Net Zero Cities conference focuses on new approaches in renewables field

FORT COLLINS — It’s no secret the Obama administration probably won’t reach its goal of 1 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2015.

But it’s possible its efforts will, in fact, lead to 500,000 electric vehicles on the nation’s roads, said Jacob Ward, senior analyst for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program. That many vehicles would represent a success for Ward, he said.

Ward was one of a number of speakers Tuesday participating in Net Zero Cities. Organized and sponsored by the Northern Colorado Business Report, the cities of Loveland and Fort Collins, CSU Ventures, the Bohemian Foundation and One Tribe Creative, the two-day event highlighted the role that businesses and governments can play in lowering emissions while energy demand increases globally.

On Tuesday, people in the renewable energy business and in government lamented that renewable energy has not seen more success. But they also promoted the industry’s progress.

Presentations were heard on topics that included changes in the New York City taxi fleet, the Department of Energy’s electric vehicles efforts, and the design of small cities that have the potential to cause little pollution.

Bruce Haxton, an architect from Wisconsin, described cities of the future that convert waste into biofuels and treat gray water for use in surrounding croplands meant to grow food for those cities. He said similar projects have been done.

“If you think this is preposterous, what we’re talking about, it’s already built,” he said.

At another point, Keith Reester, the city of Loveland’s director of public works, told of the city’s efforts to divert trash from its landfill and recycle more.

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