Aspen Selected to Compete for $5 Million Energy Efficiency Prize

Press Release

Aspen Selected to Compete for $5 Million Energy Efficiency Prize

Contact:  Ryland French, Energy Efficiency Intern, 970-429-1969 or or Jeff Rice, Utilities Efficiency Manager, 970-920-5118 or

Aspen, Colorado – September 3, 2014 – The City of Aspen and its leadership partners have been selected to advance to the quarterfinalist round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a $5 million incentive competition to reduce America’s energy consumption. 

The Georgetown University Energy Prize aims to rethink America’s energy use by harnessing the ingenuity and community spirit of towns and cities all across America. Over the course of a two-year period, the Prize will challenge small- to medium-size towns, cities, and counties to develop a long-term energy efficiency plan and to demonstrate initial effectiveness. The winning community will receive a projected $5 million to be spent on energy-efficiency programs that reward the community as a whole.

“Just by competing, Aspen will strengthen its energy efficiency programs,” commented Ryland French, Energy Efficiency Intern at the City of Aspen. “We will have access to financial and technical resources, media coverage, and skills building workshops and forums.”

To become one of the 52 communities to advance to the quarterfinalist round, Aspen overcame substantial hurdles to make it into this next stage of the competition. Aspen assembled a team, outlined a plan, and secured signed commitments of collaboration from local government officials, local utilities, and community groups. The leadership team that is managing Aspen’s bid in the competition is made up of the City of Aspen Utilities and Environmental Initiatives Department, Holy Cross Energy, Source Gas, and the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE). 

Aspen’s team will now develop an energy efficiency program plan and submit it to prize officials for approval before advancing to the semifinalist round where communities will compete to reduce their energy use during a two-year period from 2015-2016. The contest will measure how much Aspen reduces its electricity and natural gas usage by residential and municipal accounts, compared to how much the other communities reduce their usage. 

The leadership team plans to rally the community around the competition to bolster participation in Aspen’s already extensive energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. The team will also use the resources it receives as a competitor to identify new and improved efficiency programs to better serve Aspen. The program plan and Aspen’s chances of winning the prize, will be strengthened through collaboration with community segments including housing authorities, home owners associations, landlords, citizen groups, civic organizations, academic institutions, students, businesses and business groups, energy efficiency trade allies, environmental organizations, and government entities. 

“This contest is a tremendous opportunity to empower Aspen residents to cut thousands of dollars off their utility bills, while influencing positive change at a national level, and cementing Aspen as an energy and environmental leader,” French said.

The 52 quarterfinalist communities hail from across the nation, and comprise a representative sample of small- and medium-sized cities and counties. The list includes the cities of Brighton and Fort Collins in Colorado, and the fellow mountain resort communities of Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Park City, Utah.

“The enthusiasm in these communities is contagious,” said Dr. Francis Slakey, Executive Director of the Prize. “This is the first time so many governments, utilities, and community groups will be working together to reduce energy consumption.”

In total, over the two years of the GUEP competition, these communities have the potential to save more than $1 billion in energy costs and cut millions of tons of CO2 emissions. And that is just the beginning.
The Georgetown University Energy Prize will identify innovative, replicable, scalable solutions that can be implemented by cities and counties across the country, helping America re-think the way we use energy.

Dr. Slakey remarked that, “the communities we selected are leaders in energy efficiency who will develop innovative approaches that will inspire and enable others to follow in their footsteps.”

To learn more about the Georgetown University Energy Prize and to track the competition’s progress, visit, or follow the Prize on Twitter (@GUEnergyPrize).

Posted on Wednesday, September 03, 2014 (Archive on Wednesday, September 10, 2014)
Posted by Mitzir  Contributed by