The Zayed Future Energy Prize seeks to encourage India’s renewable energy market by educating future generations and reaching out to schools and students with a simple message, that every student holds the capacity to shape a better future for all. The Prize is helping schools understand and address their own environmental footprint and creating a tangible change in behaviour in participating school communities and beyond.
India is currently ranked seventh in the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index 2014 published by Ernst & Young. The total share of India’s renewable energy grew from 7.8% (31 March 2008) to 12.3% (31 March 2013). India’s renewable energy market is estimated to be worth over US$17 Billion and is growing at an annual rate of 15%. Increasing the involvement of young minds in sustainability projects could aid India’s development as a center for clean and renewable energy. The role of youth participation in sustainability programs is often overlooked or under-utilized in delivering energy savings to consumers. Building environmental awareness initiatives into the curriculum will teach the knowledge and skills necessary to face critical global energy issues in future.
According to Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, Director Director of Sustainability, Masdar and also Director, Zayed Future Energy Prize, "With India projected to become the 3rd largest power generator by 2030, renewables will undoubtedly account for a higher percentage of growth in comparison to other sources in near future. In order to meet India’s growing energy demands, educating young minds becomes a crucial part of the strategy to transform India into an energy efficient market. The Zayed Future Energy Prize, Global High Schools category is a commitment by the government of the UAE to actively involve the youth in sustainability and show that education and awareness play a critical role in advancing renewable energy"
An India-based example of this effort is Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya (KSV), a school that caters to disadvantaged students in the Dharwad district of Karnataka. The school was awarded a grant of US$100,000 for winning the Global High Schools (Asia) category in 2014, for the school’s student-led project to become self-sustainable using energy efficiency, solar lighting and bio-gas. In addition, they developed a ‘green’ amphitheatre and a Light Scholarship program to electrify the homes of deserving underprivileged students.
Now in its third year, The Zayed Future Energy Prize Global High Schools category is a commitment to the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. SE4ALL seeks to meet shared objectives for universal clean energy access, energy efficiency and renewables. The Prize requires high schools to address at least one of these areas in their project submissions. US$100,000 is awarded by the Prize annually to one school from each of the five geographic regions - the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. The innovative projects submitted in this category demonstrate the significance and appeal of sustainability to High School students.
The Zayed Future Energy Prize, the world’s preeminent award for excellence in renewable energy and sustainability, is a US$4 million prize awarded annually to organisations, schools and individuals that have made significant contributions to the future of renewable energy and sustainability. The Prize honours the legacy of the late founding father and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, who championed environmental stewardship and sustainability in his lifetime. Over six years, the Prize has rewarded 30 innovators, awarded more than US$18 million, and impacted millions of lives in communities across the world.
Submissions for the seventh edition of the Prize will close on 14 July, 2014. The Prize is awarded at a ceremony during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January, the largest gathering on sustainability in the Middle East, attracting 30,000 people from 150 countries. Here, the Prize acts as a springboard, offering finalists the opportunity to convene with world leaders, industry experts, past winners and Zayed Future Energy Prize partners.
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