GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - The same company that the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority contracted with to install its new compressed natural gas bus fueling station is also the leading candidate to open a public CNG station in Glenwood Springs.
Before making the investment, though, Trillium CNG wants to make sure there's enough market demand for CNG vehicles, including additional public and private fleet conversions, to proceed.
"Those are the kinds of partnerships we need to make this happen," said Jennifer de Tapia, senior business developer for Trillium, who was in Glenwood Springs Wednesday for the grand opening of RFTA's new bus fueling station.
"What really drives the demand for CNG is these larger fleets," she said.
Trillium was one of two companies that responded to a city of Glenwood Springs request for proposals to put in a CNG fueling station for public use, said Ricky Smith, purchasing agent for the city.
Glenwood Springs City Council and the Garfield County commissioners joined forces last fall to offer a $100,000 incentive for a qualified operator to open such a facility.
"They came in as the highest ranked proposer," Smith said of Trillium, which is based in Salt Lake City.
Trillium has proposed partnering with the owner of the West Glenwood Shell Station, Al Butler, and Western Petroleum to install and operate the facility.
"We are looking at a $1 million dollar investment," de Tapia said. "For that reason, we do want to make sure there would be significant enough volumes to justify the investment."
The company is planning a public meeting or series of meetings in April to talk with local fleet operators, as well as individual consumers. That will help Trillium gauge interest in a CNG fueling station locally.
If Trillium is ultimately awarded the city-county incentive offer and decides to proceed, it would likely take about six to eight months to install the new fueling station, de Tapia said.
"We are interested in supporting the efforts here," she said. "To see the number of local officials who are supportive is very encouraging."
Garfield County has agreed to put $90,000 toward the effort to attract a CNG fueling station to Glenwood Springs, while the city put in $10,000.
The public/private partnership approach was touted by Garfield Clean Energy, an intergovernmental organization that has helped the city and county and other local municipalities achieve energy goals.