Fargo among top 10 cities in national energy-savings competition

FARGO - Mayor Tim Mahoney said he wants the city to be No.1 in football and energy savings.
Malini Srivastava and Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney speak about Fargo being a finalist in the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition on Wednesday, Nov. 22. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO - Mayor Tim Mahoney said he wants the city to be No.1 in football and energy savings.

On Wednesday, Nov. 22, the city leader announced Fargo was among the Top 10 community finalists in the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a nationwide energy-efficiency competition. The Energy Prize spans a two-year period and culminates with a $5 million award for the winning community. Fargo was named one of 50 semifinalists in 2015 and was ranked No. 3 in 2016. Now in the final round of the competition, the city sits in the No. 4 spot, but Mahoney said every household can make energy-saving changes to help Fargo rise to the top.

"I would challenge you all to find some way to reduce energy consumption," he said. "I had a problem with my air conditioner and it's amazing it went down 25 percent of my costs in the summertime because we changed the filter.

Mahoney added: "We want to be No.1 as Bison and we want to be No.1 as the city that gets down usage of energy throughout the community."

To enter the competition, a partnership dubbed eFargo was created in 2014. The partnership includes the city, North Dakota State University, Xcel Energy and Cass County Electric Coop.

Malini Srivastava, eFargo leader, said strategies here include working with K-12 schools, public libraries, the fire station and other municipal buildings to use data in order to implement changes for reductions in energy use and spending.

Residents can go to the website www.efargo.org to play the eFargo game that offers ways households can conserve energy, lower bills and help Fargo win the $5 million prize. Srivastava said residents can also send specific questions to an energy adviser available through the website.

There will also be a holiday light exchange program from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 9, at the downtown Fargo Public Library. Residents can exchange old, inefficient strings of lights for solar panel lights while supplies.

The Energy Prize was initiated in 2013 to challenge communities across the country to rethink energy use and implement creative strategies to increase sustained energy efficiency.

A panel of judges will evaluate the 10 finalists in December to decide which approach was the most innovative, replicable and scalable.

Top 10 Cities in national Energy Prize competition

1. Chula Vista, Calif.

2. Walla walla, Wash.

3. Takoma Park, Md.

4. Fargo

5. Fort Collins, Colo.

6. Berkeley, Calif.

7. Oberlin, Ohio

8. Bellingham, Wash.

9. Montpelier, Vt.

10. Bellevue, Wash.