Competing For A Cleaner Energy Future And $5 Million

Jan 21, 2015

Three Vermont communities are in the running for Georgetown University's $5 million Energy Prize. The contest's goal is to "to rethink the way American communities use energy." Fifty semifinalist communities from across the United States were announced last week. The field will be narrowed to a finalist round in 2017.

Montpelier, South Burlington and Waterbury/Duxbury are among the 50 competing communities from 26 states. To be eligible to take part in the competition, communities needed to demonstrate they had "assembled a team, developed compelling and detailed plans, and secured commitments from their local government, electric and natural gas utilities, and community organizations" to reduce energy consumption over two years.

Dr. Francis Slakey is founder and executive director of the Georgetown University Energy Prize. He stated in a press release, "For every competitor, this is a community-wide effort: elementary schools, civics organizations, church groups, businesses, governments, and utilities have all united to help their community build a better energy future, and bring home the prize.”

“The competition looks truly like America,” said Slakey, “Not only do these communities come from across the map, they represent the nation’s full political, social and economic diversity. Some are paying the highest prices for energy, some have the ambition to be carbon net-zero, but all the communities share the goal of transforming America’s energy future.”

The semifinalist communities have various approaches to reducing energy consumption, from policy-making to "mobilizing kids as a vector for change by creating a 'pester power' campaign."