Gov. Herbert celebrates alternative fuels awareness, showcases clean vehicles

The Governor’s Office of Energy Development and other groups came together Monday at the Utah State Capitol to voice support for the state moving forward with development of cleaner forms of energy and celebrate Utah’s 11th Alternative Fuels Awareness month.

“It is important to diversify transportation fuels, build transportation infrastructure and a fleet of alternative fuel vehicles in order to reduce air pollution and improve air quality, and to save energy and preserve national resources,” reads Gov. Gary Herbert’s declaration.

Dr. Laura Nelson, executive director of the Office of Energy Development, presented a report examining how alternative fuel vehicles can “strengthen our state’s energy resilience and emergency planning through greater collaboration, education and adoption of alternative fuels.”

The proposals and advancements announced Monday are part of Utah’s Energy Action Plan to 2020, an effort by the governor’s office that, in part, aims to address the state’s poor air quality and inversion along the Wasatch Front.

In Utah and Salt Lake counties, air quality in the winter can reach “unhealthy” and “hazardous” levels on the Air Quality Index.

Several “green” vehicles were parked outside the capitol steps and showcased for the public, including a zero-emission natural gas-powered Ford Explorer designed by ReFuel Energy Partners, a New Flyer Industries all-electric transit bus, a duel-fuel service truck and a natural gas-powered Ace Recycling and Disposal dump truck.

In 2016, Utah ranked as the 8th highest state in electric car sales, with almost 1% of new car sales being of electric vehicles, according to a “Clean Energy Momentum” report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Utah Transit Authority executive director Carolyn Gonot said that the public transit company currently operates 54 electric-hybrid buses, three fully electric buses and 47 powered by natural gas. She added that UTA has reduced emissions from its bus fleet by more than three quarters since 2008.

“As UTA continues to incorporate clean technologies and people choose to ride transit, the air pollution savings per trip will only continue to increase,” Gonot said.

The Utah Clean Cities Coalition, a group that works with local leaders to reduce the use of petroleum in the transportation sector, announced that it would advance two United States Department of Energy clean vehicle projects, one that would transition Zion National Park shuttles from propane-powered to electricity-powered and another that would support electric vehicle markets throughout the rural Intermountain West.

The two initiatives are projected to generate over $3 million in revenue for the state over the next three years, according to a Utah Clean Cities Coalition press release.

Another way the state can achieve greater air quality is through providing consumers with sustainable fuel options. Nelson from the Office of Energy Development said that said there are currently 941 gas stations in the state that offer alternative fuels or electric charging stations.

Dr. David M. Christensen, executive director of Utah State University’s Sustainable Electrified Transportation Center, which partners with out-of-state colleges to research sustainable vehicle options, spoke about the center’s growth since its formation in 2016.

“What began as five university partners and a dozen faculty members (has expanded) to 13 core and affiliated university members with more than 40 researchers with globally recognized expertise across sectors in the electric transportation ecosystem,” Christensen said.

The accumulation of these initiatives will contribute to Utah’s “economic and environmental success,” Herbert said in his declaration.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

Utah touts advances in finding alternative fuel solutions

By Lisa Riley Roche, KSL | Posted – Nov 5th, 2019 @ 7:12am

By Lisa Riley Roche@DNewsPolitics, Deseret News | Posted – Nov 4, 2019, 5:15pm MST

 

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Officials marked the 11th anniversary of November being declared Alternative Fuel Awareness Month in Utah by highlighting federally funded projects, including for an electric vehicle corridor across the Intermountain West.“As you can tell, we’ve done a lot. And there continues to be more we can do,” Laura Nelson, Gov. Gary Herbert’s energy adviser, said during a news conference in the Capitol rotunda Monday after reading this year’s declaration from the governor.The Intermountain West Electric Vehicle Corridor, which goes through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming, was created through the signing of memorandum of understanding by the governors of those states in 2017.

Herbert described the corridor in his declaration as providing diverse fueling options along the “I-15 corridor and other designated roadways, thus connecting Utah’s cities, towns, national parks, monuments, recreation areas and scenic byways with neighboring states and regional network.”

The governor said in a statement that “alternative fuels continue to play a critical role in Utah’s economic and environmental success” and praised efforts “to provide greater transportation options to Utahns while also achieving greater air quality, economic opportunity and energy security.”

There are 941 stations in Utah that offer alternative fuels, including compressed, liquified and renewable natural gas and electric vehicle charging, many located along I-15, I-80 and I-70, according to the Governor’s Office of Energy Development.

Tammie Bostick, executive director of the nonprofit Utah Clean Cities, initially said some $260,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy will go toward new electric vehicle charging stations along the corridor over three years, but later updated that number to $670,000.

Laura Nelson, the governor’s energy adviser, speaks during a press conference at the Capitol marking the 11th anniversary of November being declared Alternative Fuel Awareness Month in Utah. (Photo: Colter Peterson, KSL)

She said the money is part of $1.45 million in federal grants that will bring in about $3 million to the state when matched with private and public funds and in-kind contributions.

The federal funds will also help pay for a pair of electric shuttles in Zion National Park that will travel through the steep and narrow Mount Carmel tunnel, Bostick said, expected to cost about $300,000 each. She said ideally they will be on the road within a year.

“All the national parks across the nation are watching us roll this project out,” Bostick said. “It’s very exciting,”

Also unveiled Monday was a report on how alternative fuel vehicles strengthen state planning for emergencies, from the governor’s energy development office, Utah Clean Cities and the National Association of State Energy Officials.

“We are proud to become one of the first models nationally for strategic energy emergency planning across the transportation sector by collaborating on this critical report and other educational and informative tools,” Nelson said, including tracking the availability of alternative fuels.

Ramiro Floras checks out a trio of Teslas following a press conference during a press conference at the Capitol marking the 11th anniversary of November being declared Alternative Fuel Awareness Month in Utah. (Photo: Colter Peterson, KSL)

Currently there are 46 vehicle fleets that use alternative fuels in Utah, with more than 6,400 cars and trucks that operate on natural gas, propane, biodiesel, ethanol, electricity or hybrid fuels, the governor’s energy development office said.

Bostick called the report “a prime example of the Utah way of working together to address complex problems such as emergency response during severe weather events and other climate-driven episodes like fires, floods, drought and seismic activity.”

The Utah Transit Authority was acknowledged for operating alternative-fuel buses, including three that are solely electric and 54 that are electric hybrids, along with municipalities and private companies that are turning to alternative fuels.

At the base of the Capitol steps, several examples of alternative-fuel vehicles were on display including an electric UTA bus, a duel-fuel compressed natural gas service truck from Lancer Auto Group and three different models of Tesla cars.

Governor Herbert Signs 11th Annual Alternative Fuels Declaration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4th, 2019

 

Governor Herbert Signs 11th Annual Alternative Fuels Declaration


UTAH CLEAN CITIES AND THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF ENERGY DEVELOPMENT ARE INCREASING STATEWIDE EDUCATION AND USE FOR ADVANCED ALTERNATIVE FUELS AND VEHICLES

Nov 4, 2019 — Salt Lake City, Utah. Leaders and organizations gathered in celebration of the 11th Year Anniversary and Annual Declaration of the Governor’s Partnership for Advanced Fuels and Infrastructure – the next step in understanding proven business models for fleets and sustainable strategies for clean transportation in Utah. The event was designed to engage a wide variety of stakeholders, private and public partnerships, communities, and leaders on a common platform to better understand cost effective and measurable impact solutions to emissions. This will boost the overall economy and benefit the transportation sector by offering cleaner transportation alternatives statewide. 

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Governor Advances Clean Transportation in Utah

Utah Leaders and organizations gathered on Nov 4, 2019, in celebration of the 11th Year Anniversary and Annual Declaration of the Governor’s Partnership for Advanced Fuels and Infrastructure. This event represents the next step in understanding proven business models for fleets and sustainable strategies for clean transportation in Utah.

Utah Clean Cities organized the event in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Energy Development to engage a wide variety of stakeholders, private and public partnerships, communities, and leaders on a common platform to better understand cost effective and measurable impact solutions to emissions. The goal? To boost the overall economy and benefit the transportation sector by offering cleaner transportation alternatives statewide.

Tammie Bostick, Utah Clean Cities Executive Director. Photo By Colter Peterson, KSL.

The Governor’s Declaration includes information regarding the integration of low – and zero-emissions transportation options and calls for continued expansion of infrastructure for Alternative Fuels. The declaration notes the emerging portfolio of advanced fueled vehicles, both public and private, including fuels produced from Utah-sourced agricultural and municipal wastes, electric, propane, compressed natural gas, ethanol and biodiesel. 

“Alternative fuels continue to play a critical role in Utah’s economic and environmental success,” said Gary R. Herbert, Governor of Utah.  “With my Office of Energy Development and its key partners, we have worked together to realize significant strides in diversifying our fuels and infrastructure to provide greater transportation options to Utahns while also achieving greater air quality, economic opportunity and energy security.”

The Annual Declaration for Alternative Fuels in Utah began in 2008 and has since drawn local and national interest. This year’s Declaration was read by Laura Nelson, the Governor’s energy advisor, and outlined several key successes realized to date, including the ever-growing infrastructure expansion in Utah, the eight-state agreement to advance an electric vehicle corridor across the West, and the creation of an emergency response database and fleet acquisition plan.  In total, 941 stations across Utah offer alternative fuels, including CNG, RNG, LNG, autogas and electric charging, many along its most frequented corridors – I-15, I-80 and I-70. 

Tammy Bostick, center, UCC, listens as Laura Nelson, the governor’s energy advisor, reads the Declaration of Alternative Fuel Awareness Month. During the event Nelson unveiled the iREV Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Emergency Plans report produced in partnership with OED, UCC, and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO).  The report examines how alternative fuel vehicles can bolster Utah’s resilience, and be leveraged as an emergency response resource in the event of a disruption to the state’s transportation fuels sector.  Photo By Colter Peterson, KSL.“As we continue to deliver on Utah’s Energy Action Plan to 2020, we are proud to unveil the new iREV report, in partnership with UCC and NASEO, to strengthen our state’s energy resilience and emergency planning through greater collaboration, education and adoption of alternative fuels, which remain a vital player in Utah’s overall economic and environmental strategy,” said Laura Nelson, the governor’s energy advisor and executive director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Development. “Through new online tools and fuller partnerships, we anticipate our strategic planning will realize ever-greater safety, infrastructure, and investment opportunities as we look to meet the demands of the future.” 

Other event speakers included Tammie Bostick, Utah Clean Cities; Carolyn Gonot, UTA, and David Christenson, SELECT. As a key highlight, Utah Clean Cities announced its commitment to advance two DOE cooperative agreements to support advanced vehicle projects, namely the East Zions National Park Electric Vehicle Shuttle System Plan and Supporting a Strong EV Market in the Intermountain West. OED provided support letters for these UCC grants, which will include the development and deployment of a small-scale EV shuttle system at Zions that will increase connectivity across Southern Utah and act as a national model, and the driving of a multi stakeholder engagement project to strengthen the EV market and rural infrastructure across the region.  The projects are expected to generate more than three million in revenue for the state over the next three years. 

Ramiro Floras checks out a trio of Teslas following a press conference during a press conference at the Capitol marking the 11th anniversary of November being declared Alternative Fuel Awareness Month in Utah. Photo By Colter Peterson, KSL.

“The entire Intermountain West Region will benefit from this project which supports consumer education, stakeholder engagement, and urban and rural infrastructure development of electric vehicle charging through the expansion of alternative fuel corridors,” said Tammie Bostick, executive director of Utah Clean Cities.

Other transportation stakeholders spoke on their commitment to delivering on Utah’s alternative fuel future, including Dominion Energy on the advancement of H.B. 107 which expands the Sustainable Transportation Plan Act to include a large-scale natural gas utility, and UTA which has reduced its emissions by more than half by diversifying their fleet since 2008, with a long-term goal of evenly providing of CNG, electric and hybrid fuels. 

“Dominion Energy is proud to deliver clean, reliable energy to homes, businesses, industry and alternative-energy automobiles,” said Craig Wagstaff, Dominion Energy Senior Vice President and General Manager – Western Division. “We are excited about our partnerships – which are expanding – with producers of renewable natural gas (RNG) to provide carbon-negative sources of fuel for natural gas vehicles and homes. Dominion Energy’s goal is to become the nation’s leader when it comes to sustainable, reliable, affordable and safe energy.”  

Hal Johnson, manager of project development for the Utah Transit Authority, gives Carolyn Gonot, UTA’s executive director, a rundown of the energy consumption on one of the company’s electric buses following a press conference at the Capitol marking the 11th anniversary of November being declared Alternative Fuel Awareness Month in Utah. Photo By Colter Peterson, KSL.

UTA currently operates 54 electric-hybrid buses, 47 CNG buses, and 3 electric buses. With the implementation of new technology, UTA has reduced emissions by more than 75% from our past bus fleet (2008) to our current fleet today (2019),” said Carolyn Gonot, UTA Executive Director. “Those who choose to ride UTA’s bus system save an average of 18.7 grams/trip of air pollution. As UTA continues to incorporate clean technologies and people choose to ride transit the air pollution savings per trip will only continue to increase.”

In recent years, several municipalities have committed to diversifying their fleets, including Salt Lake City, St. George, Sandy City, Park City, and now the gateway community of Kanab.  In 2017, Park City became the first municipality in Utah to operate a zero-emission, all-electric bus system. Additionally, the Salt Lake City International Airport is working to integrate alternative fuels to its fleet, including RNG (renewable natural gas) and electric.  Lastly, adoption among the private-sector continues to rise, with initiatives within companies such as Geneva Rock, a construction business based in Orem, Packsize, a sustainable packaging company, and refuse haulers ACE Recycling and Disposal and Momentum Waste Management. 

“The world of fleet fuels has been very exciting over the last 10 years,” said Matt Stalsberg, general manager of ACE.  “Our consumption needs have forced us to look at alternative fuels, and our ethics have inspired us to choose what fuels we think would benefit our environment.  Fueling technology is the driving force that tells us what we can afford versus what we may want for the environment. Manufacturer’s need incentives, to embrace new technology research, this will help people like me afford a fleet that I can be proud of.”

Lastly, Utah continues to be at the forefront of emerging electriciation opportunities through research conducted at Utah State University’s Sustainable Electrified Transportation Center (SELECT) — a diverse network of faculty, students, key industry members and stakeholders are pursuing research activities that enable technologies and engineered systems in electrified transportation.

“Our collaboration activities have allowed us to grow from what began as five university partners and a dozen faculty members to 13 core and affiliated university members with more than 40 researchers with globally recognized expertise across sectors in the electric transportation ecosystem,” said David M. Christensen, SELECT Executive Director. “We are proud to have an aggressive and competitive research enterprise at Utah State University, including the Electric Vehicle & Roadway Research and Test Track Facility.”