More compressed natural gas stations and trucks are coming to Colorado thanks to another round of grants that state and federal officials are hoping will further establish the CNG industry in the Centennial State.
Grant applications for CNG station construction are being accepted until Feb. 2. This is the fourth round of funding through the Colorado Energy Office’s ALT Fuels Colorado grant program.
Funded by the Federal Highway Administration, the ALT Fuels program provides capital for acquiring CNG vehicles and for building public CNG stations to support those vehicles. The Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and the Denver-based Regional Air Quality Council are partners in the $30 million program.
By subsidizing CNG stations and vehicles, federal and state officials are hoping that they can increase public and private interest in the fuel.
“Incentivizing publicly accessible, fast-fill CNG stations along major transportation corridors will work to create an intrastate network that will allow a wide range of individuals and fleets the destination options they need in order to make confident investments in natural-gas-powered transportation options,” Wes Maurer, the Colorado Energy Office’s transportation program manager, tells ngtnews.com.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center reveals that Colorado is currently home to 20 public CNG stations, 79 E85 stations, 54 LPG stations and 6 biodiesel stations.
The ALT Fuels grant program, which began in 2014, allocates $15 million for the construction of CNG stations and $15 million for purchasing alternative fuel trucks, class 2 to 8.
To date, ALT Fuels Colorado reports distributing roughly $7 million to 30 public and private organizations which in turn purchased 570 alternative fuel vehicles, most of which run on CNG. Though mostly public and non-profit organizations have benefitted from the grants, several private companies have also received subsidies, including UPS, Ryder Truck Rental and Penske Leasing and Rental Company.
Applicants have received grants to construct 15 CNG stations so far. Enough funds remain for another 10 to 15 awards. The program expires at the end of 2017.
A CNG station grant provides $500,000 for the purchase of equipment necessary to operate the station, reports ngtnews.com. Grants can also be used to install propane dispensers and electric vehicle charging ports at the subsidized CNG stations.
Public and non-profit organizations receive more funding to purchase alternative fuel vehicles. For example, a medium duty truck for a qualifying Colorado city could be subsidized for up to $25,000, while a private company would receive $10,000 less for the same vehicle. A table below shows how grant money is distributed for qualifying vehicles.
ALT Fuels Colorado states that grant applications for alternative fuel vehicles will begin in early February. Besides CNG, ALT Fuels states that propane, electric and CNG bi-fuel vehicles will be considered for its grant program.
Recent market studies conducted by the Colorado Energy Office forecast that the percentage of natural gas vehicle sales could reach 15% of heavy-duty sales by 2025.