18 JAN 2017

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Honours 2017 Winners of Zayed Future Energy Prize

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, presented the Zayed Future Energy Prize to nine winners during the 2017 awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi today, in the presence of six heads of state.

Nine pioneers in renewable energy and sustainability across five categories became the latest awardees to join the prize’s growing international community of winners. The 2017 recipients of the prize span a wide range of industry expertise, from breakthrough photovoltaic manufacturing to government policy advisory. The Zayed Future Energy Prize has so far recognised 57 individuals and organisations since it was founded in 2008.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “The legacy of our founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan has led our nation on a path to sustainable development and prosperity. Through this prize, which bears his name, the UAE empowers others to embark on that same path. Today, we celebrate the success of this vision through improved access to energy, technology and water, which in turn presents opportunities for better education, health and employment for women, children and those in need.”

His Highness continued: “Launched with the foresight of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and with the direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the spirit embodied in the UAE’s ‘Year of Giving’ is equally demonstrated in the Zayed Future Energy Prize, which encourages others to give on a global scale. These winning organisations, individuals and schools are giving with the impact, innovation, leadership and long-term vision that can overcome today’s challenges and make the most of tomorrow’s opportunities.”

Li Junfeng, Director General of China’s National Center of Climate Strategy Research, won the Lifetime Achievement award for his unwavering commitment to the adoption of renewable energy in China. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Mr. Li has been instrumental in advancing the country’s renewable energy policies, which have spurred record levels of clean energy investment in China.

General Electric (GE) won the Large Corporation award for leadership in the wind and solar energy markets. GE’s wind business alone has commissioned 41.3 GW of total generating capacity and installed more than 30,000 wind turbines to date.

Sonnen, the German smart home and commercial energy storage system manufacturer, was awarded the prize in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) category for leadership in providing battery storage technology solutions. In the Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) category, UK-based Practical Action was recognised for its work in providing deprived communities with clean energy in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Joining them were the winners in the Global High Schools category, five schools spanning five regions of the globe.

His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Former President of the Republic of Iceland and Chair of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Jury, said: “Through the sustainable actions of its winners, the Zayed Future Energy Prize is a model example for how far the world has come in the last nine years. It is extraordinary that, through the impact of each winner and the lives they continue to improve, we now see a growing strength in being able to deliver a sustainable future.”

Since its inception, the Zayed Future Energy Prize has received over 10,000 nominations and submissions from more than 100 countries. In 2016 alone, the prize received a record 1,676 entries from 103 different nations, a 22 per cent increase on the previous record set the year before.

His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, said: “The Zayed Future Energy Prize continues to honour the legacy of sustainability advocated by the UAE’s late founding father Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. With each awards ceremony, the UAE leadership accelerates the pursuit of innovation, reinforces the significance of sustainability at the top of the global agenda, and gives opportunities and far-reaching benefits to communities around the world.”

Now in its ninth cycle, the Zayed Future Energy Prize continues to empower winners that are delivering significant impact across the world. These winners are providing the means for women to be social entrepreneurs delivering sustainable solutions in South-East Asia, for communities to be given new, sustainable, ways to receive and use electricity in Europe, for cities in Asia and Africa to be reshaped around new sustainable-transport innovations, and for people and communities to have a voice in shaping sustainable energy policies across the globe.

His Excellency Dr Al Jaber continued: “During the last nine years, the Zayed Future Energy Prize has been a demonstration of the UAE’s commitment to encouraging and rewarding innovation on a global scale. By recognising pioneers in the renewable energy and sustainability sectors, the prize has positively impacted the lives of more than 280 million people through its winners.”

In 2012, the Global High Schools category was launched as part of the UAE leadership’s commitment to the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll) initiative and educating future generations about sustainability. Completing its fifth year, the category has empowered 24 schools to incorporate renewable energy and sustainability into their schools and curricula.

