Michigan Green Fleets
61 alternative fuel stations
Clean Energy Coalition believes that local actions to adopt alternative fuel vehicles can help reduce our reliance on imported oil, boost economic activity, improve air quality, and drive us into a clean transportation era with advanced vehicles powered by domestic energy sources.
Michigan Green Fleets — a program funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act — has brought together a diverse cross-section of Michigan fleets to deploy alternative fuel and advanced vehicles and supporting infrastructure to work toward these goals.
Join us Thursday, June 13 at Henry Ford Community College to get a first-hand look at alternative vehicles that are operating as a result of Green Fleets. Learn about fleet managers’ experiences and the statewide impact of this program.
When: Thursday, June 13, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. (registration begins at 10:30 a.m.)
Where: Henry Ford Community College, 5101 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128 (map) (parking lot near main auto lab)
Lunch will be provided for registered attendees, sponsored by DTE Energy.
Please RSVP, and we look forward to seeing you June 13!
The City of Midland, the City of Saginaw, Thomas Township, and Williams Charter Township are on their way to becoming the first Solar-Ready Communities in Michigan. Working together on a project led by Clean Energy Coalition, these municipalities have agreed to streamline local permitting, planning, and zoning processes related to solar installations.
As part of an effort that will ultimately expand statewide, representatives from these Great Lakes Bay Region municipalities “are working proactively and collaboratively to examine solar installations and what that means for our communities,” said Williams Charter Township Supervisor Paul Wasek. “By doing so, we are getting ahead of the curve and coordinating our efforts.”
City and township officials gathered in Saginaw on April 24th and again in Auburn on May 29th to explore ways to best prepare for increased adoption of solar technology. These working sessions included a review of national best practices for solar permitting and discussions on adopting a region-wide approach. Representatives also agreed to support a Solar-Ready Community resolution that commits each municipality to supporting the expansion of solar installations and ongoing evaluation of this issue.
“I am impressed at the level of collaboration among the jurisdictions to accomplish this work,” said Heather Seyfarth, program supervisor at Clean Energy Coalition. “The Bay Region’s dedication to exploring this issue together along with the new approaches to solar and materials that they develop will serve as a model for the rest of the state.”
“This is an important move for our region,” said JoAnn Crary, president of Saginaw Future, Inc. “Not only is it vital for our local communities to be prepared for emerging technologies, but also solar is especially important to our region as we are home to one of the largest solar equipment manufacturers in the county. We consider planning for solar to be an economically strategic step for our municipalities.”
All three of the Great Lakes Bay Region’s economic development corporations — Saginaw Future, Inc., Midland Tomorrow, and Bay Future — have played key support roles in launching Renewable Energy Tools Program, a statewide project funded by a grant from the Michigan Energy Office. Other supporters of the effort include the Dow Chemical Company, Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Association of Planning, and Detroit JATC Electrical Industry Training Center.
With the ultimate goal of lowering the installed cost per watt of renewable energy in Michigan, the Renewable Energy Tools Program is examining statewide permitting and zoning practices and developing a robust package of municipal tools, including renewable energy guidebooks and fact sheets that address solar installations, urban wind turbines, urban bioenergy, and electric vehicle charging stations. By late 2013, Clean Energy Coalition and project partners will launch a multi-year outreach campaign to raise awareness across all Michigan municipalities about the availability of these resources, to encourage participation as Solar-Ready Communities, and to encourage adoption of streamlined processes.
Join the Twitter conversation about renewable energy in Michigan by searching for #MIrenewable.
On May 23, 2013, Clean Energy Coalition hosted its first Strategic Advisory Board meeting. Executives from the University of Michigan, the National Electric Contractors Association, DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, ICOM North America, ROUSH CleanTech, WW Williams, Westport Light-Duty, and the State of Michigan Energy Office met to discuss clean technology deployment challenges in the transportation sector.
The Board discussed several examples of vehicle and infrastructure incentives that exist in other states — and how to increase support for these technologies in Michigan. Clean Energy Coalition also reporting out on grant funding that has been utilized to support clean vehicle technology deployment projects and how additional funding could be secured in 2014.
