Georgetown University running nationwide energy competition

Last week, Georgetown University announced its plan to run a nationwide competition relating to green energy. Professor Francis Slakey, who is the executive director of the Energy Prize, talked about the genesis of the competition with local reporters. It began in 2012, at a workshop that was taking place at the university, where local government leaders were discussing ways they could combat the growing issue of climate change.

The challenge is open to all municipalities in the United States with a population of anywhere from 5,000 to 250,000 residents. The purpose of setting these limits was to target smaller communities, as they are less likely to have up and running energy efficient projects than their larger counterparts. The competition is run by the Georgetown University Environment Initiative and the Program on Science in the Public Interest.

"The main objective is to transform the way America uses energy because right now in America today, we are wasting half the energy that we use," Professor Slakey told reporters.

The challenge's grand prize is a $5 million check that is to be used to fund energy-efficient programs in the winning city. Although Georgetown is running the competition, the money will not be coming from the school, but will instead be provided by both the American Gas Foundation and the Joyce Foundation, the two groups that are sponsoring the work.

Slakey says the ultimate goal of the competition is not the money, but to get local communities involved in improving their impact on the environment. As of last week, 51 cities across the country have signed up to participate, already exceeding the projected 50.

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