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U.S. DOE Clean Cities Program Holds Strategic Planning Meeting

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities Program held a day-long meeting to solicit input on identifying new strategies that expand the use of alternative fuel vehicles and displace petroleum fuel consumption. The effort included briefings from representative from the national laboratories that support the Clean Cities Program. Individual presentations were given on specific alternative fuels as well as general presentations on the niche market opportunities for all alternative fuels. In conjunction with this effort, DOE has released a series of reports including one on natural gas vehicles that covers CNG, LNG and renewable natural gas issues. The NGV report provides information on the size of the current market, including number of fueling stations, vehicles and petroleum displacement.

The proposed strategic plan emphasizes the petroleum reduction opportunity presented by key niche market segments, including short-haul trucking, concrete mixers, paratransit, school buses and utility service trucks. Each market segment is characterized in terms of total numbers of vehicles, fuel usage, potential payback, petroleum reductions and greenhouse gas emissions. The natural gas white paper, for instance, models a 10 percent penetration of these markets to demonstrate the potential in terms of petroleum and greenhouse gas emission reductions. In terms of total vehicles, the identified niche market represent the potential to drive demand for nearly 194,000 new NGVs. This number of NGVs in operation, according to DOE, would reduce petroleum consumption by 27.8 million barrels per year and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 1.9 million tons.

Participants at the DOE Strategy Meeting were asked to rate the different market segments in terms of which offered the best opportunity for successful market penetration and also the ability of the Clean Cities Program to affect change in these markets. The natural gas paper addresses the existing programs supported by the Clean Cities Program including communication products, web-based tools, partnerships, technical assistance, etc. The proposed new activities include developing new tool kits for market segments not yet addressed, focusing on gliders as a way to advance more natural gas trucks, focusing on renewable natural gas, and focusing on the marine market, including inter-coastal waterways, among other activities.

DOE is currently soliciting feedback on its strategy. Persons interested in submitting comments can do so until March 13. More information on the Strategic Planning effort can be found here: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/cleancities/2015_strategic_planning.html.