Utah Clean Cities organized an event in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Energy Development to engage an interest in clean transportation.
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.
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.”