Now in its fifth year, Abu Dhabi's annual leadership prize in renewable energy and sustainability, the Zayed Future Energy Prize, is upping the stakes for 2013. Expanding to five categories, the annual prize has grown to $4 million, making it the world's most financially lucrative award for renewable energy and sustainability.
With its earliest opening in the prize's history, the submissions and nominations period is already underway, running through July 16, 2012. And considering the 2012 prize attracted 425 applications from 71 countries, competition will should again be stiff for the increasingly prestigious prize.
“We decided to open submissions earlier this year in order to guarantee equal opportunity for countries on the opposite side of the equator. It was important for us, from inception, that the prize benefits a global audience,” said Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.
Created in honor of the late Founding Father and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and managed by Masdar, Abu Dhabi's global clean energy company, the prize aims to inspire the next generation of innovators in the fields of future energy, climate change and sustainable global energy resources by celebrating "achievements that reflect innovation, impact, long-term vision and leadership in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability."
In addition to the longer nomination period mentioned above, the 2013 ZFEP will have a remade prize structure. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Non-Governmental Organization will be separated into two categories, with winners in each taking home the healthy sum of $1.5 million.
For the newest category, Global High School, five winning high schools, one each in the geographic regions of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania and Europe, will split the half million-dollar purse.
Rounding out the cash awards, the Lifetime Achievement (Individuals) category will take home $500,000.
“Nurturing and developing young minds at an early age and encouraging them to innovate lies at the core of the heart of our wise leadership," said Dr. Al Jaber, commenting on the creation of the category for young people.
The decision to restructure the prize categories was seen by the prize committee and jury members as a crucial step to widen the Prize’s appeal to a larger pool of applicants in the future.
As was the case in 2012, the winner of the Large Corporation category will not receive a cash prize. In the first two years of the contest when there was still a cash award for the Large Corporation category, ZFEP winners Vestas and Toyota made the shrewd decisions to donate their prize money to non-profit organizations.
Zayed Future Energy Prize submissions and nominations period will last through July 16, 2012. Subsequent stages of review, selection and final deliberation will continue through the fall with the the awards ceremony taking place on January 15, 2013.