05-2-31-12 WELD COUNTY SMART ENERGY PROGRAM CATCHES THE EYE OF REPRESENTATIVES GARDNER (CO) AND LUMMIS (WY)
Posted by Brian Allmer on May 31, 2012
An update regarding the Weld County Natural Gas Coalition at the May 24, 2012, House Energy Action Team meeting in Greeley, piqued the interest of hosts Colorado Representative Cory Gardner and Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis. During the roundtable discussion on domestic energy production, Weld County Commissioners Sean Conway and Douglas Rademacher, along with Weld County Transportation Planner Elizabeth Relford, informed the group about the progress the Coalition has made including: providing public education regarding compressed natural gas (CNG); partnering with municipalities, school districts and fire districts in using Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds to purchase CNG vehicles as part of their individual fleet replacement programs; and, converting many of the county’s own fleet vehicles to CNG.
Relford explained to the group that the Coalition, which formed in late 2009 under the direction of Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer, is made up of public and private sector businesses, municipalities and county government and works collaboratively to promote natural gas as an affordable, abundant and local energy source. Relford also announced the upcoming opening of the first public CNG station in Weld County.
One of the goals of the Coalition, as outlined in the Weld County Smart Energy Plan, is to complete an alternative fuel corridor between Colorado and Wyoming; currently there are no CNG stations linking the two states. The first of four public CNG stations will open on June 29 in Firestone off of Highway 119 and will be operated by SkyBlu, a division of Mansfield Oil Company.
Following the roundtable discussion, Representatives Gardner and Lummis took a ride in one of Weld County’s CNG vehicles and viewed the location for the second CNG station which will open later this summer in Greeley off of Highway 85. By the end of the summer, Weld County will be home to four public CNG stations: Firestone, Greeley, Fort Lupton and Kersey.
To date, Weld County has converted 11 of its own fleet vehicles to CNG and will purchase a heavy-duty liquefied natural gas truck later this year. The county’s goal is to convert 10-15 vehicles a year as well as provide conversion information to other local-area fleets regarding the benefits of CNG fuel.
To support the Weld County Smart Energy Plan, Noble Energy, an active member of the Coalition, committed an initial $5 million over five years to purchase CNG school buses and refueling station infrastructure in the county. On May 22, 2012, at the opening of its Greeley office, Noble Energy presented a check to the Valley RE-1 School District and Greeley/Evans School District 6 as part of this commitment.
To learn more about the Weld County Natural Gas Coalition, or to read the Weld County Smart Energy: Alternative Fuel Corridor Plan, please visit www.weldsmartenergy.org.