Last week The Environmental Center signaled its intent to compete for the Georgetown University Energy Prize. The Prize is a national competition that aims to dramatically improve America’s energy standing by challenging communities across the U.S. to rethink their energy use. The community that leads the way will receive a $5 million prize.
At a press conference in last week Washington, D.C., attended by Lindsey Hardy of The Environmental Center, Bend was announced as one of more than 50 communities who have signed letters of intent to compete for the Prize.
“Central Oregon can and should be a leader in the transition to a clean energy future,” says Mike Riley, Executive Director of The Environmental Center. “Bend has a strong environmental ethic, abundant sunlight, a group of experienced energy sector businesses and professionals, and a strong competitive spirit. We can win this prize!”
At today’s press conference, the Georgetown University Energy Prize’s Application Phase is now officially underway for the nearly 9,000 eligible communities across the U.S. with a population between 5,000 and 250,000. During this Application Phase, The Environmental Center will submit an application to be considered for advancement to the Quarterfinalist Phase. If selected as a Quarterfinalist, they will then have to work closely with local utilities and local energy efficiency experts to develop an energy-saving plan by November, 2014.
The Environmental Center led the local effort to bring Clean Energy Works Oregon to Central Oregon in 2012. That same year, TEC launched Go Solar! Central Oregon ,a grass roots solar campaign based on the popular “Solarize” model. In the upcoming two years of the competition, TEC will be setting ambitious stretch goals related to energy efficiency and renewable energy and will use the competition as a framework around which they can organize and build momentum for clean energy—and perhaps win some money for Bend as well.
Once Quarterfinalist applications have been submitted in June, they will be evaluated and considered for potential advancement to the Semifinals and Finals. The competition will begin in winter 2015 and conclude in 2017, when one winning community will be awarded a $5 million prize to use on energy efficiency programs that ensure 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 energy efficiency initiatives, we must commit to addressing our national energy problem together, one community at a time.”
About Georgetown University Energy Prize
The $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize challenges small- to medium-size towns, cities, and counties to rethink their energy use, and implement creative strategies to increase efficiency. To compete for the Prize, local governments, residents, utilities, and others will need to work together to demonstrate success in sustainably reducing energy consumption over a two-year period. 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 (www.facebook.com/guenergyprize).