LaCrosse Tribune – Monday, December 10, 2012
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has at least temporarily denied entry of a potential Kwik Trip competitor into the compressed natural gas vehicle refueling market.
Wisconsin Public Service Corp. wanted regulators’ permission to supply compressed natural gas to Integrys Transportation Fuels and Trillium CNG.
That would have put a public utility in competition with Kwik Trip, which plans have nearly 30 compressed natural gas, or CNG, stations operating next year in the Midwest, most them in Wisconsin.
CNG is an emerging fuel source. Wisconsin ranks sixth in the nation with 12 natural gas refueling stations in seven cities.
“In order to allow further consideration of the proper role of regulated utilities and their affiliates in the developing CNG transportation fuels market, the application is denied, without prejudice,” according to a PSC order released last Friday.
Denying the agreement without prejudice allows the commission to consider a subsequent application by WPS or another utility, said PSC spokeswoman Kristin Ruesch.
The commission is considering holding a public hearing early next year to gain a broader context of the impact of allowing a regulated utility, like Green Bay-based WPS, to enter the CNG transport fuels market.
Kwik Trip views CNG refueling as a complement to its retail gasoline business. CNG is included in the alternate fuels station it opened earlier this year at its La Crosse headquarters.
The future looks bright for CNG as a transportation fuel. Diesel and gas prices remain volatile, while natural gas is produced domestically and the supply is increasing. CNG is priced less than other fuels, and vehicle makers are showing more interest in producing models that will operate on CNG.
This article was first published