Wind energy Vestas awarded world?s most prestigious energy prize

Abu Dhabi: Vestas was last night awarded The Zayed Future Energy Prize 2011. This is the largest and most prestigious award in innovation, leadership and achievement of concrete results in the field of renewable energy. The prize of 1.5 million U.S. dollars has already been donated by Vestas to further enhance the spread of renewable energy.

A record number of companies and organizations – 391 – from 69 countries participated in this year’s competition for the world’s most prestigious award in renewable energy. Just six of those were nominated as finalists late Tuesday night in Abu Dhabi. The award was presented by Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other prestigious guests.

Chariman of The Zayed Future Energy Prize jury, former Nobel Peace Prize laureate and chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Dr. RK Pachauri, described Vestas as "fully meeting the three criteria of the prize – innovation, leadership and a long term vision.” He explained: "for over 30 years, Vestas turbines have been among the most innovative in the world across the industry. Not only has the company – almost single-handedly – been a pioneer in the wind power industry, it simultaneously succeeded in spite of the fact that they are established in a small country." Dr. Pachauri also stressed that Vestas has demonstrated considerable leadership despite numerous obstacles through the company’s 31-year history – and this has brought Vestas forward to the position as the world leader in renewable energy.

Passion is the key to success

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 power as cheap as possible for both our customers and end users worldwide. That’s basically all we are concerned about."

The prize of 1.5 million U.S. dollars was promptly donated by Ditlev Engel. 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 number four, five and six in the final. They can look forward to each receive $ 250,000 – earmarked for use that supports the recipient’s development in renewable energy.

Last year the prize went to Toyota for the third generation of the fuel-efficient hybrid Prius. The Zayed Future Energy Prize expresses the vision of the late founder and president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan.

Sheikh Zayedwas was known as a frontrunner in environmental issues. The Zayed Future Energy Prize, held annually, was created to celebrate and honor individuals, companies or organizations through innovation, leadership and long-term vision in renewable energy and sustainability. The prize is often referred to as ‘Energy World Nobel’.

Prominent members of the jury

The jury, which decides who should receive the price, is composed of some of the world’s leading people in the renewable energy and climate change.

Chairman of the Jury, Dr. R.K. Pachauri of India. Pachauri has since 2002 been chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and received in 2007, along with Al Gore, The Nobel Peace Prize.