Why did I not make the Zayed Prize shortlist...?
As your hard-working blogger, I thought that I would surely have made the Top 40 list for the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the biggest environmental prize on the planet. In fact, I was not even nominated but I hope you will all do better next year.
How big is the grand prize, you ask? Well, it’s worth US$1.5 million, not bad in cleantech circles. In addition, two other finalists will receive up to US$350,000 each for outstanding work in the field of renewable and sustainable energy. The prize, now in its third year, aims to “recognise and promote major pioneering contributions in the field of environment and sustainable development” – wouldn’t you think that includes blogging? It is named in honour of the philosophy, vision and achievements of the late ruler of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
This year’s Top 40 shortlist was released on 13 December 2010 and included companies and individuals from 13 countries: Belgium, Benin, Brazil, China, Croatia, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and the US (hogging the list with 18 nominations). Full list at: http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/14601/zayed-future-energy-prize-shortlist/
Previous winners include Dipal C. Barua, founder of Grameen Shakti (GS). I could just tell you that the man helped illuminate Bangladesh with off-grid solar, but that would rather understate the case. He has actually installed more than 200,000 solar PV systems that currently provide power for more than two million rural people. And GS has a number of other initiatives, including a biogas technology that converts cow and poultry waste into gas for cooking, lighting and fertiliser. Not to mention that GS has also installed more than 6000 biogas plants - and plans to construct 500,000 more by 2012.
Last but not least, GS has trained rural women to be solar technicians, thus creating green entrepreneurs using micro-credit.
Last year’s winner was Toyota: both individuals and companies are eligible.
Top 40 - or Top 6…?
Back to this year’s Top 40, to be announced at the World Future Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi, 17-20 January 1011. As soon as I had zoomed the news to my editor, I thought that I would congratulate the UK winners. Only to be surprised when one company said: “Well, it’s nice to be on the top 40 but we’ve already been told we’re not among the final six.”
What a surprise! So I began to ring around the planet and so far have found three organisations that have already been told that they are not in the final six. And one US company told me that they are “not allowed” to talk about it.
It seems that we could have some more openness here. Given a list of the Top 40, people would naturally think that all 40 are in the running for the big prize. If the field has already been narrowed to six, we should be told.
So, dear readers, if you’re placing bets on the Top 40, I just want you to save your money. At least 34 of these have been informed that they’re out of the running. I, personally, will be holding my breath for the big winner, and please remember to nominate me next year.
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