Back in Abu Dhabi for the ninth World Future Energy Summit, and the eighth Award Ceremony for the Zayed Future Energy Prize, which I’ve been involved in from the start as a member of the Selection Committee.

As ever, despite all the inevitable ambiguities in celebrating the world of sustainable energy in a land that’s still awash with oil and gas, it’s impossible not to be inspired by this event, and by the growing confidence of the organisations and business now driving forward the sustainable energy revolution.

And Abu Dhabi’s leadership in all this has been particularly impressive. While almost all the Gulf States have dabbled in a bit of renewables on the side, Abu Dhabi has thought it through strategically. It’s still a very influential producer of oil and gas, but the commitment to renewables and clean-tech in general is serious – and, dare I say it, entirely sincere.

The Zayed Future Energy Prize is the most public face of that strategic commitment. The prize money alone (of $4m) speaks volumes, as does the process that lies behind the selection of the final winners. Our job on the Selection Committee is to whittle down a long shortlist to three or four finalists, from which the jury then selects the winners.

You can see all this year’s winners on the Zayed Future Energy Prize website.

Just a couple of comments on two of the winners.

First, Kopernik, a still-small NGO, doing great stuff in Indonesia, reaching some extremely poor communities with solar lights and clean energy. With a big emphasis on training up local women to do the heavy lifting for new schemes and maintenance – the ‘Wonder Women’ as they describe them!

The winner of the Large Corporation Recognition Award was the company that sold the most electric vehicles in 2015. And who might that be? No, not Nissan. No, not Tesla. No, not BMW! It’s actually a Chinese company called BYD (Build Your Dreams) that sold more than 68,000 electric vehicles in 2015 – ’22.13% more than Tesla’, as they claimed with some pride!

And the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award was none other than Gro Harlem Brundtland – who merits a separate blog all of her own.

And to find out more about the collective impact of the Prize over the last eight years, check out