JAN 19, 2017 8:17 AM PST

News from Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week


Abu Dhabi is welcoming representatives from 170 countries around the world to discuss the impacts of climate change and possible solutions at the first global summit in 2017, the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW). In celebration of the conference, buildings around the city such as the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Abu Dhabi Global Market HQ, and the Capital Gate at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company have illuminated themselves with green luminescence. Leaders, policy makers and investors are currently meeting at ADSW, the biggest summit on sustainability to take place in the Middle East, to collaborate in making strides to mitigate climate change impacts.

School children learn about renewable energy at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment stall. Ravindranath K / The National

The calendar of events for the summit is busy, with policy procedurals such as the 7th General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Atlantic Council Global Energy Summit. The opening ceremony will consist of presentations from the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week committee, World Future Energy Summit (WFES), International Water Summit (IWS), as well as an exhibition from EcoWASTE.

The Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards Ceremony was also of big interest, as the prizes are seen as some of the most prestigious in the cleantech industry. According to the Masdar Initiative website, “The prize categories (Large Corporation, SME, NGO, Lifetime Achievement and Global High Schools Prize) [for Zayed Future Energy] focus on supporting emerging businesses, individuals and support future generations that have innovative ideas and projects that can create a positive impact on meeting the requirements of our greatest energy and sustainability challenges by providing real-world solutions.” Sonnen, a German based company that won the Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) category along with the $1.5 million that comes with it, is the creator of a smart energy home and commercial energy storage system that “integrates rooftop solar and small-scale wind with home storage batteries and energy management systems,” following The National. Sonnen has already installed 12,000 units with solar panels and small- scale wind solutions, and their customers have been able to produce 41 gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean energy over the course of one year.

The Zayed Future Energy Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded to Li Junfeng of China. Li the Director General of the National Center of Climate Change Strategy Research for the National Development and Reform Commission. His life work has including supporting the Chinese wind and solar PV program. He also holds the authorship of the Chinese Renewable Energy Law. The National reports: “An outspoken opponent of coal and supporter of renewable energy, Li’s policies have enabled China to become the world’s largest renewable energy investor in 2015.”

The other category winners were as follows: General Electric (GE) for the Large Corporation category; Practical Action from the UK for the Non-Profit Organization category. For the Global High Schools category there were winners chosen from every global region: winner in Africa: Starehe Girls’ Center, Kenya; winner in Asia: Green School Bali (Indonesia); winner in the Americas: Unidad Educativa Sagrado Corazón 4, Bolivia; winner in Europe: Belvedere College, Ireland; and winner in Oceania region: Huonville High School, Australia. Each winner receives not only the recognition of the Zayed Future Energy prize, but also a certain sum of money to put toward their environmental ambitions. To learn more about what each winner group does specifically, you can visit The National and watch the prize winners’ videos. The Starehe Girls’ Center video is below.

Sources: The National (1) (2), World Future Energy Summit, Masdar Initiative

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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