Green visions drive forward sustainability
2013-02-05 Leave a comment
9 January 2013
Building on its success in 2012, the Zayed Future Energy Prize, launched in 2008 and managed by Masdar, will award five distinct categories during its 2013 awards ceremony.
The initiative represents the vision of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding father of the UAE, who championed environmental stewardship and sustainability as a fundamental aspect of the UAE’s heritage. The annual award celebrates achievements that reflect impact, innovation, long-term vision and leadership in renewable energy and sustainability.
The Zayed Future Energy Prize has recognised some of the most innovative, visionary leaders in global sustainability. Winners, finalists, and other entrants have made a significant positive impact on the world’s environment with their path-breaking solutions.
In a six-part series, we profile organisations that have shown leadership and long-term vision in championing the cause of renewable energy and sustainability. In this concluding part, we profile the company Build Your Dreams (BYD), which has been nominated in the Large Corporation category.
The China-based company was founded in 1995 with a team of 20 and a capital fund of 2.5 million renminbi, with the Nickel–Cadmium (Ni-Cd) battery as its main product. Build Your Dreams (BYD) has since then grown to become an international company covering IT, auto, and new energy sectors with around 180,000 employees and 11 industrial plants in China. BYD is committed to research and development in battery technology and energy storage and has registered significant success in the electrical vehicles sector.
In an interview, Zhao Tong, general manager of the Solar Division of Build Your Dreams, sheds light on his company’s vision and the biggest issues facing renewable energy adoption.
How did you hear about the Zayed Future Energy Prize?
The Zayed Future Energy Prize is globally known among the renewable energy and sustainability sector. The prize represents clear leadership, vision and a coherent sustainable strategy for the long-term future of the renewable energy sector. Build Your Dreams is dedicated to these objectives.
What is the vision that BYD is founded on?
BYD develops battery energy storage stations with Fe-batteries (iron batteries), which can store the electricity generated by clean energy, so the safety and stability of power grids can be reinforced and power can be directed to the power grid. The stored electricity can be transmitted to industrial parks, shopping centres and other urban facilities to meet the growing demand in electricity.
We wish to extend the benefits of our technology not only to urban areas but also to rural parts of the world and countries with affordable ability.
How would you quantify your success to date?
Build Your Dreams has built long-term partnerships with NOKIA, Samsung, Apple, Motorola, Sony Mobile Communications, Huawei, ZTE, TCL, Kyocera, Lenovo, Vtion Toyota, GM, Ford, Land Rover and Daimler Benz.
We continue to build dreams in all the countries we have partnerships with. China now has 300 e-taxis and 250 e-buses in Shenzhen City, the largest taxi and transportation fleet in the world. We have also launched the first all-electric rental car in China, in conjunction with Hertz, and 1,000 families in Tibet now get power free of cost from the BYD home energy system while a 100MWh energy storage system secures the power usage.
In North America, BYD’s energy storage system supports Chevron. Electric vehicles serve the Los Angeles government and solar street lighting is used in Canada. In South America, BYD solar is powering projects in Brazil with BYD LED lights being utilised in Chile, Argentina, Columbia and Uruguay.
In Africa, BYD solar and LED lighting helps people access lighting and power. In Asia, BYD home energy system is resolving the Japanese power shortage that resulted from the Fukushima nuclear disaster and in Europe, several countries have built solar farms with BYD solar.
What are the biggest market areas for growth for your organisation?
Currently, the biggest market is Europe and North America, but the situation is changing. In the near future, the Middle East, South Africa and North America will serve as our key markets.
What, in your opinion, are the three biggest issues facing renewable energy adoption? Human capital? Innovation? Other standpoint?
Lack of or unstable government support
System solution cost is still higher than traditional energy solutions
People are not very familiar with renewable energy
How has applying for the prize incentivised you to learn more about the UAE and Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan?
The UAE and Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan gave the world a notable platform for developing and awarding innovation in renewable energy. The UAE is leading the way in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for renewable energy development. We are eager to support the generation of renewable energy in the MENA region, starting with the UAE.
What do you think of the newly launched Global High School Prize category?
Students are the future. They can change the world with this incentive policy. More and more schools and students will make efforts to develop, use, and talk about renewable energy. It is not only good for education, but also for our political, economic and cultural future.
Categories for the prize
Five distinct categories during the 2013 awards ceremony:
Large Corporation: recognition award
Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME): US$1.5 million
Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO): US$1.5 million
Lifetime Achievement Award: US $500,000
Global High School Prize:US$500,000 divided among five regions with each school awarded up to US$100,000 (Africa, Asia, the Americas, Oceania, and Europe).
All categories are assessed on the basis of four key criteria: impact, innovation, leadership and long-term vision.
The award ceremony will take place on January 15, 2013, as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.