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Wind energy giant, Vestas, awarded Zayed Future Energy Prize

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His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has presented the prestigious $1.5-million 2011 Zayed Future Energy Prize to Danish wind technologist, Vestas, in recognition of its outstanding leadership in pioneering wind energy, even during periods where demand for renewable energy waned.

Last night, the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi was the stage for the Zayed Future Energy Prize ceremony, during which the Danish wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas, was chosen as winner out of just six finalists from a total of 391 submissions from 69 countries. Today, Vestas has confirmed that it has already donated the $1.5 million top prize “to further enhance the spread of renewable energy”: half to the newly established NGO, WindMadeTM, founded by Vestas together with the UN Global Compact, WWF, GWEC, Bloomberg, LEGO and PwC. The remaining $ 750,000 was equally divided between the fourth, fifth and sixth finalists of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

Announcing the 2011 winners, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: "Congratulations to Vestas on winning this year's Prize. Vestas is a worthy winner having pioneered large-scale innovation in wind power and for its positive impact on the energy needs of humanity. Sustainability is one of the greatest challenges of our time and I am proud that the Zayed Future Energy Prize continues to reward those that help advance us on this important journey."

30 years at the helm

Vestas was selected for its outstanding scale of achievement and its enviable track record - evolving from a country with little energy resources to a global leader in delivering renewable sources of power. For the past 30 years, Vestas has firmly promoted and established clean, renewable wind power as a mainstream and sustainable energy solution. The judges were particularly impressed with the company's long-term vision, demonstrating the ability to scale up through a commercially-viable business model and for its outstanding contribution to the renewable energy industry.

On behalf of more than 20,000 colleagues, Vestas CEO Ditlev Engel received the prize, saying: "It is tremendous honor for all of us at Vestas to receive this prestigious award. Not least, we are very much honored to hear the jury’s words about innovation and industry leadership."

Engel stressed that his colleagues at Vestas are characterized by a particular kind of passion for their work: “you will not find many places like that in business. It is this passion that has led Vestas to be the global leader in wind energy”, he said, adding that it is this passion, combined with legendary employee willpower, which will in future lead Vestas toward even larger goals: "We only have one thing on our minds – and that is wind," said Engel, "to continuously develop the technology in order to make wind energy as cheap as possible for both our customers and end users worldwide. That’s basically all we are concerned about."

"Vestas clearly stood out for a number of reasons, and most importantly, for dynamically changing wind-energy technology, something that requires imagination, vision and dedication. Innovation doesn't come about through a flash in the pan, it is something that requires enormous perseverance, clarity of purpose, efforts and resources," commented Dr. R.K. Pachauri, Chairman of the jury and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Energy efficiency comes second

Amory B. Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute was awarded a runner-up prize of US$350,000 for his work on an "integrative design" methodology for energy efficient buildings, vehicles and factories. Lovins describes his designs as a powerful and globally applicable new tool for shifting rapidly from oil and coal to efficiency and renewables.

Meanwhile, E+Co, a clean-energy investment company, was also awarded a runner-up prize of $350,000 and congratulated for its pioneering investments in the developing world. It supports and invests in small and growing clean-energy enterprises in developing countries to impact climate change and energy poverty.

The winner and the two runner-ups were selected by a jury of business and political leaders through a rigorous and transparent, four-tier evaluation process. The 2011 Zayed Future Energy Prize jury was led bythe 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. Pachauri, while jury members included: the President of the Republic of Iceland; Jordan’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Chairman of Masdar; and the renowned architecture Lord Norman Foster.

The Zayed Future Energy Prize is inspired by the vision and environmental stewardship of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the United Arab Emirates. The Prize recognizes and rewards outstanding work in renewable energy and sustainability.

For additional information:

Zayed Future Energy Prize

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