankind.

He congratulated the winners of the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize, who have opened up new horizons to innovation in clean energy and sustainability with a unique vision that is reflective of the principles and foundations set forth by the founding father of the UAE."

In its 7th year, the prize awarded 9 winners for their outstanding achievements in advancing renewable energy and sustainability worldwide. The winners across four of the five categories are Panasonic for the Large Corporation, M-KOPA Solar for the SME category, Liter of Light in the NPO category as well as former U.S. Vice President Al Gore for his lifetime of achievements, and five high schools from around the world.

The annual $4 million prize, established by the UAE, recognises companies, organisations, schools and individuals across the world that have made significant contributions to the future of renewable energy and sustainability.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director-General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, thanked General Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al Nahyan for his enduring support and leadership which he referred to as the "driving force behind the Prize’s success."

He added, "Our leadership established this prize in honour of the legacy and teachings of our late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, God Rest his Soul, who laid the foundations for the importance of sustainable development. The UAE continues on this path through the wise leadership of the President of the United Arab Emirates His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan by building bridges of collaboration with the international community in order to face the challenges facing the world today."

He added that the Zayed Future Energy Prize re-affirms the UAE’s commitment towards supporting, developing and deploying renewable energy and sustainability solutions in the UAE and around the world; highlighting that addressing climate change is a shared responsibility and will require a large amount of continuous collaboration between governments, institutions and individuals to take action. He emphasised that success will only be achieved through innovation and unique action that will leave a lasting positive imprint on the world.

Since 2009, the Zayed Future Energy Prize ambassadors have positively impacted the lives of over 150 million people - delivering clean drinking water, electrifying rural areas, educating the next generation and creating hundreds of sustainable jobs.

Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of the Republic of Iceland and chair of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Jury, said, "The social inclusivity of the Prize allows even the next generation to play a role in delivering a sustainable future. By funding clean energy projects in schools, the Prize sets the tone for another generation of energy leaders who will continue its great work around the world."

The Global High Schools category – now in its third year – was launched to recognise and encourage young people to incorporate renewable energy and sustainability into their schools.

Five schools, from five global regions, each received $100,000 to fund their proposed sustainability projects. The winners are: Munro Academy from the Americas region; Petru Rare National College representing Europe; Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa (UWCSA) from Swaziland and representing Africa, Addu High School in the Republic of the Maldives for the Asia region; and Melbourne High School in Australia representing Oceania.

Finalists of the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize were later awarded at a special ceremony by Dr. Sultan Al Jaber and His Excellency Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, president of the Republic of Iceland with a certificate of participation.

Panasonic, the multinational electronics manufacturer, won recognition in the Large Corporation category for a long-standing commitment to social, economic, and environmental sustainability throughout the company’s operations. The company is best known in renewable energy as the perennial world record holder for solar PV cell efficiency and expanding the market opportunity for solar worldwide.

In the SME category, M-KOPA Solar was awarded $1.5 million for its innovative approach to deploying solar electricity to rural villages in Kenya and Uganda, delivering access to affordable energy to rural communities that need it most. To date, the company has sold more than 100,000 solar home systems.

Social enterprise, Liter of Light was awarded $1.5 million in the NPO category. Using recycled plastic bottles, water and bleach to create solar lanterns, the small volunteer group, established as part of the relief efforts during the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, has expanded to 15 countries, and has installed lanterns in more than 350,000 homes.

Former US Vice President Al Gore is the fourth recipient of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Lifetime Achievement award.  Gore was recognised for his unwavering personal and political commitment to raise international awareness about the dangers of climate change, while reinforcing optimism that the global community can successfully tackle the challenge.

Global High Schools:

Africa: In Swaziland, Waterford Kambhala was rewarded for its student-led project to install photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and a biogas digester in an effort to become carbon neutral by 2024.

The Americas: Munro Academy in Canada was selected for a two-part proposal to increase the share of onsite renewable energy generation from 83 per cent to 92 percent by adding a 15 kW solar photovoltaic system, while students construct solar air-heating units.

Asia: Addu High School, from southern Maldives, won the award for a proposal to be the first school in the country to achieve energy independence by installing a 45 kW solar photovoltaic system. The Maldives is an area under threat of rising sea levels due to climate change.

Europe: Petru Rare National College, a 150-year old Romanian school, was selected for its student-led building restoration project, which will reduce energy consumption by 70 per cent through the installation of LED lighting and solar panels.

Oceania: Australian high school, Melbourne Girls’ College won for its proposal to develop an interactive, renewable-energy education centre. Students will research and learn about renewable energy, as well as harness electricity by rowing and pedaling solar, wind and hydro machines.

