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UAE initiative supports renewable energy solutions


‘Energy and resource scarcity are global issues,’ says CEO of Masdar Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber

April 9, 2014 1:07 by

The Zayed Future Energy Prize – which seeks out and acknowledges individuals or organisations from around the world that are making innovative progress in renewable energy and sustainability solutions – launched an outreach campaign on April 6, 2014, aimed at engaging with key stakeholders and inviting submissions for the 2015 edition of the competition. Hosted by Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company, Masdar, the $4 million prize is awarded annually to companies, schools and individuals that have made significant contributions to the future of energy and sustainability.


Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, director-general of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and CEO of Masdar, told Emirates Week: “Energy and resource scarcity are global issues and while we received submissions from 88 countries last year, from as far as the Pacific Islands, we still have a lot of ground to cover. Through our extensive outreach efforts, the prize aims to bring together people, organisations and schools across geographies that share a commitment to finding innovative renewable energy and sustainability solutions.”


It is appropriate that the campaign is hosted in Abu Dhabi, since the UAE faces many challenges when it comes to natural resources despite being an oil-rich country, and climate change is a serious factor in the Middle East region.


“Hotter temperatures and a decline in precipitation, coupled with the already unsustainable depletion of groundwater resources, will likely increase the occurrence of droughts. In addition, climate models project sea levels to rise nearly two feet by the end of the century,” said Al Jaber in a recent Gulf News report.


“While no individual weather event can be blamed with certainty on climate change, each is part of an alarming trend that will only grow worse if we do not control global greenhouse gas emissions,” he adds.


Solar energy is widely used in the UAE and wind farms are being developed in some areas. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority website also provides tips on how to conserve energy in the home and recommends appliances, such as environmentally friendly Air Conditioners that consume ten per cent to 50 per cent less energy than regular ACs.


Abu Dhabi has been at the forefront of sustainable energy projects in the UAE, hosting several global awareness summits and actively supporting the development of renewable energy technology through dedicated training institutes and building of sustainable communities. This year, the capital hosts the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency and will facilitate the next critical climate change meeting in May. The Zayed Future Energy Prize outreach campaign kicked off earlier this week and submissions for 2015 are open until July 2014. Founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, will be part of the jury.

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