Proposal for natural-gas station wins grant

$795,000 to be spent on facilities in Rifle, Grand Junction areas

A proposed public compressed natural gas station in Rifle got a big boost Monday when the state announced it would receive a $675,285 grant.

The Governor’s Energy Office also announced a second federal Recovery Act-supported grant of $120,000 for the city of Grand Junction to complete a compressed natural gas fueling station. That station would be for use by city vehicles, as well as other fleets.

The city bought four garbage trucks that run on natural gas, and Grand Valley Transit is buying two buses that would benefit from the fueling station.

Both grants are contingent on the projects obtaining state and federal permits and meeting other contracting requirements.

The Rifle station would help address the lack of any public compressed natural gas fueling stations along Interstate 70 in western Colorado. It also would serve vehicles owned by Garfield County, Colorado Mountain College and several area oil and gas companies.

The grant will go to Rocky Mountain Alternative Fueling, whose manager is Kirk Swallow, a Rifle gasoline wholesaler and retailer. Swallow previously has said the cost of installing a compressed natural gas station starts at about $700,000.

Swallow also is developing a second such station in Parachute.

Efforts to develop refueling infrastructure for vehicles powered by compressed natural gas have been supported by a range of interests from the energy industry to the American Lung Association.

Gov. Bill Ritter said in the state’s news release: “Fueling fleets and heavy-duty vehicles with compressed natural gas creates another market for Colorado’s homegrown energy and continues to advance the state as a national leader in the New Energy Economy. These grants will make it easier for local governments and energy companies to fuel their vehicles with CNG, reducing the use of foreign oil and increasing our energy independence, while also making our air cleaner.”

The state said in the release that vehicles running on natural gas rather than gasoline produce fewer emissions contributing to ground-level ozone pollution, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21 to 26 percent, according to U.S. Department of Energy estimates.


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