Glenwood CNG station on track for fall opening |

Glenwood CNG station on track for fall opening

A compressed natural gas fueling station at the West Glenwood Shell station could break ground by June and be open by early fall, if all goes according to plans.

Efforts also are under way to try to establish a new CNG station in Rifle, after the previous one closed last summer, Heather McGregor, administrative manager for Garfield Clean Energy, reported to county commissioners on Monday.

The success of both stations comes down to building market demand among area public and private vehicle fleet operators to begin converting to CNG vehicles, McGregor said.

In the case of the Glenwood station, operator Trillium CNG of Salt Lake City is prepared to move ahead after obtaining fuel purchase agreements or letters of interest from nine different fleet operators, she said.

Trillium, which obtained a $443,000 Colorado Alt Fuels Program grant last fall to install the station, is preparing to submit applications for its city approvals in the coming weeks, and expects to break ground by June. That would put the station on track to open by September, McGregor said.

In 2012, Garfield County commissioners pledged $90,000 to establish the Glenwood station, while the city of Glenwood Springs set aside $10,000 to help see the project through.

At that time, the only CNG station operating in the county was at the Rifle Shell station, and was owned and operated by Kirk Swallow.

That station closed last June, putting a crimp in the county’s own plans to purchase more CNG vehicles, noted Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, who said the county had to return a state grant to convert some of its fleet to CNG after the Rifle station closed.

The county remains committed to the Glenwood station as a way to further the expansion of CNG options on the Western Slope. But that station won’t be large enough to accommodate the county’s bigger trucks, many of which are also based in Rifle, Jankovsky said.

That situation could change if the local-government-supported Garfield Clean Energy is successful in attracting another CNG operator, Sparq Natural Gas out of Oklahoma City, to open a new station at the Gilstrap petroleum park in West Rifle.

McGregor said another operator was prepared to apply for second-round Alt Fuels funding from the state to open the Rifle station, but backed out at the last minute when its plans didn’t pencil out.

Sparq is already one of the major players in Colorado, having won grants to build stations in Pueblo, Trinidad, Durango and Eaton, and is prepared to apply for two more stations when the third round of grant funding opens in June. Rifle is among four locations that the company is considering, McGregor said.

“We recognize that it is absolutely necessary for Rifle to have a fueling station for Garfield County to make use of CNG and have placed a very high priority for Rifle in this next round,” she said.

Gilstrap park is ideal, she said, because it is larger and already has multiple fueling islands with space for larger trucks. It’s also located on an existing high-pressure Xcel gas line that will make fuel delivery more efficient, she said.

McGregor said a company representative is scheduled to visit the Rifle location next week. Garfield Clean Energy and its program administrator, Clean Energy Economy for the Region, also continue to work on lining up additional fuel purchase agreements, she said.

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