Ritter Awards Almost $800,000 for Natural Gas Fueling
On Monday, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter announced grants totaling nearly $800,000 to increase the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. The grants, which are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are meant to foster job creation, positively impact climate change, and increase domestic energy independence.
“Fueling fleets and heavy-duty vehicles with compressed natural gas creates another market for Colorado’s homegrown energy and continues to advance the state as a national leader in the New Energy Economy,” said Ritter. “These grants will make it easier for local governments and energy companies to fuel their vehicles with CNG, reducing the use of foreign oil and increasing our energy independence, while also making our air cleaner.”
One of the two grants grant will provide $120,000 to Grand Junction to complete a CNG fueling station for use by the city’s natural gas-powered fleet vehicles as well as CNG-powered vehicles for use by other fleets. The city has purchased four CNG-powered garbage trucks and Grand Valley Transit is purchasing two natural gas-powered buses that will benefit from the fueling station.
A second grant will provide $675,285 to Rocky Mountain Alternative Fueling (RMAF) to develop a CNG fueling station and associated infrastructure in Rifle near Interstate 70. The station will serve the public, as well as CNG-powered fleet vehicles owned by Garfield County, Colorado Mountain College, and vehicles owned by several oil and gas companies in the region. Both grants are conditional pending state and federal permits and other contracting requirements.
The Rifle station will complement another CNG station under development by RMAF in Parachute. The two stations will give local CNG-powered fleets more flexibility for refueling. The Rifle station also will help open up more of the I-70 corridor to CNG-fueled vehicles.
Substituting natural gas for petroleum can also bring substantial environmental benefits. Powering vehicles with CNG reduces greenhouse gas emissions 21 percent to 26 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Vehicles running on CNG also produce fewer emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone, a pollution problem in several regions of Colorado.
“Stakeholders from across Colorado have been working together through the Colorado Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (CNGVC) to strategically site natural gas fueling locations,” said Natalia Swalnick, air quality/clean cities manager at the American Lung Association in Colorado. The American Lung Association is home to both the CNGVC and Denver Metro Clean Cities Coalition. “The CNGVC has been laying the foundation for natural gas by coupling planned infrastructure with vehicle commitments from local fleets.”