Fairbanks, AK - Fairbanks and North Pole are among 50 communities competing for a $5 million dollar prize as part of a national energy competition hosted by Georgetown University. Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins says the communities have been working on an eighteen-page application since 2013. It outlines a plan to reduce energy consumption by at least a required 12 percent. “We are now able to start the competition and so from here on out, this is where we will be showing our data that we submit to Georgetown," Hopkins explained.
The Energy Prize aims to help small and medium size communities find innovative ways to become more energy efficient. Mayor Hopkins says entry to the competition has spurred the formation of the Interior Community Energy Efficiency program that includes Golden Valley Electric Association, UAF Alaska Center for Energy and Power, Cold Climate Housing Research Center, and local school districts and governments. “That’s one of the pieces that Georgetown wanted to see in our application is ‘how are you structuring this so it’s across the community?’” he said.
As part of the competition, the two communities will use apps and other communications to work with local students and residents to track reductions in energy consumption. More than 70 communities applied to compete for the prize. Fairbanks and North Pole will to the semifinal round, which continues through 2016. Finalists will advance in the competition in 2017.