Masdar News

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Honours 2017 Winners of Zayed Future Energy Prize

15 Jan 2017

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 16 January 2017 – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, presented the Zayed Future Energy Prize to nine winners during the 2017 awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi today, in the presence of six heads of state.

Nine pioneers in renewable energy and sustainability across five categories became the latest awardees to join the prize’s growing international community of winners. The 2017 recipients of the prize span a wide range of industry expertise, from breakthrough photovoltaic manufacturing to government policy advisory. The Zayed Future Energy Prize has so far recognised 57 individuals and organisations since it was founded in 2008.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “The legacy of our founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has led our nation on a path to sustainable development and prosperity. Through this prize, which bears his name, the UAE empowers others to embark on that same path. Today, we celebrate the success of this vision through improved access to energy, technology and water, which in turn presents opportunities for better education, health and employment for women, children and those in need.”

His Highness continued: “Launched with the foresight of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and with the direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the spirit embodied in the UAE’s ‘Year of Giving’ is equally demonstrated in the Zayed Future Energy Prize, which encourages others to give on a global scale. These winning organisations, individuals and schools are giving with the impact, innovation, leadership and long-term vision that can overcome today’s challenges and make the most of tomorrow’s opportunities.”

Li Junfeng, Director General of China’s National Center of Climate Strategy Research, won the Lifetime Achievement award for his unwavering commitment to the adoption of renewable energy in China. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Mr. Li has been instrumental in advancing the country’s renewable energy policies, which have spurred record levels of clean energy investment in China.

General Electric (GE) won the Large Corporation award for leadership in the wind and solar energy markets. GE’s wind business alone has commissioned 41.3 GW of total generating capacity and installed more than 30,000 wind turbines to date.

Sonnen, the German smart home and commercial energy storage system manufacturer, was awarded the prize in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) category for leadership in providing battery storage technology solutions. In the Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) category, UK-based Practical Action was recognised for its work in providing deprived communities with clean energy in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Joining them were the winners in the Global High Schools category, five schools spanning five regions of the globe.

His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Former President of the Republic of Iceland and Chair of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Jury, said: “Through the sustainable actions of its winners, the Zayed Future Energy Prize is a model example for how far the world has come in the last nine years. It is extraordinary that, through the impact of each winner and the lives they continue to improve, we now see a growing strength in being able to deliver a sustainable future.”

Since its inception, the Zayed Future Energy Prize has received over 10,000 nominations and submissions from more than 100 countries. In 2016 alone, the prize received a record 1,676 entries from 103 different nations, a 22 per cent increase on the previous record set the year before.

His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, said: “The Zayed Future Energy Prize continues to honour the legacy of sustainability advocated by the UAE’s late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. With each awards ceremony, the UAE leadership accelerates the pursuit of innovation, reinforces the significance of sustainability at the top of the global agenda, and gives opportunities and far-reaching benefits to communities around the world.”

Now in its ninth cycle, the Zayed Future Energy Prize continues to empower winners that are delivering significant impact across the world. These winners are providing the means for women to be social entrepreneurs delivering sustainable solutions in South-East Asia, for communities to be given new, sustainable, ways to receive and use electricity in Europe, for cities in Asia and Africa to be reshaped around new sustainable-transport innovations, and for people and communities to have a voice in shaping sustainable energy policies across the globe.

His Excellency Dr Al Jaber continued: “During the last nine years, the Zayed Future Energy Prize has been a demonstration of the UAE’s commitment to encouraging and rewarding innovation on a global scale. By recognising pioneers in the renewable energy and sustainability sectors, the prize has positively impacted the lives of more than 280 million people through its winners.”

In 2012, the Global High Schools category was launched as part of the UAE leadership’s commitment to the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll) initiative and educating future generations about sustainability. Completing its fifth year, the category has empowered 24 schools to incorporate renewable energy and sustainability into their schools and curricula.

The five winners in the Global High Schools category are: Starehe Girls' Center, Kenya for the Africa region; Green School Bali, Indonesia for the Asia region; Bolivia’s Unidad Educativa Sagrado Corazón 4 for the Americas; Belvedere College in Ireland for Europe; and Huonville High School, Tasmania for the Oceania region.

The awards ceremony was witnessed by His Excellency Horacio Cartes, President of the Republic of Paraguay; His Excellency Luis Guillermo Solís, President of the Republic of Costa Rica; His Excellency Filip Vujanović, President of Montenegro; His Excellency Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan; and His Excellency Danny Faure, President of the Republic of Seychelles; and His Excellency Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

The prize will open again for submissions and nominations for its landmark 10th year later this month. For more information go to


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About the Zayed Future Energy Prize

The Zayed Future Energy Prize was established by the UAE leadership in 2008 in honour of the environmental, social, and economic sustainability advocated by the nation’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (God bless his soul). More than 289 million people are experiencing the sustainable actions of the prize’s winners. For more information, please visit

About the Winners:

Li Junfeng - Winner Lifetime Achievement

Li Junfeng is the Director General of the National Center of Climate Change Strategy Research– National Development and Reform Commission. He has helped implement China’s programme for wind and solar PV for the country’s 10th five-year plan, and was one of the chief authors of the Chinese Renewable Energy Law. An outspoken opponent of coal and supporter of renewable energy, Li’s policies have enabled China to become the world’s largest renewable energy investor in 2015.

