Calgary City Council has approved a plan to purchase up to 200 CNG transit buses for use at Calgary Transit’s Spring Garden garage. The decision represents a major turning point for natural gas as a fuel for transit buses in Canada, says the Canadian Natural Gas vehicle Alliance (CNGVA). Up until now, all Canadian experience was with older generation engine technology. Calgary Transit estimates that the new CNG buses will reduce fuel costs by more than CAD 11,000 per (USD 10,700) bus per year as well as providing carbon emission and noise benefits. Approval was based on a business case developed as a directive of the City Council in September this year. Specifically, it was resolved that Council direct Administration to develop a business case for the adoption of Natural Gas transit vehicles to achieve fuel cost savings and lower environmental impact with the following attributes:
- Fleet Inventory and current transportation costs (asset value, fuel and maintenance),
- Cost savings resulting from adoption of Natural Gas vehicles both in terms of fuel and maintenance,
- Environmental benefits,
- Cost related to changing the current vehicle capital plan to have natural gas vehicles, where appropriate,
- Condition of the current vehicle assets according to the City of Calgary’s rating scale,
- Prepare an Expression of Interest to go out to the energy sector seeking a business partner for a long term fuel supply relationship and possible capital cost partnership
Additionally. it was resolved that Administration review the costs and benefits for the City’s transit fleet to be converted to natural gas vehicles over a ten year period and report to Council no later than November 7, 2011.
CNGVA acknowledges the contribution of ATCO Gas, Change Energy, Cummins Westport, Encana, and IMW Industries toward development of the business case.