Energy Freedom Challenge: Clean Energy Capital of the United States of America
Austin 8 News reports that Austin, Texas is to host a nationwide competition and the prize is the title of "Clean Energy Capital of the U.S."
The group Solar Austin pitched the idea of the contest to the U.S. Department of Energy. The group received a $45,000 grant to organize and host the contest. "Renewables have become a real attractive source for any community, any city," Solar Austin Co-Director Jane Pulaski said. She is convinced alternative energy has become so attractive, cities across the nation would be willing to compete to see which can move away from fossil fuels first.
"Clean Energy Capital of the U.S., I mean, who wouldn't want that title?" Pulaski added the title would attract new businesses, residents and positive publicity for the community that earned it.
In August Solar Austin received the grant to organize, market and host the contest in its first year. On Wednesday, the group officially launched the contest with an evening fundraiser.
The Energy Freedom Challenge is a race to see which city in the U.S.A. can be the first to get 50 percent of its energy from renewable energy sources like wind, solar, geo-thermal, methane and biomass power by the year 2025.
Right now Austin receives 5 percent of its energy from either wind, solar or landfill methane power; well short of hitting the 50 percent mark.
Austin can expect plenty of competition from other cities for the clean energy title from places like Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Chicago, New York, and New Jersey.
The Union of Concerned Scientists will be in charge of establishing the rules, metrics and qualifications for the contest.
Solar Austin expects to have cities signed up to compete by early next year. Austin will be both the host and a competitor in the first year.
Austin's Green Choice program already sells more renewable energy to customers than any other program in the country.
Green Choice allows Austin Energy customers to choose to have their power come from wind or solar sources. The program is so popular Austin Energy had to place new subscribers on a waiting list. One of the city's wind farms is expanding this winter. Austin Energy hopes to open up the Green Choice wait list once the expansion is finished in February.
The clean energy contest will be run in Austin, Texas for the next 20 years.
Full Austin8News Article