Quotes from winners:

Yoshihiko Yamada, executive vice president, Panasonic Group (Large Corporation)

"We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to the UAE Leadership and the Zayed Future Energy Prize for giving us such a wonderful opportunity to meet a new challenge. As a multinational corporation we are fully committed to making further contributions to global sustainability and promoting environmental initiatives through our product lines and operations. This is a commitment we would like to express to our customers and leaders in the international community."

Jesse Moore, co-founder and managing director, M-KOPA Solar
Small and Medium Enterprise 

"We are honoured to win the Zayed Future Energy Prize award. The prize brings global recognition to M-KOPA Solar's business model and the opportunity to bring affordable solar power to people who live off the grid using mobile technologies. As with mobile communications, we believe the impact of "wireless" technologies will transform energy in developing world economies and improve the lives of millions of low-income consumers. We are proud to have been recognised by the Zayed Future Energy Prize Jury; their endorsement and the award will help us further accelerate our growth."

Illac Angelo Diaz, executive director, Liter of Light
Non- Profit Organisation

"The purest form of charity is to make yourself obsolete. This is why the Liter of Light use an open source platform to teach skills in building solar bottle lights using locally available materials so that clean energy from the sun is easily attainable for everyone around the world."

Al Gore, former vice president of the United States
Lifetime Achievement

"Sheikh Zayed founded this way of thinking and this commitment to a positive vision of the future of the world, and I wish there were more leaders that had this kind of a commitment to developing a positive future.

"The Zayed Future Energy Prize provides needed encouragement to people who are doing good work that benefits the future of human kind. It recognises what they are doing, encourages others to seek out the same kind of recognition."

Ben Green, head of experimental Sciences, Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa
Global High Schools (Africa)

"We are thrilled to be accepting this prize on behalf of Waterford Kamhlaba and really excited to be able to make our bid become a reality. We recognise our responsibility to make the best use of energy resources and we will work very hard to make sure that Waterford Kamhlaba uses the prize to both generate and save energy.

"We will use the Zayed Future Energy Prize to inspire a whole generation of students from around the world to believe that they too can make a difference by using sustainable technologies. We thank you for your support and are looking forward to making our school a leader of sustainability in Swaziland."

Doug Beane, principal, Munro Academy
Global High Schools (The Americas)

"Through the Zayed Future Energy Prize, we have seen clearly the phenomenal creative potential of students to wrestle with complex problems and come up with positive solutions. It is a real blessing to be able to partner with students in becoming transformation agents in our community! On behalf of our students and the community members who will be impacted by this prize, I want to express our appreciation – and our excitement – for award the Zayed Future Energy Prize."

Ibrahim Nadheem, principal, Addu High School
Global High Schools (Asia)

"We have faced many challenges on our way here, but each has only strengthened us more to reach such recognition. This acknowledgment could not have been achieved without our students who have made this milestone a reality. We will proudly hold up this Prize as a mark of our achievement and become a role model in sustainable renewable energy to our community as well as to the whole world."

Alexandru Iacob, geography teacher, Petru Rare National College
Global High Schools (Europe)

"This prize is the highest achievement in the history of our school, and the entire team – teachers and students – is very proud we did such a great project. We will have the opportunity to use the prize to establish Petru Rare? National College as a creative leading school for the sustainable development and environmental preservation."

Andrew Vance, sustainability coordinator, Melbourne Girls’ College
Global High Schools (Oceania)

"Our philosophy toward sustainability at Melbourne Girls’ College is to celebrate solutions rather than preach about disasters. The Zayed Future Energy Prize is an inspiration as it has enabled us to think outside the box and come up with some innovative ways to engage our community with renewable energy."

Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge winners honoured

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,  General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Monday honoured the winners of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge (ADSC),  the first ever International Solarcar Federation (ISF) sanctioned event to be held in the UAE.

The honouring ceremony took place following the opening ceremony of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES 2015) at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec).

Team Michigan University crossed the finish line first today after travelling 11,009kms in three days leaving behind the host emirate’s team Petroleum Institute and Belgium's team Punch Power Train in the second and third place, respectively.

Noah Kaczor, 22, who drove team Michigan’s car first over the finish line described Abu Dhabi as the ideal place for such challenges.

The multi-day cross-country road competition is taking place between 15-19 January 2015, starting and finishing in  Abu Dhabi. It is the first of its kind to be held in the Middle East and was open to solar car teams from countries all over the world.

The Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge, the first ever International Solarcar Federation (ISF) sanctioned event to be held in the UAE, is sponsored by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc). Hosted by Masdar , it is part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2015.