The Middle East is almost synonymous with oil. Indeed, many of its countries are rich beyond comparison because of their vast oil deposits. Surprisingly, however these petroleum-soaked countries are among some of the first to acknowledge that the future of energy lies with renewable sources.

The Zayed Future Energy Prize is an award managed by Masdar on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government. The annual competition celebrates achievements that reflect impact, innovation, long-term vision and leadership in renewable energy and sustainability. If you’ve got a potentially world-changing idea in either of these areas, now’s the time to think about entering: there’s $4 million in prize monies up for grabs.

Zayed Future Energy Prize
Image via Zayed Future Energy Prize

Launched in 2008, the Prize has gained global recognition and built a strong reputation as the most influential award in the renewable energy and sustainability community. The competition is open to applicants in the categories of large corporation, small and medium enterprise (SME), non-governmental organization (NGO), individual lifetime achievement and high schools.

Winners are chosen according to a rigorous four-stage selection process. In the fourth and final stage, a jury comprised of heads of state, leading academics, energy experts and world renowned sustainability luminaries, discuss and select winners and runners up in each award category. Winners are chosen based on the Prize’s four main criteria: impact, long-term vision, leadership and innovation.

The previous year’s prize winners included Siemens (large corporation), the San Francisco-based solar technology provider d.light design (SME), the Boston-based nonprofit Ceres (NGO), Dr. Jose Goldemberg (Lifetime Achievement) and four high schools representing regions around the world. Submissions have increased by approximately 300 percent over the past five years as global recognition of the Prize has grown. The United States led the world in submissions for the 2013 prize, accounting for nearly a quarter of all entries.

The closing date for 2014 Prize submissions is August 5, 2013, so you’ve got plenty of time to add your idea to the mix.

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