The City of Holland has been selected to advance to the quarterfinalist round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a $5 million national incentive competition that aims to dramatically improve America’s energy standing by challenging communities across the U.S. to reduce their energy consumption.
The City currently has a 40-year strategic energy plan underway, and has a long history of large-scale, energy efficiency programs, including:
- capturing waste heat from energy production for the downtown snowmelt system;
- installing LED pedestrian lighting downtown and at Centennial Park;
- converting traffic signals to LEDs;
- determining next generation energy production at the upcoming Holland Energy Park, which cuts greenhouse and other emissions by more than 60 percent;
- offering a wide variety of utility energy efficiency and educational programs.
“Holland is a leader in researching and implementing ways to save and reduce energy, which gives us a strong starting position for the Georgetown Energy Prize,” said Ryan Cotton, city manager. “Additionally, our history of collaboration and cooperation between community organizations gives us a competitive edge we need to make it into the next round.”
The City has assembled a collaborative team, outlined a plan and has secured commitments from local government, utilities and several community-based organizations such as Holland Board of Public Works, Hope College, Grand Valley State University, West Coast Chamber of Commerce, Good Samaritan Ministries, Michigan Saves, Holland Public Schools, SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company, the Holland Community Sustainability Committee, and the Community Foundation.
Holland plans to use the Energy Prize process to assemble new programs, best practices and methods to communicate additional ways to save energy, save money and increase the environmental quality of life for its residents. During the next few months, Holland will fine tune energy efficiency plans, and will look to the community for input and participation in the competition.
In total, during the two years of the GUEP competition, there is the potential to save more than $1 billion in total energy costs and cut millions of tons of CO2 emissions, collectively among competing cities. If awarded the $5 million prize, it will be used on energy efficiency programs that help ensure the continued implementation of the plan.
Dr. Francis Slakey, founder of the $5 million competition at Georgetown University, remarked that, “the communities we selected are leaders in energy efficiency who will develop innovative approaches that will inspire and enable others to follow in their footsteps.”
To learn more about the Georgetown University Energy Prize and to track the competition’s progress, visit www.guep.org, or follow the Prize on Twitter (@GUEnergyPrize)