The U.S. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded $7.7 million in Act 13 funding to 25 companies and organizations making the switch to natural gas for their heavy-duty fleet vehicles.
“Act 13 not only strengthened oversight of the drilling industry, it allows us to continue growing jobs while cleaning the air at the same time,” Governor Tom Corbett said. “Natural gas, particularly from the shale formations here in Pennsylvania, is an abundant, affordable, domestic fuel that is putting this country on a path to energy independence.”
Amongst other measures, the Act also authorized DEP to develop and implement the Natural Gas Energy Development program, funded by impact fees paid by natural gas operators. The program distributes up to $20 million in grants over three years, to help pay for the incremental purchase and conversion costs of heavy-duty natural gas fleet vehicles.
For this second round of the program, DEP received applications from 37 applicants requesting more than $10 million in grants. A portion of funding was reserved for local transportation organizations, as required by the Act. Funded fleet vehicles include school buses, shuttle buses, concrete mixer truck, freighters, refuse collection vehicles, mobile food trucks and more.
The first round awarded $6.3 million to 19 companies and organizations making the switch to natural gas. The third and final round is slated to open in late summer.
Eligible vehicles for all three rounds of the Natural Gas Energy Development program include those fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) or bi-fuel vehicles weighing 14,000 pounds or more.
Grant requests cannot exceed 50 percent of the incremental purchase or retrofit cost per vehicle or a maximum total of $25,000 per vehicle.
The 25 companies and organizations that were awarded grants will collectively purchase new natural gas vehicles (NGVs) or convert vehicles to natural gas operation, to a total 383 units. 25 will operate on LNG and the balance will use CNG.
(Source: Pennsylvania DEP)