Holland Joins Communities Across the Nation in Race for $5 Million Georgetown University Energy Prize

Press release date: Fri Apr 25th, 2014

Holland, MI – April 23, 2014 — In Washington, D.C. today, Holland was announced as one of the more than 50 cities that have signed a letter of intent to compete for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition that aims to dramatically improve America’s energy standing by challenging communities across the U.S. to rethink their energy use.

"Holland aspires to be world class in everything we do,” said Mayor Kurt Dykstra, “and that includes managing our energy usage.  The Georgetown University Energy Prize competition is an ideal opportunity for the Holland community to demonstrate our ability to save money while enhancing the environment at the same time.”

With today’s press conference, The Georgetown University Energy Prize’s Application Phase is officially open for the nearly 9,000 eligible U.S. communities with a population between 5,000 and 250,000.  During the application phase, the City of Holland will submit an application to be considered for advancement to the Quarterfinalist Phase.  If selected as a Quarterfinalist, the City of Holland and Holland BPW will work closely with SEMCO ENERGY, the Holland Community Sustainability Committee and others to submit its energy-saving plan.

Holland will use its long-range Community Energy Plan (CEP), developed in 2011 with the guidance of Garforth International, as the template for the application.  Since the CEP was developed, seven citizen-led task forces have formed to develop implementation plans for scale projects including: Home Energy Retrofit, District Heating, Industrial Park Integrated Energy Services, Building Energy Performance Labeling, Electric Generation, Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency, and Education and Outreach.

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

“The Georgetown University Energy Prize competition is exactly what Holland needs to galvanize our multi-year efforts to implement Holland’s Community Energy Plan,” said Ryan Cotton, city manager.  “We hope to learn best practice and communicate ways to save energy, save money and increase environmental quality of life improvement for our residents as an outcome in addition to competing for the Prize.  Each community can become a winner in the competition.”

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).

For more information about Holland’s efforts and ways you can get involved, please visit www.cityofholland.com and www.hollandbpw.com or contact Anne Saliers at 616.355.1658.

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 sustainability reducing energy consumption over a two-year period.  For more information, visit www.guep.org.

About the City of Holland

The City of Holland, Michigan is a vibrant, world class community in a beautiful lakefront environment where people work together celebrate community and realize dreams.  Its mission is to provide quality municipal services defined with citizens through their participation and representation; the best conditions under which citizens live, work and play; compassionate leadership in meeting the needs and vision of our community; and a government that serves with honesty and integrity.

About Holland Board of Public Works

The Holland Board of Public Works (HBPW) is a community-owned enterprise providing electric generation and distribution, water, wastewater treatment and broadband utility services to nearly 28,000 business and residential customers in the Holland area. HBPW is committed to enhancing the economic and environmental vitality of the community, providing reliable services at the lowest rates achievable through innovation, efficiency and professional operations.

Release Date:  April 23, 2014

Media Contact:  Anne Saliers (616) 355-1658, Holland Board of Public Works