Vestas, the Danish wind-turbine powerhouse, won the 2011 Zayed Future Energy Prize, and immediately turned around and said it would give the $1.5 million prize money away. Half, Vestas said, would go to WindMade, the new initiative to develop and promote a standard for products made from wind-generated energy. The other half would be split among three other finalists for the award.
“We quickly agreed that we should seize this opportunity to extend the impact of the Zayed Future Energy Prize through redistributing the cash award to other collaborative entities consistent with the ideals of the Prize,” Vestas CEO Ditlev Engal said in a statement.
According to MAKE Consulting, Vestas had 19 percent of the world wind turbine market in 2008. It remained No. 1 in 2009, though its market share fell to around 15.4 percent in 2009 as Chinese manufacturers made big gains.
In giving the Zayed prize to Vestas, the award organizers said “the judges were particularly impressed with the company’s long-term vision, demonstrating the ability to scale up through a commercially viable business model, and for its outstanding contribution to the renewable energy industry.”
The Rocky Mountain Institute’s Amory Lovins and clean energy investment company E+Co snared $350,000 apiece as runners-up to Vestas. But thanks to the company’s decision to give away its winnings, the three other finalists also went away well-compensated, with $750,000 split equally among Bunker Roy, Director, Barefoot College; Jons Van der Hyden, Vice President, First Solar; and Terry Tamminen, CEO and Founder of 7th Generation Advisors.