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NGVAmerica News Week in Review: April 25, 2016

 

  • Congressional Subcommittees Act on DOE and DOT Budgets for FY 2017
  • S. Senate Passes Energy Bill Amending Fuel Economy Credits
  • Last Chance to Sponsor CNG from Sea to Shining Sea Road Rally
  • Oregon Department of Energy Offers Funding for Alternative Fuel Vehicles
  • Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Awards Diesel Emission Reduction Grants
  • The City of Tucson Dedicates Two New CNG Fueling Facilities
  • Nebraska CNG Stations Offer Natural Gas for 99 Cents Per Gallon on Earth Day
  • CNG Vehicles Compete at Shell Eco-Marathon Americas 2016
  • French Postal Service Takes Delivery of New CNG Truck
  • Finish Icebreaker Powered by LNG Undergoes Sea Trial

 

Congressional Subcommittees Act on DOE and DOT Budgets for FY 2017

April 25, 2016

NGVAmerica reports positive developments in the Congress that are aligned with its Federal Government Advocacy Committee’s strategic plan for 2016. The U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees have acted on the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Transportation Department (DOT) budgets for FY 2017, respectively.

The House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee reported out legislation that includes language that the DOE spend up to $15 million dollars for NGV R&D.  This appropriation specifically includes natural gas engine research and development, including energy efficiency improvements, emission after-treatment technologies, fuel system enhancements, new engine development and other activities.

The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee did not include this recommendation. However, these bills will go to conference and the fact that monies are included in the House version bodes well once the bills are reconciled. Furthermore, both the House and Senate bills included a recommendation for the DOE to spend up to $34 million dollars for deployment activities through the Clean Cities program.

“While significant work still remains ahead, we are encouraged by the positive steps the Congress has taken to advance NGV technology and to further the adoption NGVs,” said NGVAmerica President Matt Godlewski. “Congress clearly recognizes the economic, environmental and energy security benefits of natural gas as a transportation fuel.”

The Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee reported out legislation that includes language that the DOT consider new rules that impact NGVs, including:

  • New safety regulations for LNG fuel tanks and fuel systems;
  • Revising and updating regulations for CNG cylinders;
  • Issuing guidelines to clarify that transit buses can have roof-top mounted CNG cylinders; and
  • Clarifying that access to bridges and tunnels for NGVs should not be any more restrictive than those for gasoline and diesel fueled vehicles.

The House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee must still act on its version of this legislation, and both bills must still get consideration by the full House and Senate.  After that, the Appropriations Subcommittees will then be conferencing the two versions of their Appropriations bills to reach an agreement on the money and policy differences between their two respective versions of their Appropriations bills.

 

U.S. Senate Passes Energy Bill Amending Fuel Economy Credits

April 25, 2016

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed an energy bill that included an amendment offered by Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) that will expand the market opportunities for natural gas vehicles.

The legislation offered by the Senators assists with the development and production of NGVs by improving the fuel economy credits provided for such vehicles. Current federal rules limit the fuel economy credits for bi-fuel NGVs by assuming by default that such vehicles only operate 50 percent of the time on natural gas. The legislation would increase the percentage used for calculating fuel economy based on a better understanding of actual in-use fueling of such vehicles. The bill must now be reconciled with a previously passed House measure in a conference committee.

 

Last Chance to Sponsor CNG from Sea to Shining Sea Road Rally

April 25, 2016

The deadline to sponsor the CNG from Sea to Shining Sea Road Rally being held May 30 – June 10 is fast approaching. Sponsorship opportunities are available for just $500 for 13 media stops across the country. Sponsorship includes your company name and logo on a line banner or pop up banner that will be prominently displayed on or near the stage for the media to see during ceremonies or interviews.

Presented by The American Public Gas Association and NGVAmerica, the mission of the Rally is to inform and educate the American public to the benefits of natural gas vehicles and the natural gas fueling Infrastructure through all local, state, and national media outlets. The vision of this Rally is to prove that natural gas vehicles can travel across the nation and that there are adequate refueling stations to make this trip a reality.

Organized by Pat Riley, General Manager, Gibson County Tennessee Utility District, the Rally will start in Long Beach, CA and end in Washington D.C. There are 13 Media Stops scheduled along this Rally as follows: Long Beach, CA; Mesa, AZ; Albuquerque, NM; Oklahoma City, OK; Little Rock, AR; Memphis, TN; Trenton, TN; Dickson, TN; Sevierville, TN; Rock Hill, SC; Greenville, NC; Richmond, VA; and Washington, DC.

Please consider supporting this Rally by joining with a vehicle, attending one or more media stops, or becoming a sponsor to support the increased visibility of natural gas as an important and viable alternative fuel for vehicles.

If you are interested in supporting this nationwide rally by being a sponsor, please contact Sheila Deringis at APGA at sderingis@apga.org. For more information on the Rally please contact Pat Riley at pat@gcud.net.

 

Oregon Department of Energy Offers Funding for Alternative Fuel Vehicles

April 22, 2016

The Oregon Department of Energy is now accepting applications for Energy Incentives and Renewable Energy Development Grants. The Department has made available approximately $6 million in tax credits available for fleet projects allocated on a first come, first served basis from April 4, 2016 through April 30, 2017.

This Opportunity Announcement applies to fleet projects that include the replacement of two or more existing fleet vehicles with new or converted vehicles that use natural gas or other alternative fuels. Each newly acquired or converted vehicle must replace a vehicle in the fleet. Transportation projects include transit services, alternative fuel vehicle fleets, and alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure projects.

The tax credit is claimed over five years, with 10 percent of the certified cost claimed in each of the first two years, and 5 percent claimed in each of the succeeding three years. Qualified projects may be eligible for a tax credit that may not exceed 35 percent of certified project costs.

