DOE Honors U.S. Cities for International Clean Energy Partnerships
August 11, 2010
The U.S. Department of Energy recently honored the winners of the 2010 Lou Wozar Annual Awards at the Sister Cities International annual conference in Albuquerque, N.M. These awards recognize some of the most effective international city-to-city partnerships that advance the use of clean energy and drive innovations in sustainability. On July 31, 2010, DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and Brookhaven National Laboratory announced the cities of Riverside, Calif., and Sarasota, Fla., as the winners of the 2010 Lou Wozar Annual Awards for Sustainable Development - Energy. During the awards ceremony, EERE's Senior International Advisor Mark Ginsberg moderated a session on the Greening Your Sister Cities Program, where representatives from the energy award winners Riverside-Sendai and Sarasota-Perpignan showcased their partnerships.
Cities are at the forefront of creating and implementing innovative sustainability and clean energy initiatives that lower carbon emissions, reduce energy costs, and create jobs. In 2009, EERE instituted the sustainable energy development award category with Sister Cities International, a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network that forges and strengthens partnerships between U.S. and international "sister" communities to promote collaborative clean energy projects. This sister city network now includes more than 700 U.S. communities working with more than 2,000 sister cities, spanning 134 countries on six continents.
This year's winners built exemplary sister city sustainability projects that boosted their communities toward a clean-energy future. The mayors of Riverside, Calif., and Sendai, Japan, established the Southern California Research Initiative, a joint solar innovation center in partnership with public, academic, and private institutions from both cities. The Riverside-Sendai agreement also includes an academic research and student exchange program between the University of California - Riverside and Sendai's Tohoku University.
The Conservation and Renewable Energy Exchange between Sarasota, Fla., and Perpignan, France, created a mutually beneficial experience between local high school students. Sarasota students hosted a class of 24 students from Perpignan in November 2009. While in the United States, the students visited the Florida Power and Light solar energy field, Myakka State Park, and the University of South Florida extension service office to learn about renewable energy and conservation measures. This November, students from Sarasota will visit Perpignan for a week.
The energy awards also recognize the achievements of civic leaders who have championed partnerships to conserve energy and deploy clean technology. As international cooperation on energy and climate change mitigation becomes increasingly important, city-to-city programs have and will continue to play a significant role in overall global sustainable development.
The Department of Energy and Brookhaven National Laboratory also coordinated a workshop at the Sister Cities International Youth Leadership Conference, held in conjunction with the Sister Cities International annual conference. The workshop included more than 60 high school students from around the world dedicated to creating cross-cultural connections and becoming active leaders and clean energy advocates in their respective communities. DOE introduced its ongoing activities in clean energy and city partnerships and discussed the importance of energy conservation, efficiency, and renewable technologies in local communities. Discussion focused on how students can get involved in these initiatives or design and implement their own projects to help conserve energy and utilize locally available renewable energy alternatives.
Additionally, the EERE International Program has established an innovative U.S.-China-India Cities Partnership on Energy and Environment to share technologies and lessons learned. This program helps participating cities identify and overcome barriers for implementation and management of sustainable urban energy practices. The project has adopted a systematic approach, pairing U.S. cities with Chinese and Indian cities based on the Sister Cities concept. Existing partnerships between city governments, businesses, academic and research institutions, and citizens are used to improve collaboration on energy issues and to identify and enact projects of mutual interest. Additional information is available on the cities partnerships Web site.
More information on the Lou Wozar Awards, including how to apply for the 2011 awards, is available on the Sister City International Web site.