The five winners in the Global High Schools category are: Starehe Girls’ Center, Kenya for the Africa region; Green School Bali, Indonesia for the Asia region; Bolivia’s Unidad Educativa Sagrado Corazón 4 for the Americas; Belvedere College in Ireland for Europe; and Huonville High School, Tasmania for the Oceania region.

The awards ceremony was witnessed by His Excellency Horacio Cartes, President of the Republic of Paraguay; His Excellency Luis Guillermo Solís, President of the Republic of Costa Rica; His Excellency Filip Vujanović, President of Montenegro; His Excellency Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan; and His Excellency Danny Faure, President of the Republic of Seychelles; and His Excellency Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

The prize will open again for submissions and nominations for its landmark 10th year later this month. For more information go to www.zayedfutureenergyprize.com.

19 JAN 2017

WiSER calls on women to be the drivers of innovation

UAE-founded initiative welcomes global experts to its second annual conference during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

18 January, Abu Dhabi: Leaders from government, business and academia yesterday convened in Abu Dhabi for the second annual Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) conference under the theme ‘Practical steps towards sustainable innovation.’ The event was organised by Masdar in partnership with the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

The conference, a key event at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, sought to discuss the collaborative role that governments and businesses can play in fostering sustainable innovation, and the critical importance of including women in this dialogue.

Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, WiSER Programme Director, Executive Director of Sustainability and Brand at Masdar, and Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: “At WiSER, we seek to ensure that women are the drivers of change for a sustainable future, enabling them to positively impact innovation and breakthroughs in policy, technology and business. Today’s event helps us understand the way forward to achieving this goal.”

“With greater mentoring and collaborative opportunities, our knowledge of the issues that uniquely impact women can be harnessed to deliver sustainable growth and innumerable societal benefits. Innovation in sustainability is critical to our future prosperity, and women have a central role to play in this regard,” Dr Al-Hosany continued.

Established in 2015, WiSER is an initiative that comes at critical point for women’s participation in renewable energy and sustainability. Women account for just 35% of the workforce in the renewable energy sector, according to the latest IRENA Renewable Energy Jobs Review 2016. The report concluded that while sector has seen a rise in the number of women employed, female labour force participation is still lower than the general economy average experienced by OECD countries (40-45 per cent).

WiSER partners with academic and research institutions, women’s networking groups and corporate interests in order to create education and training opportunities for women of all ages. Since its launch on the side lines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly, WiSER has been active in developing partnerships with a number of strategic organisations.

Recently, WiSER held a high-level event with Momentum for Change at the UN Climate Conference in Marrekech, COP22. The event came under a joint “Momentum for Change: Women for Results” and WiSER partnership, a key pillar of the Momentum for Change Lighthouse initiative, and recognised activities that demonstrate the critical leadership and participation of women in addressing climate change. The collaboration is designed to further the role of women in sustainability, with a focus on knowledge exchange.

Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute: “Creating opportunities for women in sustainability will allow us to unleash a wealth of knowledge and creativity within this industry. Particularly through our partnerships with private companies, Masdar Institute remains dedicated to nurturing the next generation of women to become sustainability leaders. Our public-private partnerships allow more women to gain the hands-on experience they need to join the ranks of innovators. With women playing an equitable role in the industry we can continue the momentum behind our transformation towards a fairer, more secure, and more sustainable future.”

The event in Abu Dhabi was designed as a platform so that participants could learn from experts who have dedicated their life to sustainability and furthering women’s participation in innovation. Speakers included: Graciela Chicilnisky, CEO and Co-Founder, Global Thermostat; Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office; Dr Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute; Neha Misra, Co-founder and Chief Collaboration Officer, Solar Sisters; Dr Arwa Y. Al-Aama, Director, Smart Solutions Consulting; Jonathon Porritt, Founding Director, Forum for the Future; Dr Joao Carlos, Secretary of Energy and Mining, Sao Paulo; Maher Ezzeddine, Chairman and President, Harvard Business School Aerospace Alumni Group; Dr Barbara Buchner, Executive Director, Climate Finance, Climate Policy Initiative; Jamila Bargach, Director, Dar Si Hmad; Moza Al Naimi, Masdar Institute Phd student, and Dr Laura Stachel, Executive Director and Co-Founder of We Care Solar.

