ColoradoBiz magazine has recognized FortZED - a unique collaboration of Fort Collins government, business and university leaders working on cutting-edge alternative energy solutions - as one of 50 Colorado Firms on a Greener Path.
FortZED is one of seven organizations recognized as a 2014 Green Champion in the Non-Profit/Government category along with the Rocky Mountain Institute, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. As part of its first “Green Colorado” July/August issue, ColoradoBiz highlights the companies and organizations “whose sustainable initiatives are setting the standard for other businesses to follow.”
Awardees will be honored at a ceremony June 26 in Denver.
FortZED - originally envisioned in 2007 as a Zero Energy District - is a collaboration of the City of Fort Collins, Colorado Clean Energy Cluster businesses, Colorado State University and the community that pioneers energy solutions to meet the community’s environmental and economic goals. One of FortZED’s goals is advancing energy projects to be scaled up for the community and in cities around the world.
Projects are intended to increase renewable energy production, improve energy efficiency, manage peak energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2008, a $6.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and $5 million in local community support jumpstarted FortZED by testing technologies that reduce peak energy use and integrate renewable energy, such as solar panels, into the City’s electric energy system. A second phase study was completed in 2013, which created a local microgrid and tested cybersecurity technology.
“On behalf of our partners at the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster and CSU, we are honored with this recognition,” said Bruce Hendee, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Fort Collins. “We hope this award will encourage other communities to explore partners in their communities who can help achieve greater energy efficiency and even net-zero energy consumption.”
The City of Fort Collins is a leader in energy efficiency and climate planning. Fort Collins Utilities, a city-owned public power utility, was the first in Colorado and among the first nationally to offer green energy to customers. In addition, the community was among the first to commit to reducing local greenhouse gas emissions and adopted its first Climate Action Plan in 1999 with an update in 2008.
Colorado State University is committed to developing alternative energy solutions through its campus facilities and innovative research by more than 120 faculty members across all eight colleges. The university and businesses in Fort Collins founded the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster, which exists to grow primary jobs in Colorado in clean energy through formal partnerships between clean energy companies, the public sector and higher education.