Gulf Challenge Update

Guest Blog | June 17, 2010 | Press Releases

Jacksonville, Fla. (June 17) – On May 13, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) challenged the nation’s brightest to find a path to offset the roughly 20% of oil that we consume from the Gulf of Mexico and import from hostile nations in the Persian Gulf. The Clean Energy Gulf Challenge, which closed on June 14th, generated interest from academic institutions, non-governmental agencies, private companies and citizens. The plans specify a multitude of ways that America can end our dependence on ‘Gulf’ oil, including increased use of electric vehicles, biofuels, fuel efficiency and various policy recommendations. “The submissions that Southern Alliance for Clean Energy received in support of our Clean Energy Gulf Challenge shows that technology already exists to begin the transition away from our dangerous addiction to oil toward clean, renewable energy,” said Dr. Stephen Smith, executive director of SACE. “The still-unfolding tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico highlights the fact that risky energy choices like oil have the potential to cripple a region, its natural resources, local economies and way of life for generations to come.” The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is working with a panel of expert reviewers to select three finalists from all the entries received who will present their ideas to the public via webinars on July 6th, 7th and 8th. The panel of experts includes Dr. Nick Rigas, Director of the renewable energy focus area of the Restoration Institute at Clemson University; Dr. Enid Sisskin, Adjunct Professor at the University of West Florida and SACE board member; and Anne Tazewell, Alternative Fuels Program Manager at North Carolina State University’s Solar Center. This panel of experts will select the top three finalists and the public will then vote for the plan that they feel will best get our nation out of the ‘Gulfs’. Selection criteria include technological viability, environmental sustainability, timing and cost of implementation, and feasibility of the policy recommendations. The $10,000 prizewinner of the Clean Energy Gulf Challenge will be announced on Tuesday, July13th. “The BP Gulf oil disaster proves that offshore oil and gas drilling cannot be conducted safely, securely or without harm to the environment or coastal communities,” Dr. Smith noted. “This disaster is a wake-up call that we must heed and change the way we produce and consume energy in this country if we want to maintain a planet that our children can inhabit. The energy path that we are on is no longer sustainable. It is our hope that the winning proposal of the Clean Energy Gulf Challenge will inspire immediate and meaningful action by decision makers to end our dangerous addiction to oil.” # # #