Atlanta Gas Light – Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Atlanta Gas Light recently received approval from the Georgia Public Service Commission for a plan to support the development of a network of privately owned compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations in Georgia and will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for interested parties to participate.
The PSC’s approval of the Atlanta Gas Light CNG Program helps resolve the “chicken or egg” dilemma: Which comes first, natural gas vehicles or the infrastructure to refuel them? Under the program, Atlanta Gas Light will contract with private station owners to construct CNG fueling stations throughout metro Atlanta and along major transportation corridors in Georgia. Atlanta Gas Light will install compression and CNG storage equipment at both traditional gas stations and new CNG fueling stations developed to serve CNG customers.
Station owners must meet certain criteria to be considered for participation under the Atlanta Gas Light CNG Program, including having access to land on which to locate the fueling equipment and having fleet customers who will utilize approximately 20 percent of the station’s fueling capacity in the first year of operation. The majority of the funds approved by the PSC will go to support public access stations that will serve fleet customers as well as the general public.
Funds were also approved to construct limited access stations that will support fleets providing a public benefit, such as municipal buses or garbage truck fleets. Access to these stations will be limited to customers with agreements with the station owner.
The plan includes a home refueling appliance lease program that enables Atlanta Gas Light to lease the FuelMaker “Phill” or similar CNG appliances at a discounted rate to individual CNG vehicle owners. Details are not yet finalized, but Atlanta Gas Light anticipates the lease payment will be about $60 per month for the first 500 customers.
"Georgia is positioned geographically to be the hub for CNG fueling station expansion in the Southeast, and this new program will enable Atlanta Gas Light to partner with developers to meet the region's growing demand for CNG," says Ian Skelton, director of Atlanta Gas Light's natural gas vehicle program. "Fleet owners and vehicle manufacturers recognize the significant price advantage CNG holds over petroleum, and now Atlanta Gas Light will be ready to serve the market as Georgia-based commercial and government fleets switch to CNG. Natural gas is the best available transportation fuel, and Atlanta Gas Light is leading the way.”
Following a call from Georgia PSC Commissioner Doug Everett to develop a program to attract private investment in CNG infrastructure, Atlanta Gas Light submitted a plan in May 2011 that relied upon proceeds from the state’s Universal Service Fund to underwrite the cost of the company’s CNG equipment at stations where private funds would be used to provide land, improvements and related station components.
The PSC approved Atlanta Gas Light’s plan to use $11.57 million from the Universal Service Fund to pay for CNG equipment at the approximately five to 10 stations to be developed under the program. The cost of the CNG equipment is estimated to range from $600,000 to $1.5 million, depending upon station capacity. After five years of commercial operations, CNG station owners will have the option to purchase the CNG equipment from Atlanta Gas Light, with the proceeds of the sale being returned to the Universal Service Fund.
Atlanta Gas Light will issue a Request for Proposals in March 2012 to solicit applications from prospective CNG station developers, and construction of the first stations could begin in late 2012. Interested parties are encouraged to contact Atlanta Gas Light (Ian Skelton, firstname.lastname@example.org or (404) 584-4626).
This article was first published
Atlanta Gas Light.