Inaugural prize awarded to Barua for bringing renewable energy to rural communities
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The first annual Zayed Future Energy Prize was awarded on January 19 by His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Mr. Dipal Chandra Barua, Founding Managing Director of Grameen Shakti for his visionary efforts to bring renewable energy solutions to the rural population of Bangladesh.
The Zayed Future Energy Prize finalist, Dr. Martin Green, was also recognized at the award ceremony for his groundbreaking research in photovoltaic (PV) technology that will result in increased efficiencies, bringing solar energy closer to grid parity.
The Prize was launched in January 2008 at the inaugural World Future Energy Summit to honour the legacy of environmental stewardship of the UAE's late ruler and founding father, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The award winner, Mr. Barua, and the finalist, Dr. Green will receive US$1.5 million and US$350,000, respectively, to accelerate the development of their innovations.
Mr. Barua's organization, Grameen Shakti (GS), has installed more than 200,000 solar PV systems that currently provide power for more than two million rural people. Under Mr. Barua's leadership, GS has developed a number of other innovative initiatives, including a biogas technology that converts cow and poultry waste into gas for cooking, lighting and fertilizer. GS has installed more than 6,000 biogas plants and plans to construct 500,000 more by 2012. In addition, GS has trained rural women to be solar technicians hereby enabling green entrepreneurs through a highly successful micro-credit program.
"It is a great honour to receive this recognition inspired by the vision of HH the late Sheikh Zayed," said Mr. Barua. "I consider myself a global Ambassador of the Prize, and would like to carry forward the message of environmental sensitivity that is being championed by the leadership of Abu Dhabi."
"We share this award with the rural people of Bangladesh who have demonstrated incredible ambition and innovation in adopting clean, renewable technologies to solve their daily energy challenges in the rural areas," added Mr. Barua.
The finalist, Dr. Green is a leading researcher in the field of PV. He is currently developing "third-generation" solar cells that will help decrease costs to less than US$0.50/W, to potentially $0.20/W or better, which will drastically increase the economic viability of this technology.
"I firmly believe that many of our future energy needs can be addressed by photovoltaic technology," said Dr. Green. "I'm proud that as one of the first recipients of this award, PV technology and its importance in the renewable energy mix is also being recognized as a commercially viable solution."
"I am confident that the Prize will help boost our efforts to accelerate the development, and market entry of third-generation PV modules," he added.
"It is quite inspirational to be a part of Zayed Future Energy Prize," said Nobel Laureate Dr. RK Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Chairman of the jury for ZFEP. "The technologies and the innovative solutions that we've seen through the submission process are a good reminder of the ability of human innovation to solve our global challenges."
Masdar, Abu Dhabi's multi-faceted future energy initiative, is the prize's founding organization. As one of its chief objectives, Masdar aims to be an open platform to bring together the world's innovative solutions to energy challenges.
"These winners and their innovations embody the very qualities the Zayed Future Energy Prize aims to recognize -- pioneering, ambitious ideas that provide us with a more sustainable future," Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Director General of the Prize and Chief Executive of Masdar.
"This prize encourages us to be bold, to innovate, to strive and to act. A quality that we inherited from our father, the late HH Sheikh Zayed who taught us to make a meaningful and sustainable impact on the world we live in," added Al Jaber in the ceremony's opening.
Submissions were received from more than 50 countries from every region of the world, including the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, China, Bangladesh, Germany, Brazil, Russia, Canada and Spain. The pool of 204 total submissions was reduced to twenty by a selection committee of senior technical, commercial and energy policy experts.
The jury members -- Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of the Republic of Iceland; Khaled Irani, Minister of Environment of The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; H.E. Ahmed Ali Sayegh, Chairman of Masdar; Lord Browne, Managing Director of Riverstone Holdings; Lord Norman Foster, Chairman of Foster+Partners; and Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation on New Economic Trends -- selected the final two winners.
The Masdar Initiative is Abu Dhabi's multi-faceted future energy initiative advancing the development, commercialization and deployment of renewable and alternative energy technologies and solutions. Masdar is driven by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC), and is wholly owned by the Mubadala Development Company. For more information about the Masdar Initiative, please visit www.masdaruae.com.
About Zayed Future Energy Prize
The Zayed Future Energy Prize was created in honour of the legacy of the late Ruler of Abu Dhabi and Founding Father of the United Arab Emirates, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The prize aims to inspire the next generation of global energy innovators -- creating solutions for the future. The Prize is awarded annually to up to three individuals, companies, organisations and/or NGOs that have made significant contributions in the global response to the future of energy, climate change and sustainable global energy resources.
Masdar: Serene Serhan Public Relations Manager Tel +971 50 854 43269 firstname.lastname@example.org Americas Kasia Reterska Tel +1 212 704 8154 Mobile +1 917 554 1196 email@example.com UK/EU Kirstin McKellar Tel +44 20 3047 2207 Mobile +44 7967 414 389 firstname.lastname@example.org
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