Natural gas fueling station in Pembroke approved

A proposed natural gas fueling station off Route 3 could open as early as January, after winning approval of the Pembroke Planning Board on Tuesday night.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. of Newport Beach, Calif., plans to build a six-bay station for dispensing compressed natural gas on the corner of Route 3 and Cooperative Way. Construction should begin sometime in late September, said Mark Riley, eastern region vice president for Clean Energy.

"Clean Energy is pleased with the board's decision," Riley said. "We're very comfortable with the conditions imposed. . . . We won't be up and running in the fall, but we anticipate being up and running early 2014. I would like to be open tomorrow, but we'll say early 2014."

The proposed station will be owned by Clean Energy and operated by Vermont-based NG Advantage, where tractor-trailers could fill up to deliver compressed natural gas to industrial customers.

The 4-acre site will have approximately an acre of impervious pavement and a canopy covering the filling stations. The location is uniquely suited to this project, company officials said at a hearing this spring, because of its size and access to an existing natural gas pipeline and existing highways.

The filling station would be available to truck drivers 24 hours a day.

The project was met with initial resistance from nearby residents, who objected to more heavy truck traffic on Route 3.

The town planning board required the company to post signs outlining the state laws against idling vehicles, and limited the station to 20 trucks per day as a condition of approval. To increase the number of trucks, the companies operating the site will have to reapply to the board.

During an earlier approval process, the board also required the company to maintain a berm of trees bordering Route 3 to limit light and noise pollution for nearby houses.

The station will serve vehicles that use compressed natural gas and tractor-trailers that will transport the fuel throughout northern New England to factories and other large businesses that aren't connected to a pipeline.

Clean Energy announced a 10-year partnership earlier this month with NG Advantage, under which NG Advantage will purchase compressed natural gas equal to at least 10 million gallons of gasoline each year, more than double the volume supplied by Clean Energy Fuel's highest-volume station.

This article was first published by Concord Monitor.

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