Palo Alto Goes Up Against 50+ Towns for $5M Energy Prize

Release from the CITY OF PALO ALTO:

Not content to rest on its “green laurels,” the City of Palo Alto has taken an important step towards even greater energy efficiency by signaling its intent to compete for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition that aims to challenge communities across the U.S. to dramatically rethink their energy use.
At a press conference in Washington, D.C. today, Palo Alto was announced as one of more than 50 communities who have signed letters of intent to compete for the Prize. 

City Manager Jim Keene points out that “Palo Alto is proud of its leadership role on environmental issues and this new challenge, coming on the heels of our city’s move to purchase only 100 percent carbon-neutral electricity, is a great way to keep pushing ourselves to raise the bar.” 

As of today, the Georgetown University Energy Prize’s Application Phase is now officially launched. 

As one of the nearly 9,000 eligible U.S. communities (populations between 5,000 and 250,000), Palo Alto’s Utilities Department staff will work closely with local energy efficiency experts to develop an aggressive energy-saving game plan. 

“Palo Alto has been actively promoting energy efficiency in our community since the 1970s, “ notes Chief Sustainability Officer Gil Friend, who adds, “We’ve gotten most of the ‘low-hanging fruit’ and now our challenge is to take it to the next level.” 

Once Palo Alto’s plan has been submitted, it will be evaluated against applications from other interested communities and considered for potential advancement to the Quarterfinals, 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 energy efficiency initiatives, we must commit to addressing our national energy problem together, one community at a time.” 

“We can build on a long track-record of effective programs ranging from solar and efficiency rebates to green power purchase option and beyond.  Our customers have always been our allies in the process to improve efficiency and we know we can count on them to help step up Palo Alto’s game even further,” said Utilities Director Valerie Fong. 

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, visitwww.guep.org, or follow the Prize on Twitter (@GUEnergyPrize) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/guenergyprize). 


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