Ypsilanti-based Clean Energy Coalition lands $15 million stimulus grant to buy alt fuel vehicles
The Ypsilanti-based Clean Energy CoalitionÂ just received a $15 million federal grant to help municipalities, companies and transportation groups throughout Michigan buy alternative fuel vehicles and install clean fueling stations.Â
The nonprofit renewable energy organization also has secured an additional $16 million from its partners to help them acquire 271 vehicles and install 19 alternative fuel stations throughout the state.
The U.S. Department of Energy distributed the grant to CEC as part of its $300 million Clean Cities program, an initiative funded by the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Organizations to receive vehicles or stations include the University of Michigan, the city of Ann Arbor and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. Others are: the state of Michigan; clean cities groups in Detroit, Lansing and west Michigan; transportation authorities in Flint and Grand Rapids; DTE Energy; Meijer; FedEx Ground; and Forest Hills Public Schools.
CEC, which recently quadrupled its office space in downtown Ypsilanti, will help its partners acquire a wide range of alternative
propulsion vehicles, including hybrid buses and compressed natural gas
"We have the best CNG infrastructure in the state, if not probably the Midwest, because you have public CNG stations that have been open for quite some time," CEC executive director Sean Reed told Business Review in May.
"Obviously compressed natural gas has a very strong role to play in terms of a domestic fuel that can be used for transportation. Do I think it's the be-all-and-end-all for where we're going to be moving? I'd say probably not. It's going to have a role to play in the transportation fuel mix."
CEC said the project, officially called Michigan Green Fleets, would help displace the use of more than 5 million gallons of gasoline over four years and some 500 million pounds of emissions.
“The Clean Cities program is helping give state and local governments the tools they need to build a greener transportation system that will create new jobs and help to put America on the path to a clean energy future,” U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a news release. “Advancing the number of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles on the road will increase our energy security, decrease our dependence on oil, and reduce pollution across the country.”
Officials from CEC, the city of Ann Arbor and the AATA were not immediately available for comment late this afternoon. CEC manages the Ann Arbor Clean Cities Coalition.
Together, the city of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County own about 20 natural-gas-powered vehicles. AATA has 27 hybrid-electric buses that manage a 30 percent fuel efficiency improvement compared to traditional buses.
It wasn't immediately clear where the 19 clean fueling stations would be located. Michigan has some 96 fueling stations that offer ethanol, according to e85vehicles.com.
DTE Energy operates about a dozen natural gas fueling stations throughout Michigan. The company is also working with major automakers, including General Motors, to pursue solutions for electric car charging infrastructure.
DTE spokesman Scott Simons did not have specific information about the CEC project late Wednesday, but he said the project would further a critical cause in the energy space. He said investment in new fueling infrastructure would be "an important project."
"One of the things we'll be looking at is how people will be fueling their vehicles," Simons said.