ABU DHABI, - The UAE is championing global sustainable development, and through initiatives such as the Zayed Future Energy Prize, has demonstrated a collaborative approach to confront environmental challenges, said Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

Thirty finalists will be competing for Zayed Future Energy Prize to be announced in January 2017.

"The prize continues to further the legacy of our nation's founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, by empowering individuals and organisations across the world that strive for a sustainable future. The fact that this was a record-breaking year for the prize, in terms of entries, underlines the growing global momentum behind achieving a sustainable energy future," Dr Al-Hosany added.

She made these remarks following a meeting between experts of international energy, sustainability and education, in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday and Thursday, at the third in a four-stage evaluation process to determine the finalists of the ninth cycle of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. The finalists will be vetted by a prestigious jury on 23rd October, and the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony during the opening of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January 2017.

The finalists in the Small and Medium Enterprise category are silicon wafer manufacturer 1366 Technologies, and energy storage firms Sonnen and 24M. These three are representative of two intertwined growth markets in the industry - solar photovoltaics and battery storage technology. In the Non-Profit Organisation category, We Care Solar, Practical Action and Solar Sister, organisations that aim to alleviate energy poverty and empower women in developing countries, were successful.

In the remaining categories, there are three finalists in the Large Corporation category and six individuals, renowned for their achievements in the renewable energy industry or for advancing the field of sustainability, in the Lifetime Achievement category. Moreover, 15 schools from across five world regions (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania) have been selected as finalists in the Global High Schools category.

The prize annually convenes its selection and the Global High Schools committees, where members examine entries over two-days before agreeing on a shortlist of finalists that are deliberated on by the jury. The second stage of this critically important evaluation process, the review committee, met earlier this month.

Speaking after the selection committee meeting, Chair Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Provost, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, said, "The quality of entries continues to increase, which makes it more challenging for us to choose the best ones. But this is a challenge we embrace, as it demonstrates the strength of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and the relevance of its focus on renewable energy and sustainability. The finalists this year are among the most innovative we have seen. Come January, we look forward to seeing the winners deliver real and lasting change to the world through their achievements."

"The establishment of the Global High Schools category in 2012 was a significant moment for the Zayed Future Energy Prize, not only did it underline the prize's commitment to the Sustainable Energy for All agenda but also provided a platform to encourage young people to become leaders for the future of sustainable development. What is truly inspiring is that each year we are seeing tremendous growth in the number and standard of proposals in this category, which makes choosing the finalists extremely difficult," added Dr. Abdulla Ismail Alzarouni, Chair of the Global High Schools Committee, and Assistant to the President, Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai.

The prize received a record 1,678 entries for the edition this year. In total, more than 10,000 submissions and nominations have been made to the Zayed Future Energy Prize over its nine cycles.

Launched in 2008, the Zayed Future Energy Prize honours the legacy of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, and his passion for environmental sustainability. Through its five categories, the international awards celebrate the pursuit of a sustainable energy future. -tfaham

Source: Emirates News Agency