For more information, including application information, click here.

 

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Awards Diesel Emission Reduction Grants

April 19, 2016

The Ohio Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant (DERG) Program has awarded 26 Ohio grants totaling more than $15 million for 2015–2016 refurbishing or replacing aging diesel engines with newer, cleaner diesel technology or natural gas or other alternative fuel technology.

Ohio EPA estimates that these projects will result in an annual reduction of more than 745 tons of air pollutants in Ohio counties. These benefits will continue to accrue each year that the new vehicles remain in service.

The Ohio projects that were funded for the purchase and deployment of natural gas vehicles include:

Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc. received $254,250 to replace five 2003-2007 diesel trucks with five 2016 CNG powered trucks.

Central Ohio Transit Authority in Franklin County received $984,880 to replace ten 2003 diesel transit buses with 2016 CNG powered buses.

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority in Cuyahoga County received $796,000 to replace two 2002 diesel transit buses with 2016 CNG powered buses.

Portage Area RTA in Portage County received $830,000 to replace two 2006 diesel transit buses with 2016 CNG powered buses.

Republic Services in Stark County received $936,255 to replace 2009 diesel refuse trucks with 2016 CNG powered refuse trucks, and to construct a CNG refueling facility at Republic Services’ facility in Akron, Ohio.

Funding for the grants comes from the Federal Highway Administrations’ Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program. There will be another DERG application cycle later in 2016, with approximately $10 million available in grant awards.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact derg@epa.ohio.gov to receive email updates when the RFP is released.

 

The City of Tucson Dedicates Two New CNG Fueling Facilities

April 20, 2016

The City of Tucson General Services Department in Arizona celebrated the completion and opening of new CNG facilities. The CNG plant and fueling facilities will serve the Environmental Services department, the City’s Fleet Services, and Sun Tran.

The City says the new fueling stations should result in savings for the City and Sun Tran as they work toward converting fleets to environmentally friendly natural gas fuels. The City expects converting vehicles to CNG will result in a 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions.

 

Nebraska CNG Stations Offer Natural Gas for 99 Cents Per Gallon on Earth Day

April 22, 2016

Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) announced that on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, drivers of CNG fueled vehicles were able to fill up their gas tanks for 99 cents per GGE at seven regional stations. These stations included: I-80 Fuel, Metropolitan Utilities District (M.U.D.), and Trillium CNG in Omaha, and Black Hills Energy and Lincoln Airport Authority and Stirk CNG/Sapp Bros Travel Center in Lincoln.

The public stations used Earth Day to raise awareness of clean-burning CNG as an alternative transportation fuel to gasoline and diesel. In 2015, these Nebraska stations collectively displaced nearly 1.5 million gallons of petroleum, which MUD says eliminated 2,675 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and displaced 33,250 barrels of oil.

“With a network of fueling stations available, CNG is a viable option for fleet operators in our region,” said Kyle Bowman, NGV specialist for M.U.D. “Operators can bring real economic and environmental benefits to their businesses by using this clean, affordable, American fuel.”

M.U.D. operates more than 160 CNG fleet vehicles, including service vans, sedans, pick-up trucks, medium-duty service trucks, crew trucks and dump trucks.

 

CNG Vehicles Compete at Shell Eco-Marathon Americas 2016

April 19, 2016

More than 1,000 students from 128 teams entered their ultra-energy efficient vehicles in the final days leading up to the 10th Shell Eco-marathon Americas that took place in Detroit on April 22–24. Students are pulling out all the stops to push the limits of energy-efficiency and innovate solutions to the world’s most pressing mobility challenges.

This year, three teams will be taking on the challenge of competing in the CNG energy class, which was first introduced to the Americas competition in 2015. Supplying CNG as well as hydrogen to participating fuel cell-powered vehicles, the Linde Group will be onsite to scout new talent and share their insights on how to develop hydrogen technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.

A number of global corporations, academics and government entities will be present at the competition to both learn from and share insights with the participants, investing in the talent and technology that will define mobility for a new era.

“We’re excited to have the support of so many new partners as well as the Detroit community, making this competition a truly collaborative event to foster the next generation of automotive scientists and engineers,” said Niel Golightly, vice president, external relations for Shell.

 

French Postal Service Takes Delivery of New CNG Truck

April 19, 2016

Renault Trucks delivered a Renault Trucks D WIDE CNG vehicle to La Poste, the French postal service. It is the first truck running on CNG to be acquired by La Poste, further demonstrating the French Post Office’s commitment to improving the quality of air in urban environments.

For more than 10 years, the La Poste Group has been implementing a sustainable development policy and currently operates a large fleet of alternative fuel vehicles.

This Renault Trucks D CNG is currently being used for carrying mail and parcels in Paris and the near suburbs. The Rungis Transport Depot is located within the Sogaris industrial park which, since the end of 2015, has a self-service station equipped to supply natural gas.

 

Finish Icebreaker Powered by LNG Undergoes Sea Trial

April 23, 2016

Arctech announced the new Finnish LNG-powered icebreaker Polaris left on her first sea trial from the ship builder’s Helsinki Shipyard on April 22. The trial is part of the test use of the ship, which is done to assure the functionality of the vessel before delivery.

The main purpose of the vessel is icebreaking and assisting of vessels in ice conditions, but the ship will also be able to perform oil spill response operations, emergency towing and rescue operations under demanding conditions at open sea all year round. It has also been designed for 50 years of service life.

By using LNG as its fuel, Polaris will lower emissions and operation costs. Arctech says the Polaris will be the most environmentally friendly icebreaker in the world.

 

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