Fort Collins

Fort Collins, Colorado


Background Information

The City of Fort Collins has a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 and has already reduced its emissions by 9% since its base year 2005. Its Energy Policy supports this carbon neutrality goal along with the following objectives:

  • Increase the diversity of electric supply resources such that no single fuel source provides more than 60% of community electricity by 2020.
  • Increase the overall amount of renewable energy to a minimum of 20% by 2020.
  • Increase the amount of renewable energy installed on the distribution system to provide a minimum of 2% of the community electricity requirements by 2020.
  • Seek opportunities for local distributed generation resources such as combined heat and power and biomass.

The Fort Collins community is served by a municipal distribution utility which receives generation and transmission services from Platte River Power Authority. Fort Collins is one of four owner cities of Platte River. Platte River’s primary generation source is coal (62%), however they have begun preparing for potential greenhouse gas regulation, diversifying the generation mix, and have been measuring and reporting greenhouse emissions since 2006 to the Climate Action Registry and maintain one of the cleanest coal plants in the nation.

Promising Practices

  • Created Efficiency WorksTM services and incentives to reduce energy use, the most effective way to cut greenhouse gases.
  • Rebranded the ClimateWise program (ClimateWise 2.0): a free, voluntary program providing assistance with waste reduction, energy savings, alternative transportation, and water conservation to businesses and organizations in Fort Collins.
  •  Integrated Design Assistance Program (IDAP), which provides financial incentives for building owners and design teams for participating in IDAP. The program is based on the Architecture 2030 Challenge® and provides design, construction and performance incentives.
  • Created a home efficiency loan program offering no-money-down financing for up to 20 years, including a low 4% fixed interest rate. Loans are conveniently repaid on the monthly utility bill.
  • Created Peak Partners in 2014 based on the installation of smart meters. Residents participate and receive the convenience and control of a Wi-Fi thermostat, plus the savings of a programmable one, which ranges around 10% of cooling and heating loads.
  • Piloted a dramatic streamlining of our existing home efficiency program called Neighborhood Works, improving results by 60%.
    • Piloted the use of advanced metering data for remote business efficiency assessments.
  • Platte River Power Authority completed a 30-megawatt utility scale solar project.
  • Increased the locally-installed solar capacity by over 500% from 2014 to 2015.
  • Piloted an on-bill financing program that has become so successful that a local credit union is now investing
    their private capital in the loan program, reducing the risk on the city.
  • The city has hired a Climate Economy advisor to begin to tackle financing options for the transition to carbon
    neutral, through increased private sector investments and public/private partnerships.

Major Challenges

  • Fort Collins’ electricity generation predominately comes from coal.
  • Ensuring that all residents, regardless of income or interest, have an opportunity to make a difference with
    the smallest of actions.