Canadian energy utility FortisBC has introduced an incentive funding program to assist qualifying heavy-duty fleet operators to purchase natural gas vehicles, following the announcement Government of British Columbia’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction regulation announcement. “FortisBC sees the potential of liquefied and compressed natural gas as a transportation fuel solution in British Columbia,” said Doug Stout, vice president, energy solutions and external relations, FortisBC. “Over the past few years we’ve worked with several organizations with return to base, heavy-duty fleets including Vedder Transport, Waste Management and the Kelowna School District. Today’s announcement allows us to build on these initial successes and help realize benefits for the environment, existing utility customers and fleet owners.”
The company says natural gas is approximately 40 per cent less expensive than diesel. This could help reduce the cost of public services such as waste collection and transit and increase the competitiveness of B.C. businesses by reducing transport costs for goods.
“All gas utility customers will benefit from the additional volumes of natural gas moving through FortisBC’s pipeline system,” said Stout. “The costs of maintaining the pipeline system are recovered in the delivery rates of all customers. Better year-round, optimization of these pipeline assets, especially during the summer months when heating requirements are reduced, will result in a long-term, positive impact for our customers.”
FortisBC will be applying to the B.C. Utilities Commission for a determination on how program costs will be recovered from all gas utility customers. It is anticipated that the long-term effect of the program will be a positive impact to customers’ delivery rates.
“FortisBC’s new program will help build B.C.’s global leadership in clean transportation and could lead to the conversion of approximately 1,500 vehicles, bringing new jobs and other economic opportunities to B.C.,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines. “Natural gas is a cheaper, cleaner alternative to traditional gasoline and diesel and this program will encourage more companies to take advantage of natural gas.”
During the initial phase of the program, FortisBC will provide up to 80 per cent of new incentives for the incremental cost of a natural gas vehicle. FortisBC’s plan is to decrease the funding by 10 per cent per each following year of the program as the adoption of natural gas vehicles in heavy-duty transportation increases. As natural gas fuel use in the heavy-duty transportation sector matures over time, FortisBC believes that incentives will no longer be necessary. Although the incentive program is expected to expire in 2017, utility customers and British Columbians will continue to benefit as the adoption of natural gas vehicles increases.
Eligible applicants for this program are commercial, return-to-base fleet operators of:
- heavy-duty trucking (highway transport tractors)
- buses (transit, school)
- vocational vehicles (refuse trucks, delivery vehicles)
- marine vessels (ferries)
FortisBC is intending to begin accepting applications in early June. Full program details and updates are available at fortisbc.com/ngt.
This article compiled using information supplied by FortisBC.