August 19, 2015

Fifty communities hailing from diverse regions of the US are competing for the Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP), which awards $5 million in prize money to the eventual winner. Competitors—all of which are US communities of between 5,000 and 250,000 citizens—are competing to see which can best demonstrate the ability to develop and implement energy efficiency plans that are innovative, replicable, and scalable, and that produce continual adjustments to per capita energy consumption as measured by residential and municipal energy purchases from local natural gas and electric utilities.

On August 12th, CEE and two CEE member utilities—DTE Energy and National Grid, USA—participated in a nationwide webinar to support the objectives of the GUEP. The purpose of the webinar was to familiarize municipal officials and interested citizens in the competing communities with what local energy utilities have achieved in terms of energy efficiency for their customers. By presenting the potential of tapping into this valuable resource, they have a better chance of maximizing their energy savings. Informing this audience about the broad range of programs available, such as low income, k-12, financing mechanisms, community engagement, and others, the hope was to expand their ideas about how to save energy and encourage them to work with their local utility.

Peter Mills of CEE described how the Consortium’s members work together to advance the uptake of energy efficient products and services. He was joined by representatives of DTE Energy, serving competitors Farmington and Farmington Hills, Michigan, and National Grid, serving Providence, RI. Julie Maher, Director of Energy Efficiency Education and Awareness at DTE, led webinar attendees though a discussion of the various electric efficiency programs available to DTE residential and commercial customers, and Angela Li, Energy Efficiency Analyst at National Grid, described her company’s efforts to deepen engagement with local communities through the Rhode Island Energy Challenge. Attendees also heard from representatives of natural gas members including Liberty Utilities, South Jersey Natural Gas, and Ameren Illinois.

You may have competing communities within your jurisdiction. These communities are highly motivated to reduce their energy consumption in a way that yields continuing improvements within their own community as well as replication in other communities. Finalists will be identified in January, 2017, with the eventual winner being announced in mid-2017.

The $5 million in prize money is to be spent on energy efficiency programs that reward the winning community as a whole, and support the long-term implementation of plans that result in enduring benefits of energy efficiency.

About CEE
CEE is an award-winning consortium of efficiency program administrators from the United States and Canada. Members work to unify program approaches across jurisdictions to increase the success of efficiency in markets. By joining forces at CEE, individual electric and gas efficiency programs are able to partner not only with each other, but also with other industries, trade associations, and government agencies. Working together, administrators leverage the effect of their ratepayer funding, exchange information on successful practices and, by doing so, achieve greater energy efficiency for the public good.