Towns Compete to See Who Loses the Most

Mar 25, 2011

Fourteen cities and towns in Connecticut are part of a new progam, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, to see which town can reduce its energy use the most. 

The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund has received $4.17 million for a three-year program called the Neighbor To Neighbor Energy Challenge. The primary goal is to help 10% of the households reduce their energy consumption by 20%. Richard Ogurick from Cheshire’s Energy Commission says towns compete with each other.

“It’s kind of a game. And it gives the people who are participating the tools to measure the results of what they’re doing, compare what they’re doing to other town residents, compare our results to other towns to see who can get the best results.”

A group of college graduates, known as the Clean Energy Corps, is encouraging residents to get an energy audit—And to change their light bulbs to energy savings light bulbs. Bryan Garcia from the company Earth Markets, which is coordinating the project, says the amount of energy saved could then be sold as a Renewable Energy Credit.

“What we do is we aggregate all of these credits from all of the homes that the Clean Energy Corps visits and we trade and transact that in this market in Connecticut. And what happens, hopefully, is revenues will be generated and we will  take these revenues and put them right back into these communities.”

Garcia says money from the sale of the credits will go to pay for rewards given to towns who reduce their energy use the most; rewards like solar-powered street lights or electric car-charging stations. The project still needs to get final approval from the D.P.U.C. to sell the renewable energy credits garnered from household energy savings. In the past these credits have only been generated from commercial electricity customers.

For WNPR I’m Nancy Cohen.