FortZED, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

The Oval, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

  • Target: Net Zero Energy District
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar PV, biogas, storage technologies such as fuel cells, and smart meters.
  • Implementation: Fort Collins, Colorado is a municipality located approximately 57 miles north of the state's capitol city of Denver. In 2007, the UniverCity Connections Sustainable Energy Task Force, an initiative of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, proposed the development of a "Net Zero Energy District". It would be a district within the municipality that would be a model for generating as much electricity as is consumed with renewable sources, combined with conservation, efficiency, and smart grid technologies. Named FortZED, the new district would cover an area of approximately 2 square miles and include the main campus of Colorado State University and downtown businesses and homes. Although completed in 2014, FortZED already showcased a demonstration project by 2011, a which showed that five businesses in the district could collectively reduce peak-load demand on a micro-grid by more than 20 percent during test periods over more than four weeks. The project combined a range of energy solutions, including efficiency, smart meters, demand response, solar PV, biogas, and storage technologies such as fuel cells. Natural gas was used as back up generation. The project also featured electric vehicle charging stations at city offices, and EV car batteries were considered for backup energy during peak-demand periods. This demonstration project was part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Renewable Distributed Systems Integration program.

    FortZED is led by a collaborative team of three entities: Fort Collins Utilities, UniverCity Connections, and the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster, a local economic development organization. Funding sources have included a U.S. Department of Energy grant for $6.3 million, plus nearly $5 million in matching funds and in kind services, along with a $778,000 New Energy Communities grant from Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs and the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office, and $2 million in local matching funds.

    Today, FortZED represents about 10 -15% of Fort Collins Utility’s electric distribution system and serves approximately 7,200 residential and commercial electric utility customers.
  • Population: 164,207 (2016)
  • Area: 57.05 sq mi (147.77 km2)
  • Link:
The Oval, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA