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County supports new natural gas station

Proposed location would fill a critical infrastructure gap in Colorado

By Adam Broderick

There is good chance Gunnison will be home to a new compressed natural gas (CNG) station within the next year.
County commissioners wrote a letter to the Colorado Energy Office on Tuesday, June 16 to support a grant application for Trillium, a clean energy company that aims to construct a public access CNG station in Gunnison.

According to the letter of support, the fueling station would assist in Gunnison County’s transition to CNG, part of the Board of County Commissioners’ strategic plan to convert county fleet vehicles to CNG. “County staff are working diligently toward that goal; the construction of a station will allow us to achieve it,” the letter states.
CNG produces about 30 percent less greenhouse gases and is about half the cost of diesel. The proposed CNG station would not utilize gas wells in the county or require any new wells to be developed; natural gas would come from the pipeline infrastructure currently in place and would not require any refining or shipping. The cost to produce it would be based on the cost of the gas and the cost to compress it, and compression would occur locally.

Many non-commercial vehicles driven in the county can be purchased as both gasoline- and CNG-friendly, so when the option for CNG is unavailable gasoline can be used. According to the letter, the proposed station would fill a critical CNG fueling infrastructure gap in Colorado by “allowing fleets that utilize Hwy. 50 to fuel at a halfway point between stations that already exist on the Front Range and on the Western Slope.”

Gunnison County facilities and grounds director John Cattles said in an email that the grant, if approved, will cover up to $500,000 or up to 80 percent of construction project costs. Cattles feels Trillium has a good chance at getting the grant money. If successful, he hopes to have a station up and running early 2016.

Cattles explained that there would be one fueling station in Gunnison. He said it would go where the Conoco station is on Hwy. 50, since Trillium is partnering with Parish Oil, the company that owns that station.

“There is good CNG station coverage along the Front Range and I-70 as well as Grand Junction and continuing west,” Cattles said. “Gunnison will fill a gap on Hwy. 50 and offer an alternative route to I-70 for CNG vehicles. Because of that and the support that the county and [Western State Colorado University] have shown to this project we feel that Trillium has a strong grant application.”

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