Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Future Energy Prize 2015 committee has made its final call for Africans organisations to bid for its annual sustainable energy prize, for which nominations close on 14 July 2014, while highlighting the success of the continent in this year’s competition.
Held by Masdar in honour of the founding UAE president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP) offers winning corporations, small and medium enterprises, NGOs and schools a share of $4m in prize money for ideas to optimise renewable energy use.
Saba Al Delfi, a manager of the ZFEP, was recently in South Africa to encourage schools and other organisations to make submissions, noting that successful projects would be those geared towards, “innovation, sustainable impact, long-term vision and leadership.”
Organisations must submit detailed reports on their prior sustainable efforts, with SMEs and NGOs standing to win $1.5m, while schools must submit planned energy scheme, with successful entries receiving $100,000 towards the execution of their project.
The 2014 schools prize was won by Malawi’s Nkhata Bay School Authority, which proposed a solar installation learning centre to spread the use of photovoltaic solar power and decrease reliance on the grid in what us one of the least electrified countries in Southern Africa.
And many African countries are increasingly focused on the potential renewable energy offers to their economies, with Ghana, Madagascar and South Africa all setting ambitious renewable energy targets of 10%, 75% and 13% of national electricity production by 2020.
Meanwhile, estimates place Africa’s hydropower potential at around 1,750 TWh and its geothermal energy potential at 9,000 MW, while over 80% of the continent receives a staggering input of about 2,000 kWH per square metre of solar resources each year.
Africa also represents an important target constituency for the prize, as some 90% of Sub-Saharan Africans living in rural areas lack access to electricity, and as Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050, total energy production must double by 2030 to break even.
This year’s entries will be evaluated by a jury including Icelandic president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Virgin founder Richard Branson and South Africa’s transport minister Dipuo Peters.
Previous winners have collectively reduced the plight of 140,000 displaced persons, provided hundreds of thousands of jobs and provided clean water and electricity to over eight million people around the world, and over the last five years nominations for the ZFEP have tripled.