The Kanawha County Commission and Charleston Area Alliance applaud the formation of a new state-wide task force that is evaluating the feasibility of converting the state’s motor vehicle fleet to natural gas.
The Commission and the Alliance have been working in partnership since January on a similar initiative, “Kanawha Converts,” to evaluate and encourage development of an infrastructure that would support the use of natural gas to fuel both public and private vehicle fleets.
In July, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed a new Natural Gas Vehicle Task Force, which includes several members of the Kanawha Converts consortium.
Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper said that the consortium will support Governor Tomblin’s statewide efforts.
“The Governor and his appointed taskforce are welcome to use the information we’ve already developed if it will expedite their process. Our consortium and the County are committed to the development of the infrastructure necessary to make sure our natural gas benefits the taxpayers of Kanawha County,” Carper said.
The partners in the consortium have been working hard to get to where we are now. We have established good data and information with which to move forward. Currently, we are gauging interest in usage volumes to determine if a Request for Proposal can be issued to locate an initial compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Charleston.
With these newly accessible natural gas resources under our feet, all West Virginians, as taxpayers and as individuals, should benefit. Last week, the Governor also announced that Charleston will host the Appalachian Basin Natural Gas Vehicle Expo and Conference in May 2013.
This expo, to be attended by natural gas industry leaders, members from the auto industry representatives and a dozen other governors, will promote natural gas as a fuel for both public and private vehicles.
Since its creation in January, the the Kanawha Converts Consortium has:
• Conducted a market analysis determining return on investment and opportunities for city, county and private fleets to convert to natural gas vehicles;
• Drafted Senate Bill 624, which gives allows government units to transfer special tax credits for certain natural gas projects to conversion of government vehicles to natural gas, saving tax payers dollars.
• Determined public and private sector demand as part of the due diligence process for the development of a CNG fueling station;
• Coordinated with Bridgemont Community and Technical College in the development of training programs for the installation or “up-fitting” of vehicles and maintenance on natural gas vehicles;
• Supported the county’s purchase of a 2013 Chevy Tahoe that will have a bi-fuel AutoGas America CNG conversion kit installed. The vehicle is expected to arrive in Kanawha County ready for use sometime in the early fall of this year.
• Applauded the Kanawha Valley Rapid Transit Authority receipt of a $2 million federal grant that will potentially be used to purchase CNG buses.
• Hosted Clean Fuels USA in Charleston to discuss propane as a source for natural gas fleet fuel.
Until next time,