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Clean Energy Announcements Position Fort Collins at the Heart of Smart Grid Innovation

Three major announcements and one special action took place at Smart Grid LIVE on January 5, 2011 at the Rocky Mountain Innosphere. A packed house celebrated the beginning of a number of significant advancements in smart grid technology and energy projects in the region.

FortZED’s Jumpstart Project Begins
Governor Bill Ritter, in his last public appearance as the state’s head elected official, flipped the switch on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration (RDSI), a jump start project of FortZED. RDSI is a project that uses plug-in cars, solar panels and traditional diesel generators to test how our existing electric grid accepts and distributes energy. Some of these resources, such as the diesel generators, do not meet the long term environmental goals of FortZED. However, they are the most cost-effective and prudent resources to use during this short-term testing phase. Findings from the jumpstart project will help us create the Utilities of the 21st Century and will significantly impact the future of renewable energy in Fort Collins, the state, and even the nation. In fact, this project is one of only nine smart grid demonstrations in the country to receive funding from the US Department of Energy. Lots more information is available at www.fortzed.com.

Bill Ritter’s New Job at CSU
The three major announcements included the news that Governor Ritter will take a new position with Colorado State University. He’ll lead the newly formed Center for the New Energy Economy Center. According to CSU’s press release, “This policy center - under Gov. Ritter’s leadership - will help build essential partnerships around research-based clean energy solutions, workforce development and advancement of technologies that will fuel long-term, sustainable economic growth.”

Local Center Will Further the Smart Grid Infrastructure and Workforce
Spirae, Inc. announced its new Smart Grid Center for Advancement (CSGA), which will provide the infrastructure and education necessary to address the numerous technical, regulatory, economic and operational issues that must be addressed to realize the full potential of smart grids.

Study Underway to Identify Colorado’s Clean Energy Supply Chain
The Colorado Clean Energy Cluster (CCEC) also announced a $100,000 matching grant from the State Office of Economic Development and International Trade to lead a statewide Colorado Clean Energy Supply Chain Initiative, with their partner, the Colorado Association of Manufacturing Technology (CAMT). The initiative will map out the supply chain for the wind, smart grid and photovoltaic industries, focusing on how the CCEC can identify specific companies in the supply chain to recruit to the region and to work with existing manufacturers to lower costs and improve availability of key products and supplies in Colorado.