The prizes were presented by General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at a ceremony in the capital.
The prestigious $1.5 million 2011 Zayed Future Energy Prize went to Vestas, a Danish manufacturer of wind turbines, in recognition of its outstanding leadership to pioneer wind energy, even during periods where demand for renewable energy waned.
“The Zayed Future Energy Prize reflects the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father and the first President of the UAE, who was aware, even decades ago, of the importance of reaching a balance between preserving the environment and maintaining economic growth,” said Shaikh Mohammed.
He said: “It is his vision that has forged a unique path for the UAE, and has served as a beacon for us to follow as we begin to harness new sources of power and ensure we preserve the local heritage and natural resources.
“In commemoration of this humanitarian approach, the award was established to recognise and motivate creative minds and innovators in the field of renewable energy, with the ultimate purpose of maintaining a healthy and clean environment for future generations.”
Vestas was selected for its outstanding scale of achievement and its enviable track record – evolving from a country with little energy resources to a global leader in delivering renewable sources of power.
“Vestas has played a major role in forging a path for the renewable energy industry. It has made more than 41,000 turbines for customers in 65 countries across five continents – creating more wind power capacity than any other company. The company’s turbines generate more than 60 million MWh of energy each year, enough to power 21 million people,” said a statement.
Announcing the 2011 winners, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Director-General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: “Congratulations to Vestas on winning this year’s Prize. Vestas is a worthy winner having pioneered large-scale innovation in wind power and for its positive impact on the energy needs of humanity. Sustainability is one of the greatest challenges of our time and I am proud that the Zayed Future Energy Prize continues to reward those that help advance us on this important journey.”
Dr R.K. Pachauri, Chairman of the jury, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said: “Vestas clearly stood out for a number of reasons, and most importantly, for dynamically changing wind-energy technology, something that requires imagination, vision and dedication.”
The winner and the runner-up awards were chosen from a total of 391 submissions from 69 countries.
Amory B. Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute was awarded a runner-up prize of $350,000 for his work on an “integrative design” methodology for energy efficient buildings, vehicles and factories. Lovins describes his designs as a powerful and globally applicable new tool for shifting rapidly from oil and coal to efficiency and renewables.
E+Co, a clean-energy investment company, was also awarded a runner-up prize of US$350,000 and congratulated for its pioneering investments in the developing world. It supports and invests in small and growing clean-energy enterprises in developing countries to impact climate change and energy poverty.
The winner and the two runner-ups were selected by a jury of business and political leaders through a rigorous and transparent, four-tier evaluation process. — firstname.lastname@example.org
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