In Washington, D.C. today, Holland was announced as one of the more than 50 cities that have signed a letter of intent to compete for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition that aims to dramatically improve America’s energy standing by challenging communities across the U.S. to rethink their energy use. This was announced locally in a press release from the Holland Board of Public Works.
“Holland aspires to be world class in everything we do,” said Mayor Kurt Dykstra, “and that includes managing our energy usage. The Georgetown University Energy Prize competition is an ideal opportunity for the Holland community to demonstrate our ability to save money while enhancing the environment at the same time.”
With today’s press conference, The Georgetown University Energy Prize’s Application Phase is officially open for the nearly 9,000 eligible U.S. communities with a population between 5,000 and 250,000. During the application phase, the City of Holland will submit an application to be considered for advancement to the Quarterfinalist Phase. If selected as a Quarterfinalist, the City of Holland and Holland BPW will work closely with SEMCO ENERGY, the Holland Community Sustainability Committee and others to submit its energy-saving plan.
Holland will use its long-range Community Energy Plan (CEP), developed in 2011 with the guidance of Garforth International, as the template for the application. Since the CEP was developed, seven citizen-led task forces have formed to develop implementation plans for scale projects including: Home Energy Retrofit, District Heating, Industrial Park Integrated Energy Services, Building Energy Performance Labeling, Electric Generation, Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency, and Education and Outreach.
Once Holland’s plan is submitted, it will be evaluated against applications from other interested communities and considered for potential advancement to the Semifinals, and Finals. The Prize will conclude in 2017, when one winning community is awarded a $5 million prize purse for use on energy efficiency programs that help ensure the continued implementation of its long-term energy-saving plan.
“Many homes, schools, businesses, governments, and individuals have already begun to do their part in reducing energy consumption – but it’s not enough,” said Dr. Francis Slakey, Executive Director of the Georgetown University Energy Prize. “In order to fully realize the benefits of the energy efficiency initiatives, we must commit to addressing our national energy problem together, one community at a time.”
“The Georgetown University Energy Prize competition is exactly what Holland needs to galvanize our multi-year efforts to implement Holland’s Community Energy Plan,” said Ryan Cotton, city manager. “We hope to learn best practice and communicate ways to save energy, save money and increase environmental quality of life improvement for our residents as an outcome in addition to competing for the Prize. Each community can become a winner in the competition.”
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) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/guenergyprize).