GLENWOOD SPRINGS - The city of Glenwood Springs is being asked to move forward in offering a financial incentive to attract a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station to the city, even though no energy companies have offered up funding yet.
The City Council, at its regular meeting Thursday, will consider seeking proposals from gas station operators to install a CNG unit for customers who have natural gas vehicles.
The proposed public/private partnership is being touted by the intergovernmental Garfield Clean Energy (GCE) and the Western Slope CNG Collaborative. It has gained initial support from both city of Glenwood and Garfield County officials.
Under the proposal, the city would offer $10,000 to help get the project off the ground, and would apply for an additional $90,000 from the county.
Initially, the groups were hoping to line up $200,000 from one or more private energy companies to complete the incentive package.
However, that support has not materialized, according to a memo from Glenwood Springs City Manager Jeff Hecksel to City Council for Thursday's discussion.
GCE recommends that the city and county proceed in seeking proposals, and believes fueling companies will respond without that extra level of support, Hecksel said.
"As council has been supportive of CNG fueling, this is a way to help support development of a market for this alternative fuel without a great deal of cost or risk on the city's part," Hecksel said in recommending that council proceed with the plan.
Mike Ogburn, who works as an energy engineer with GCE administrator Clean Energy Economy for the Region, further explained the proposal in an Oct. 5 memo to city and county officials.
"The Rifle compressed natural gas station demonstrates that, 'if you build it, they will come,'" Ogburn said of the CNG unit at the Rifle Shell station. "The station has already reached a sales volume of 5,200 gallons a month, including sales to the general public."
Encana Oil and Gas is working on a plan to build a fueling station in Parachute to support its natural gas operations in that region. It also plans to sell fuel to the public, said Ogburn, who also works with the CNG Collaborative.
"There is consensus that Glenwood Springs is the next most important location for a CNG station," he said. "A Glenwood station would support the key Highway 82 and I-70 corridors in Garfield County and expand service into other communities that serve as hubs for business in the county."
Once proposals are received, the city and county would work together to choose the winning operator. Ogburn suggested that the public incentive money not be paid until the station becomes operational.
The regular Glenwood Springs City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 101 W. Eighth St.