The Zayed Future Energy Prize, United Arab Emirates
The Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP) is the UAE’s global awards for renewable energy and sustainability pioneers. It represents the vision of sustainability advocated by the nation’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Since 2008, the Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP) has been empowering, recognizing, and rewarding innovators who are working toward solutions and technologies for a sustainable energy future. Each year, the ZFEP recognizes achievements in renewable energy by a large corporation (recognition award), a small and medium enterprise (U.S. $1.5M award), a non-profit organization (U.S. $1.5M award), a lifetime achievement recipient (U.S. $500,000 award), and up to five high schools from five different world regions (up to U.S. $100,000 each).
The Zayed Future Energy Prize has awarded more than $25 million in funding to 48 organizations, individuals and high schools for deploying disruptive technologies and creating societal impact that benefits more than 202 million people worldwide. There have been a combined total of more than 10,000 entries to the Zayed Future Energy Prize from more than 100 countries worldwide over its nine cycles.
A key contribution of the ZFEP to the field of environmental education rests in its encouragement of young energy innovators through its Global High Schools prize category. This prize category was introduced in 2012 as a commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative and its three 2030 objectives: ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
Each year, schools may submit proposals for up to $100,000 in funding to support projects that promote sustainability and deliver tangible improvements. Proposals require the inclusion of educational outcomes for students, such as new skills in monitoring or operating energy systems.
Waterford Kamhlaba United World College, Swaziland
Like many sub-Saharan African countries, Swaziland’s electrification rates are low. According to the World Bank, less than a third of the country’s population is connected to the grid. Urban areas enjoy a 40% electrification rate compared to just 3% in rural areas. Many Swazis, therefore, rely on kerosene, charcoal and other fossil fuels for heating, cooking and lighting.
Toward the goal of becoming energy secure and carbon neutral, Waterford Kamhlaba United World College, a high school outside of Swaziland’s capital of Mbabane, submitted a sustainability and renewable energy plan to the Global High Schools category of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.