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A worthy winner of the Zayed Future Energy Prize 2011

When Director of Woods Hardwick, Karl Myhill, attended the World Future Energy Summit, held in Abu Dhabi in January of this year, he was particularly inspired by the Zayed Future Energy Prize.The priz...

When Director of Woods Hardwick, Karl Myhill, attended the World Future Energy Summit, held in Abu Dhabi in January of this year, he was particularly inspired by the Zayed Future Energy Prize.The prize is relatively new, having been established in 2008 as a result of the vision and environmental legacy of the late Ruler of Abu Dhabi and Founding Father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Amongst other work, His Highness Sheikh Zayed ensured that political infrastructure was created to support sustainable development in Abu Dhabi. He created official institutions such as the Federal Environment Agency and Abu Dhabi's Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency; and, whilst he acknowledged the responsibility that government must assume in conserving the natural environment, he also called upon individuals to play a role in ensuring the region developed sustainably.

It clearly seemed very fitting to pay homage to this exceptional and honourable legacy of environmental stewardship, hence the creation of the Zayed Future Energy Prize. The aim of the prize is to recognise and reward innovation, leadership and long-term vision in renewable energy and sustainability. It also aims to ‘inspire the next generation of global energy innovators – creating solutions we can barely imagine today’.

The 2011 winner and recipient of the $1.5 million prize fund was Vestas, a Danish manufacturer of wind turbine technology. For over 30 years, Vestas has been introducing innovative ideas to promote clean, renewable wind power as one of the world's mainstream power solutions, and is relentlessly committed to establishing wind as a large-scale, sustainable alternative to oil and gas.

Its credentials speak for itself, having manufactured an incredible 41,000 turbines for clients in 65 countries across five continents. This equates to more than 60 million MWh of energy each year, which in layperson’s terms, is sufficient to power 21 million people.

Not content with owning the largest share in the market, the company’s ongoing quest for better, more efficient products has produced a new turbine, V112-3.0 MW; it’s the most reliable product on the market today and the most efficient of it’s class.

On announcing Vestas as the 2011 winner, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said, "Vestas is a worthy winner, having pioneered large-scale innovation in wind power and for its positive impact on the energy needs of humanity."

Dr. R.K. Pachauri, chairman of the jury and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said, "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."

Woods Hardwick were pleased to see Vestas scoop the top prize – as an architectural company that is dedicated to producing sustainable designs and keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and products available in the renewable energy market, they fully acknowledge the huge impact Vestas has had.

Lars Huntley, Associate Director at Woods Hardwick commented, “Denmark has always been at the forefront of wind energy production and research, so it’s great to see Vestas win the Zayed Future Energy Prize. It’s fantastic that an Arab State is interested in proactively encouraging alternative energy sources in such a high-profile way – forward thinking for all!”.

So, what did Vestas plan to do with their $1.5 million prize? In a totally selfless and inspiring move, they immediately announced that they would split their prize fund into two, and give both portions away to more needy organisations. The first $750,000 was donated to a new non-governmental organisation called WindMade that has seven big-named partners: The UN Global Compact, The World Wildlife Fund, the Global Wind Energy Council, Bloomberg, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and LEGO.  The company is currently behind a bid tolaunch a new certification standard, guaranteeing products have been made using wind power, thus taking wind power one step further into the consumer market.

The second $750,000 was split between the three other finalists for the 2011 Zayed Future Energy Prize, Bunker Roy, Director of Barefoot College, Jons Van der Hyden, Vice President of business development EMEA, First Solar and Terry Tamminen, founder and Chief Executive of 7th Generation Advisors.

From a total of 391 submission spanning a staggering 69 countries, Woods Hardwick definitely feel the right company won, and certainly applaud their actions regarding  the prize fund.

As leaders in the field of sustainable designs and architecture, Woods Hardwick are currently working on a number of schemes that have received planning approval to incorporate wind turbines; and, as a company whole-heartedly committed to using renewable energy sources and products, we are constantly updating our portfolio and methods of working.


For more information about our projects, or to enquire about a BREEAM Assessor or Code for Sustainable Homes AssessorFind Article, please go to our website.

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Karl Myhill is a Director at Woods Hardwick, one of the UK's leading multi-disciplinary architectural practices. With over 40 years' experience within the industry, our knowledge and expertise is unrivalled and provides the basis for our inspirational and cutting edge designs. Our award-winning team delivers cost-effective, successful solutions and excellent customer suppo

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