Houghton County makes bid for $5 million energy prize

Houghton County is in the running for a coveted energy prize from Georgetown University, and it's a Michigan Technological University student who is spearheading the effort.

The Georgetown University Energy Prize Competition, which Houghton County recently advanced into the semifinals in, was created to encourage communities to come up with creative ways to slash the amount of energy being used. The competition will continue for another two years.

The idea behind the competition is for communities to create ways to reduce the use of natural gas and electricity, as well as educate students and the public and work with businesses, the government and local utilities to achieve those goals.

Michigan Tech computer science graduate student Abhilash Kantamneni found out about the competition and pitched an idea to the Houghton County commission and brought together the community, the university and student groups to develop the plan, which has already won a $30,000 grant to help hire an energy manager.

The Georgetown University Energy Prize is $5 million, and if Houghton County won, they would spend it on energy efficiency measures to benefit the community as a whole. 

"We want to build a sustainable Houghton, an affordable community for families and businesses well beyond the next two years of the competition," says Kantamneni.

If you are interested in becoming involved, contact Kantamneni at akantamn@mtu.edu or visit energizehoughton.org.
Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Michigan Technological University 
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