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Major Smart Grid News Announced at Smart Grid LIVE in Fort Collins, Colorado

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On January 5, 2011 the City of Fort Collins, Spirae, the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster and the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office hosted Smart Grid LIVE at the Rocky Mountain Innosphere, 320 E. Vine Dr., Fort Collins to celebrate a number of smart grid related news. This full day event celebrated the kick off of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration (RDSI) demonstration occurring in Fort Collins. Two major announcements were made that will change the face of energy policy, smart grid research and development, smart grid workforce training and economic development for Colorado and beyond.

Center for Smart Grid Advancement (CSMA) Announced
The Center for Smart Grid Advancement (CSGA), led by Spirae, 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. The Center, explained Julie Zinn Patti, Spirae Director of Operations, supports Spirae’s ongoing effort to educate and inform industry stakeholders about the challenges and opportunities facing the transformation of the electric power system.

The Center leverages the InteGrid Test and Development Lab, one of the largest physical simulation labs in North America, and the Smart Grid Network Operating Center (NOC), a new facility at Spirae to provide hands-on training and power system operations experience to participants. A range of professional training courses will be developed by Colorado State University, Spirae, external subject matter experts, and industry sponsors. The first Smart Grid course through this initiative will be offered in summer 2011.

Colorado Clean Energy Supply Chain Initiative Announced
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 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.

Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration Demonstration Goes Live
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 RDSI, a jump start project of FortZED. The RDSI project serves as the jumpstart zone for the larger FortZED (Fort Collins Zero Energy District) initiative and has a specific goal of significantly reducing peak load on feeders served by a major substation operated by Fort Collins Utilities. The project involves the coordinated use of 5 MW of distributed assets, including photovoltaic, conventional backup generation, biogas generation and Demand Side Management from multiple partner sites within the demonstration area.

Darin Atteberry, Fort Collins City Manager notes that the City is very excited to be kicking off the demonstration year for the Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration project. “It is exciting to see a public utility, the private sector and university setting ambitious goals for FortZED and the future of energy management. The RDSI project, and FortZED as a larger initiative, embodies the City’s values of innovation, sustainability and partnering. The synergy and coordination of the agencies and businesses sets Fort Collins apart from other smart grid endeavors occurring in the United States.”

Attendance at the standing room only event included international representatives, elected officials and executives from companies such as Alcatel-Lucent, IBM and General Electric. The event included tours of New Belgium Brewing Company’s RDSI projects, tours of InteGrid Lab RDSI technology and switches, a keynote address by Governor Bill Ritter, a panel discussion on Colorado as a smart grid destination and demonstrations of RDSI systems operations.

About the City of Fort Collins

The City of Fort Collins is a full-service municipality serving 140,600 people living in a 53.3-mile radius. Nationally recognized as one of the best places to live in America, the City’s mission is to provide “exceptional service for an exceptional community.” City services include police, parks and recreation, street maintenance, economic health, neighborhood services, municipally-owned utilities, a natural areas program, and more. A complete list of services is available at In alignment with our core values of sustainability and innovation, Fort Collins is working to become a world leader in addressing climate change. The City and its partners are grant recipients of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration project. The RDSI grant, along with state and local matching funds, is a $13 million jumpstart to FortZED, Fort Collins’ Zero Energy District.