General Electric (GE) - Winner Large Corporation

General Electric is a globally diversified technology and financial services company. The company’s wind division has 41.3 gigawatts (GW) of power in total and has installed more than 30,000 wind turbines, making it the second largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world. GE also runs an ‘Ecomagination’ programme, with an aim to tackle energy efficiency and sustainability in its products and services. The company has a target to reduce its overall greenhouse emissions 20% by 2020, from 2011 levels. To date, GE has reduced the emissions from its operations by 12%.

Sonnen, Germany - Winner SME

The Bavaria based smart energy home and commercial energy storage system manufacturer integrates rooftop solar and small-scale wind with home storage batteries and energy management systems. Sonnen’s systems manage domestic demand to fit the generation profile of the integrated roof-top solar or wind devices, for example, wireless plugs can activate electrical appliances during periods of high generation but low demand, even if the home-owners are out. So far, the company has installed around 12,000 units with solar panels and small- scale wind solutions, with customers producing more than 41 gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean energy over the course of one year.

Practical Action, United Kingdom - Winner NPO

A non- profit with over 40 years’ experience, Practical Action works to alleviate poverty in Africa, Latin America and Southern Asia through the deployment of relevant technologies and building local capabilities to manage these systems. The organisation currently has over 100 projects in development, is engaged in consulting and actively advocates for sustainable energy access in countries including Peru, Kenya, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Senegal, Nepal, India and Bangladesh.

Global High Schools

Starehe Girls' Center (Kenya) - Winner Africa

Starehe Girls Centre and School is a national boarding school founded in 2005 to educate girls from underprivileged families. The students and school are supported entirely through charitable donations, with operating costs running over due to high utilities bills. Through the school’s planned off- grid PV rooftop system, operational cost savings in electricity and water will enable the school to enroll an additional 10 girls in the upcoming school year.

Green School Bali (Indonesia) - Winner, Asia

Green School Bali is a private, international school focused on ecology and sustainability. The school proposes the installation of a 10kW solar PV system and a battery-bank from used mobile phone and notebook batteries with a capacity of 32kWh. The school’s proposed project would lower their carbon emissions by 22 tonnes per year, with an added benefit of lowering the school’s utilities costs. The long- term engagement plan will also include close input from students, who will work on different aspects of the system including power production, storage and distribution, battery technologies, and project management.

Unidad Educativa Sagrado Corazón 4 (Bolivia) - Winner, the Americas

Founded in 1963, Unidad Educativa Sagrado Corazón 4 is a coeducational school in Bolivia. It is located in the town of San Juan, which has a population of 10,000 and was itself established in 1956. Funding from Zayed Future Energy Prize will enable the school to self-supply its electricity with one-hundred PV panels of 25kW (at peak demand). Savings on electricity will help strengthen a proposed educational program on renewable energy, which will be integrated with theoretical and practical teaching methods in physics, chemistry, mathematics and agriculture.

Belvedere College (Ireland) - Winner, Europe

Belvedere College, established in 1832, is an all-boys school in Dublin. The school’s proposed project is a “grow lab” which produces food in an urban setting, which will give students the opportunity to get hands- on traininginn water and energy sustainability along with related in-class curriculum. Food will be produced using an aquaponics system that is watered with harvested rainwater, powered by an off-grid 6.24kW (peak) PV system, illuminated with high-efficiency horticultural-grade LED lighting, and pollinated by bees in on-site hives.

Huonville High School (Australia) - Winner, Oceania

Huonville High School is a 465 student-strong educational institution located in the agricultural region of Tasmania.Funding from the Zayed Future Energy Prize will be used to raise the renewable energy capacity of the school to 60%, up from its current levels of 2.5%. The school also plans to develop a the a Zayed Energy Hub, which will function as a laboratory, run on 100% renewable energy and showcase how solar, battery storage, insulation models, pellet heating, LED lighting, and data management.

About Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

The annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), hosted by Masdar, is an Abu Dhabi government initiative that aims to address the interconnected challenges of clean energy, water and sustainable development. Anchored by the World Future Energy Summit, ADSW features a series of complementary conferences, exhibitions and events, including the general assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency, the Award Ceremony of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the International Water Summit, EcoWASTE and The Festival at Masdar City. ADSW is the largest gathering on sustainability in the Middle East, attracting global policy makers, industry thought-leaders and clean-tech innovators among more than 35,000 attendees representing around 170 countries.