DEP grants fuel three midstate alternative energy projects
Three midstate projects claimed more than half of the $1.1 million the state awarded this month during its most recent round of alternative fuel grants.
Those projects include the addition of propane-fueled buses at a Dauphin County school district, purchase of a fleet of compressed-natural-gas-powered vehicles for a company doing business in Cumberland County and construction of a compressed-natural-gas fueling station in Lancaster County.
The three initiatives received a combined $654,000 from the Department of Environmental Protection's Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant program in November. The program, established in 1992, awards state dollars to entities working on projects that reduce the use of fossil fuels.
Similar projects in Westmoreland and Beaver counties received the remaining funds for this round of grants.
The state plans to award $5 million in grants through the program in 2017, split among two rounds of applicants. Entities interested in the second round of awards must submit applications by Dec. 15.
Here are the details on the projects that received approval in the midstate:
Compressed-natural-gas fueling station in Lancaster County
Texas-based Trillium Transportation Fuels LLC received $500,000 in grant money to put toward construction of a public-access compressed-natural-gas fueling station.
This station is planned for 202 Greenfield Road in East Lampeter Township, at a Pacific Pride commercial fueling site owned by Lancaster County energy supplier Worley and Obetz.
Trillium representatives declined to comment on the project when reached Tuesday.
Vehicles powered by compressed natural gas generally emit less carbon than traditional fossil fuels. They also help Pennsylvania's economy, state officials have said, because the state produces so much of its own natural gas.
Trillium's station will be the second compressed-natural-gas station in Lancaster County, and one of several in the midstate. A similar station opened this past spring in Spring Garden Township, York County.
Compressed-natural-gas-fueled truck fleet in Cumberland County
W.W. Transport, an Idaho-based trucking service, received a $140,000 grant it plans to put toward the purchase of seven compressed-natural-gas-powered vehicles for its operations in Camp Hill.
The company expects the switch will help it save the equivalent of 114,000 gallons of gasoline per year, according to the DEP.
W.W. Transport has operations across the U.S., including a second Pennsylvania location in Northampton Township. The business specializes in bulk food-grade and refrigerated hauling, in addition to other transportation services.
Propane-fueled school buses in Derry Township
Derry Township School District in Dauphin County raked in a $14,084 grant to help cover half the cost of buying four propane-powered school buses.
Derry Township has been gradually replacing old buses with propane-powered ones over the past several years, according to several reports. Although these vehicles require a larger up-front investment than traditional buses, the district hopes to save money in the long run because of the relatively inexpensive cost of propane when compared to diesel.
Propane-powered school buses are gaining popularity across the U.S., with companies like Lancaster-based Rhoads Energy advocating for more districts to add them to their fleets.