The first annual Zayed Future Energy Prize was awarded tonight by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to Mr. Dipal Chandra Barua, Founding Managing Director of Grameen Shakti for his visionary efforts to bring renewable energy solutions to the rural population of Bangladesh.
The Zayed Future Energy Prize finalist, Dr. Martin Green, was also recognized at the award ceremony for his groundbreaking research in photovoltaic (PV) technology that will result in increased efficiencies, bringing solar energy closer to grid parity.
The Prize was launched in January 2008 at the inaugural World Future Energy Summit to honour the legacy of environmental stewardship of the UAE’s late ruler and founding father, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The award winner, Mr. Barua, and the finalist, Dr. Green will receive US$1.5 million and US$350,000, respectively, to accelerate the development of their innovations.
Mr. Barua’s organization, Grameen Shakti (GS), has installed more than 200,000 solar PV systems that currently provide power for more than two million rural people. Under Mr. Barua’s leadership, GS has developed a number of other innovative initiatives, including a biogas technology that converts cow and poultry waste into gas for cooking, lighting and fertilizer. GS has installed more than 6,000 biogas plants and plans to construct 500,000 more by 2012. In addition, GS has trained rural women to be solar technicians hereby enabling green entrepreneurs through a highly successful micro-credit program.