Communities around the Canadian province of British Columbia will soon see more than 150 new natural gas-powered vehicles (NGVs) on the road after energy utility FortisBC awarded approximately $6 million in incentives early March to transportation operators to purchase compressed natural gas (CNG)-fueled vehicles for their fleets.
“These organizations have shown a commitment to choosing natural gas as a transportation fuel solution,” said Doug Stout, vice president of energy solutions and external relations at FortisBC. “Building on the initial successes we’ve had with natural gas vehicles and the benefits they bring to the environment and our gas customers, this program is making widespread use of natural gas for transportation a reality.”
The program was made possible following the creation of the Government of B.C.’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction regulation.
“The government of B.C. is committed to ensuring natural gas is a significant part of the transportation sector because it is cheaper, cleaner and abundant in B.C.,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Mary Polak. “This new program will help encourage more transportation companies to use natural gas as the transportation fuel choice of the future.”
A total of approximately CAD 6 million for CNG vehicles was awarded to the following vehicle fleet operators:
- BC Transit – $937,500
- BFI Canada – $937,958
- City of Vancouver – $1,854,600
- Cold Star Freight System Inc. – $450,997
- Emterra Environmental – $745,500
- School District No. 23 (Kelowna) – $67,893
- Smithrite Disposal Ltd. – $953,775
The incentives were granted through a public and transparent selection process. The $6 million awarded is part of a $104.5 million program announced in May 2012 to assist qualifying heavy-duty fleet operators to purchase natural gas vehicles. The $104.5 million will help offset the cost of switching fleets to natural gas, fund training and upgrades to facilities to safely maintain natural gas vehicles, and to build CNG or liquid natural gas (LNG) fuelling stations.
In addition to decreased greenhouse gas emissions and noise, refuelling for CNG vehicles is estimated to be 25 to 50 per cent less expensive than refuelling traditional diesel vehicles due to the current difference in prices.
Under the program, FortisBC provides funding to offset a percentage of the incremental capital cost between a qualifying natural gas vehicle and the cost of an equivalent diesel vehicle. Depending on the agreement, FortisBC could fund up to 75 per cent of the incremental cost of the natural gas vehicles.
Rounds of funding will continue over the next four years, with the next round beginning April, 2013.