On Friday, about 175 public and private fleet operators, NGV stakeholders, and business development professionals attended a half-day seminar addressing NGV deployment, station development, and a soon-to-be-released Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) grant application notice. The seminar, which was held in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania (just outside Harrisburg), was the first in a series co-hosted by the PA DEP and various business organizations around the state. This session was co-hosted by MABX (Mid-Atlantic Builders Exchange), a trade association serving the construction, architecture, and engineering industry. After opening welcome remarks by PA DEP Office of External Affairs Deputy Director Dan Lapato, Stephe Yborra provided an opening mini-“Compelling Case” presentation, which covered market drivers, available vehicles, station development and ownership operations options, CNG and LNG cost components, and sample economic scenarios. West Chester University Fleet Manager Larry Krackov followed with a presentation about his own CNG fleet and station operations. Mark Hand, PA DEP’s south-central region energy program liaison, outlined the agency’s tentative guidelines for its upcoming grant announcement (due December 1 with a closing date of February 1). Additional seminars in Pennsylvania are slated in the coming weeks, including four additional dates at which NGVAmerica’s Stephe Yborra or Jeff Clarke will be the primary presenters. These include:
• Meadville (Erie) – October 16
• Williamsport – October 17
• Valley Forge – October 24
• Wilkes Barre – October 30
Under PA Act 13, the state will make available $20 million in grants over the next three years, with $10 million available the first year and $7.5 million and $2.5 million in subsequent years. Under the present proposed grant guidelines, half the funds will go to transportation organizations with the remainder available to other public and private organizations. Funds will cover up to 50 percent of the incremental or retrofit costs of NGVs. Project development costs and station development costs are ineligible. While DEP officials reminded attendees that program guidelines may change based on input received at this and other seminars, statutory requirements limit vehicle grants only to vehicles with GVWR of 14,000 pounds or more. Dedicated, bi-fuel, and dual-fuel vehicles are eligible. Grants will be capped at a maximum of $25,000 per vehicle and must cover a minimum of five vehicles fueling at the same primary location. Aggregation of vehicles by different entities is allowed and encouraged. Other requirements apply. For more information about the grant program or upcoming seminars, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click on the Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program button.