A Tasmanian high school has received $US100,000 after taking home an international renewable energy prize.
Huonville High School was one of 14 schools competing worldwide for the Global High Schools Zayed Future Energy Prize, and the only Australian finalist in the competition.
A group of 18 students from the school designed a range of sustainable solutions for their school, including a windmill and a bicycle-powered mobile cinema, and they transformed a school building from a 0.5-star energy rating to a six-star energy rating.
The competition aims to inspire future generations to be “responsible, sustainable citizens”.
Team leader Toby Thorpe, 14, represented the school at the ceremony in Abu Dhabi and was presented with the $100,000 award for the Oceania region, to put the students’ ideas into action.
“The experience of the presentation was absolutely amazing,” Toby told ABC News.
“There were world leaders there from all over the world — I got to meet some of them.”
The school will use some of the prizemoney to introduce an energy training certificate course to Year 11 and 12 students at its Trade Training Centre.
The other four winners in the Global High Schools category were the Starehe Girls’ Center, Kenya for the Africa region; Green School Bali, Indonesia for the Asia region; Bolivia’s Unidad Educativa Sagrado Corazón 4 for the Americas; and Belvedere College in Ireland for Europe.
Now in its ninth cycle, the Zayed Future Energy Prize has positively impacted more than 289 million people through its international community of winners.
This includes providing over 25 million people in Africa and Asia with access to modern, clean energy, off-setting over 1 billion tons of carbon emissions, and ensuring 17 million children of school age can study at night using innovative solar-powered utilities.
“Through the sustainable actions of its winners, the Zayed Future Energy Prize is a model example for how far the world has come in the last nine years. It is extraordinary that, through the impact of each winner and the lives they continue to improve, we now see a growing strength in being able to deliver a sustainable future,” former President of the Republic of Iceland and Chair of the Zayed Future Energy Prize Jury His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson said.