Addu High School has been awarded the Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP) for its achievements in promoting renewable energy and sustainability.
The US$100,000 reward – announced at an award ceremony in Adu Dhabi yesterday evening – was given after the school installed a 2.8kW solar project last year using funds from the UN’s Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme.
The school is now hoping to expand to a 45kW installation that will provide 100 percent of the school’s energy needs by the end of 2015.
“Currently, the school takes most of its power from the electricity grid. The aim of the project is to save the school money, earn money from the sale of surplus power and raise awareness of clean energy and sustainable development among pupils,” explained the prize’s official website.
The ZFEP was launched in 2008 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, to commemorate the environmental advocacy of his father – himself posthumously awarded the UN’s Champions of the Earth award in 2005.
The annual US$4million prize fund is divided into five categories: large corporations, small and medium enterprises, NGOs, lifetime achievement awards, and global high schools.
US$500,000 for the high schools is divided into five US$100,000 awards for schools in the the Americas, Europe, Africa, Oceania, Asia, with Addu High School chosen ahead of schools in Abu Dhabi, Sri Lanka, and India.
The jury of selectors included Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, and former South Korean Prime Minister Dr Han Seung-Soo, as well former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed.
“ZFEP’s achievements would surely bring tears of happiness to all Maldivians. Congratulations to Addu High School,” tweeted Nasheed.
Nasheed also congratulated former US Vice President Al Gore, who received the ZFEP lifetime achievement award yesterday.
— Mohamed Nasheed (@MohamedNasheed) January 19, 2015
Minister for Environment and Energy Thoriq Ibrahim – in Abu Dhabi himself last weekend for the fifth session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) – has also offered his congratulations.
The ministry revealed that discussions were to take place on the sidelines of the IRENA session regarding the start of practical work on a clean energy project to be funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD).
The Dh22million (US$6 million) in concessionary loans was announced during last year’s IRENA session, with Maldivian media stating the Addu City had been confirmed as one of three areas where waste will be converted to clean energy for water desalination.
It was also announced in September that the government had a five-year target to generate 30 percent of electricity from renewable energy sources, though the government has also pledged to search for oil within the Maldives’ territorial waters.
Last month, the ministry completed installation of the country’s largest solar panel project, on the island of Thinadhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. The scheme is set to provide 50 percent of the island’s electricity needs.
A US$11 million 395 kW solar energy project funded by Japan was completed in the capital Malé last year, while a 100 percent solar-powered luxury resort called Gasfinolhu opens for business this month.
Diesel fuel accounts for the bulk of the energy supply in the Maldives, with electricity generation taking up around 40 percent. Petrol products also constitute one third of the country’s imports, amounting to around US$570 million in 2014.
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