What is FortZED?

FortZED is a triple helix partnership with local government, academia and industry. Its key partners include the City of Fort Collins, Colorado State University and the Colorado Clean Energy Cluster. By building upon each partner's strengths and offsetting weaknesses, FortZED is uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of our nation’s new energy economy.

FortZED includes:

More than 7,000 customers—residential and commercial

8 distribution feeders (transmits electricity from the generation station to the customer)

Approximately 45 MW peak demand, we’ll reduce this peak demand by 20%-30%

Over 200,000 MWh/year usage in the area

FortZED represents about 10% - 15% of Fort Collins Utilities’ distribution system

What’s different about FortZED? It’s in an existing location, using an existing energy distribution system, and is built on strong public-private partnerships.


Many of the nation’s experts on renewable energy technologies live and work in the FortZED area.

  • Colorado Clean Energy Cluster
  • Progressive municipal utility
  • Local innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Private sector clean energy technology companies:
    • Advanced Energy
    • Brendle Group
    • Colorado State University
    • Clean Energy Supercluster, Cenergy
    • Engines and Energy Conversion Lab
    • Integrid Laboratory
    • Spirae
    • Woodward, Inc.


  • ClimateWise
  • Fort Collins Utilities
  • Colorado Clean Energy Cluster


  • Leading-edge commercial and industrial customers
  • Philanthropic-minded grassroots support
  • Environmentally-minded residents

FortZED is a template for inspiration and action for other communities.

History of FortZED

FortZED was created by the UniverCity Connections Sustainable Energy Taskforce as a vision to create a net-zero energy district in the Fort Collins’ UniverCity area. UniverCity Connections is an initiative of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado, focused on convening community and catalyzing opportunities for positive change with a focus on three of Fort Collins’ community assets: Colorado State University, Downtown, and the Poudre River.

Faces of FortZED

Sunil Cherian

President, Spirae, Inc.