Media releases

Access to clean energy dominates EI Awards 2017


Solutions addressing two of humanity’s most pressing challenges - climate change and access to energy for vulnerable populations - have dominated the winners list of the Energy Institute (EI) Awards 2017.

Among those recognised at last night’s prestigious ceremony in London were Community Initiative Award winner Renewable World, who’s Lighting up Lake Victoria Programme saw community owned and managed energy hubs installed across six communities on the shores of Lake Victoria. The solar microgrids provide fishing communities in these areas with a clean and affordable alternative to harmful, expensive kerosene, and have also created new income opportunities, alleviating poverty levels in this rural community

The Energy Excellence Award, which recognises the most impressive project or individual across the nine EI Award categories, was given to the Sarhad Rural Support Programme which undertakes renewable and sustainable energy projects in remote and mountainous villages across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Northern Pakistan. This important initiative has brought village-scale micro-hydro power schemes to people living in the isolated villages of this region, providing over 870,000 people with their first ever access to electricity. The outcomes of the programme have been truly life-changing.

EI Vice-President Steve Holliday FREng FEI opened the Awards praising the inspiring individuals working in energy:

“Daily life simply would not be possible without the millions of ingenious women and men working in energy throughout the world, be that in conventional oil and gas or the most advanced low carbon and energy efficient technologies.”

“The EI Awards is a celebration of the energy professionals working tirelessly to provide us with energy that is safe, reliable and sustainable.”

The celebrations took place yesterday evening at the Sheraton Grand Park Lane Hotel in London and were hosted by former England Rugby star and A Question of Sport team captain, Matt Dawson MBE.

EI Chief Executive, Louise Kingham OBE FEI said:

“The transition to low carbon energy and opening up energy to vulnerable populations are two of the biggest challenges facing humanity. The incredible individuals and teams working around the world to provide solutions often go unnoticed. But the EI Awards is their moment to shine, and ours to celebrate their achievements.”

The winners of the EI Awards 2017 are:

Communication Award, sponsored by Myriad Global Media

Big Green Machine for Project Earth Rock (PER) 

A multimedia resource that builds climate change education into the curriculum. It provides teachers with access to lesson plans on environmental issues in 12 core topic areas, as well media resources, including songs and animations, which can be used to fully engage pupils on climate change issues.

Community Initiative Award, sponsored by Nexen Petroleum UK

Renewable World for Lighting Up Lake Victoria Programme

Initiated in 2013 with Comic Relief funding, Renewable World have installed six community owned and run energy hubs. The communities have benefitted from an increase in income, a reduction in burns and illness, and fewer food shortages.

Efficiency Award, sponsored by the Energyst

London Metropolitan University for Lighting Up London Met

Lighting Up London Met consisted of three areas – installing 3,170 LEDs, 221 PV panels and 914 windows. The project brightened up the University by improving light quality and utilised sunlight to generate energy. This resulted in the University meeting and exceeding its 2020 carbon reduction target 4 years early.

Energy Champion Award, sponsored by Wincanton

Sonya Bedford, Head of Energy Team, Stephens Scown

Sonya leads the Energy Team at Stephens Scown and her commitment, drive and passion for all renewable energy is second to none. Sonya acts for over 20 community energy groups and was responsible for establishing the UK’s first grid consortium and grid sharing agreements for communities.

Environment Award, sponsored by ENOC

Solapac Ltd for Solapac

The Solapac is a solar PV and water purification system designed around an ISO container. This mobile unit can be installed in an hour using local resource and once installed it delivers affordable ‘grid-quality’ power, purified water, and telecommunications to remote locations. The Solapac provides renewable energy and cost reduction immediately, wherever the demand is.

Innovation Award, sponsored by Palmer International Partnership

Extreme Low Energy (ELe) for Low Energy Computing for Schools

ELe’s DC micro-grid systems typically run on 70% less energy than existing technologies. When combined with ELe battery systems, the DC infrastructure solution allows the most efficient adoption of alternative energy solutions, eliminating the need for mains electricity and allowing customers to operate partially or fully off grid.

Safety Award, sponsored by Shell

Baker Hughes, a GE company for The Perfect HSE Day

The ‘Perfect HSE Day’ was designed to achieve Breakthrough HSE Performance. It connects broadly with employees on a personal level, in a way that statistical improvement goals never could. HSE goals that change from year to year can leave employees disconnected and feeling that they are back at square one. Instead, ‘The Perfect HSE Day’ illustrates how breakthrough performance improvement can be achieved using an evergreen concept that can evolve and grow indefinitely.

Technology Award, sponsored by SAI Global

Cadent (formerly National Grid Gas Distribution) for BioSNG Demonstration Plant

The project proved the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of converting household waste to renewable bio-substitute natural gas (BioSNG) by constructing and operating a demonstration plant. This technology greatly increases the availability of renewable gas for heat and transport.

Young Energy Professional of the Year, sponsored by Aramco Overseas

Tobi Babalola, Low Carbon Network Design Engineer, UK Power Networks

Tobi is a hugely passionate young engineer who is driven to use his talent to enable a low carbon future. Since joining UK Power Networks as a graduate in 2009 he has become an authority on low carbon technologies and has used his expertise to successfully challenge accepted thinking.

Energy Excellence Award, sponsored by Amey

Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP) for Community led renewable and sustainable energy projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Northern Pakistan

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region, Pakistan is one of the most remote and challenging areas of the world to live. With no mains electricity in many villages, life grinds to a halt after sunset. But something the mountainous area does have in abundance is water. Since 2004, SRSP has built 326 micro-hydro-schemes producing 27-megawatt electricity, benefiting a population of over 870,000.

Highly commended mentions:

Community Initiative

Bright Green Hydrogen for The Levenmouth Community Energy Project

The Levenmouth Community Energy Project has created a hydrogen based smart microgrid within a business park in Fife, Scotland with several world-first applications. The microgrid and vehicle fleet will allow greater usage of the renewable electricity generated locally and will give businesses a first taste of hydrogen vehicles.

Young Energy Professional of the Year 

Rose Atkinson CEng MEI, Research and Development Manager, SolarNow

Throughout Rose’s career she has shown drive across the industry both through jobs and volunteering positions. Skills and knowledge developed whilst working in the oil and gas sector have been successfully transferred across to off-grid solar to match her passion for creating societal impact.

Notes for editors

1.The Energy Institute (EI) is the professional membership body bringing global energy expertise together.
We gather and share essential knowledge about energy, the skills that are helping us use it more wisely, and the good practice that keeps it safe and secure.

We articulate the voice of energy experts, taking the know-how of around 20,000 members from 120 countries to the heart of the public debate.

And we’re an independent, not-for-profit, safe space for evidence-based collaboration, an honest broker between industry, academia and policy makers. @EnergyInstitute

2.The EI Awards event is an important fixture in the industry's social calendar, which brings together high-profile, influential guests from across the globe to network, celebrate, entertain, and be inspired by the industry's successes.

3.For more information please contact Isabelle Wilton, Communications Officer at the Energy Institute at or 020 7467 7173