In the UAE, there has been an emphasis placed on education and training as a way to ensure more women are working in sustainability. In the fall enrollment of students at Masdar Institute, 68 per cent of the UAE nationals were women. Over 70 per cent of the UAE government university students are now women and among post-graduates, UAE National women account for 62 per cent in government universities.

Dr. Arwa Y. Al-Aama, Director, Smart Solutions Consulting: “Initiatives such as WiSER are critical if we want women to have access to the skills needed to be future leaders of innovation and sustainability. They also underline the leading role the UAE is playing in establishing platforms that place an emphasis on knowledge exchange and learning.”

Founded by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, WiSER aims to empower and inspire women to be catalysts of innovation and the drivers of commercial solutions that will address climate change and secure access to food, energy and water.

31 JUL 2017

Financing big energy and other trending stories of the week

Here are some of the top trending energy stories from the past week:

Siemens Financial Services CEO, R. Chalons-Browne talks big energy finance:

The East vs. West renewables race – who’s winning? According to CNN, it’s China by a lot:

Africa is unplugging, with off-grid solar leading the way:

  • Africa is a continent that, more than any other, is rich in sunshine. Off-grid solar can help fill the grid's gaps st/2u4Ualw

VIDEO: The surprising state where solar energy is flourishing:

From rooftop solar to…everything. Check out SunRun via GreenTechMedia:

We look forward to convening discussions on these topics and more at ADSW2018 in January.

19 JAN 2017

Masdar appoints IFC to oversee funding of Jordan’s largest solar power project

Finance mandate letter signed today at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 18, 2017 – Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, has selected International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to oversee the funding of the largest solar power plant in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a 200-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic facility being developed by the wholly owned Masdar subsidiary Baynouna Solar Energy Company (BSEC).

At Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week today, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi and Niall Hannigan, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Masdar, respectively, signed a finance mandate letter with Eric Becker, IFC Manager of Infrastructure for the Middle East & North Africa.

Today’s announcement follows the signing of a power purchase agreement (PPA) in October between Masdar and National Electric Power Company, Jordan’s state electricity provider.

“We are delighted to be working with IFC in the realisation of Jordan’s largest solar plant, further consolidating Masdar’s significant presence in the country,” said Niall Hannigan. “Our partnership with IFC will ensure that this landmark project will be developed according to the highest standards of financial best practice, while illustrating the strength of investor confidence in renewable energy.”

Expected to break ground later this year, the 200MW plant will be built 10 kilometres outside the Jordan capital of Amman. Once connected to the national grid, it will supply the annual power needs of around 110,000 homes and displace an estimated 360,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

“The Middle East and North Africa continues to face serious power shortages, and there is now even greater pressure on infrastructure services,” said Erik Becker. “We have been working with Masdar, a key partner, since 2013 and welcome this opportunity to further support the development renewable energy generation capacity across the region.”

The project follows the inauguration of the 117MW Tafila wind farm in Jordan in December 2015, the Middle East’s largest onshore wind power development. Masdar has a 31 per cent stake in Tafila with InfraMed (50%) and EP Global Energy (19%).

The combined output of Tafila and the Baynouna solar project will account for nearly 18 per cent of the 1.8 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy Jordan plans to install by 2020.

Masdar’s Clean Energy division is a leading developer and operator of utility-scale, grid-tied projects; applications providing energy access to communities away from the electricity grid; and carbon abatement projects. Since 2006, Masdar has invested in renewable energy projects with a combined value of US$8.5 billion; Masdar’s share of this investment is US$2.7 billion.

Masdar’s renewable energy projects span the UAE, Jordan, Mauritania, Egypt, Morocco, the UK, Serbia and Spain. The electricity generating capacity of these projects, which are either fully operational or under development, is 2.7 gigawatts (GW) gross.