The newly created Santa Fe Alliance for Clean Energy (SFEACE) has announced its intent to compete in the Georgetown University Energy Prize on behalf of the city of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County. The prize is a national, multimillion-dollar competition that challenges cities and counties with populations between 5,000 and 250,000 to create and implement energy-saving strategies to reduce their per capita consumption of gas and electricity over two years.
During the current phase of the competition, SFEACE will work with residents, businesses, city and county government officials and energy-efficiency and clean-energy experts to develop a long-term, energy-efficiency and clean-energy plan that will not only deliver to residents and businesses the benefits associated with saving energy but will also help make Santa Fe more sustainable.
Communities will be judged in part on their ability to
- Develop best practices for working with residents, businesses and other energy stakeholders to create and implement effective plans to reduce energy consumption; and,
- Educate the public about why saving energy is important.
At the end of the competition, one community will win $5 million in prize money for use in continuing the energy-efficiency and clean-energy programs it has implemented.
Although it is a competition, cities don’t necessarily need to finish first in order to win. By simply participating in the competition, communities are provided with a host of tools and resources such as counsel from national energy experts, access to federal funding and technical assistance that can help residents and businesses save energy, save money and become greener.
“Many homes, schools, businesses, governments and individuals have already begun to do their part in reducing energy consumption, but it’s not enough,” says 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.”
According to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the United States wastes more than 50 percent of the total energy produced in the country due to energy-inefficient homes and businesses, resulting in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars.
More information about the competition can be found at www.GUEP.org
John Alejandro is the founder of the Santa Fe Alliance for Clean Energy. JAlejandro@SFEACE.org