Propane, electric, and compressed natural gas technologies dominated the discussion. Board members identified the importance of supporting the customer by either removing perceived risks or targeting influential fleets to pilot new deployments. Obtaining leadership and direction at the state level was also identified as an important first step.
Clean Energy Coalition staff will spend the next two months working to move one or two initiatives forward, then report out at the next Strategic Advisory Board meeting in late August.
For more information on Clean Energy Coalition’s Strategic Advisory Board, please email Matt Sandstrom.
Clean Energy Coalition has appointed a new member to its board of directors, Edward J. Solomon.
As chief risk officer for DTE Energy, Mr. Solomon is responsible for risk management, including market risk management, trading company risk management monitoring and middle office operations, credit risk management, corporate insurance administration, and procurement.
Prior to his appointment as chief risk officer, Mr. Solomon held a series of finance roles, including Assistant Treasurer, Director of Corporate Finance, and Director of Finance for DTE Energy Services.
Earlier in his career, he spent seven years at Air Products and Chemicals, where he held positions in corporate treasury and financial planning, and was a certified public accountant with the New York office of Arthur Andersen.
Mr. Solomon holds a bachelor’s degree in business with a focus in accounting and a master’s degree in corporate strategy and finance from the University of Michigan. He earned his Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2002.
In partnership with the Great Lakes Bay Region: Region 5, Clean Energy Coalition is leading a solar energy initiative in the eleven counties that make up the region. The initiative is focused on expanding the overall number of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations.
The project encourages the adoption of small- to medium-scale PV systems by aggregating the purchase of the systems. The initiative is designed to lower the installed cost per watt for PV in the region. The savings from the bulk purchase will be passed on to the participants thereby make purchasing and installing solar energy more affordable.
In addition to the environmental benefits of solar energy, this project has the potential to have a meaningful economic benefit for the region. The Great Lakes Bay Region is home to several solar energy manufacturers including Hemlock Semiconductor. The project will focus on using regionally manufactured equipment and materials for the installations.
Clean Energy Coalition will coordinate education and outreach activities to bring together business leaders, industry experts, and property owners interested in installing solar energy.
If you are a property owner and have a potential site for a PV system, or are just interested in receiving updates on this project, please contact Mark Rabinsky at email@example.com.
Each year, Flint Mass Transportation Authority (MTA) transports nearly 470,000 passengers through its paratransit service. Seniors, persons with disabilities, and the general public rely on the MTA’s “Your Ride” curb-to-curb shuttle bus service within the City of Flint and Genesee County. As the fleet of shuttles aged, the MTA took the opportunity to explore alternative fuels.
Researching the Alternatives
Flint MTA’s decision to explore alternative fueled vehicles maintained an underlying mission: Provide sustainability for the future, both economically and environmentally. During its extensive research, the agency examined many factors, including refueling needs, vehicle availability and warranty, rider requirements, and the fuel itself. The MTA also considered that fuel systems designed by companies with Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) status would retain the original factory Ford warranty, an important factor for the agency.
In 2010, Flint MTA received a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant through the “State of Good Repair Program” to purchase natural gas buses. This program funds the maintenance and upgrading of vehicles to ensure that the nation’s public transit “operates safely, efficiently, reliably and sustainably.” It provides 80% funding with a required 20% match.
But the MTA learned that upgrading its fueling stations to include natural gas would cost in excess of $1 million per station. In contrast, the MTA could install 10 propane autogas stations for the price of just one natural gas station. The agency requested and received a grant amendment to allow for propane autogas vehicles instead of natural gas buses.
Selection and Funding
Flint MTA selected the Ford E-450 cutaway equipped with the ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel system. The versatility of the vehicle platform allowed the agency to enhance its bus features, including more passenger and wheelchair capacity. The 41-gallon fuel tanks provided the range required. As a Tier 1 supplier and Ford QVM manufacturer, ROUSH CleanTech’s vehicles retain both the original factory Ford warranty and the same quality Ford performance characteristics, such as horsepower, torque, and towing. And the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board certify the shuttles.
MTA also considered the vehicle’s “Altoona-testing,” named for the primary test facility location. This FTA New Model Bus Testing Program rates new transit bus models on safety, structural integrity and durability, reliability, performance, maintainability, noise, and fuel economy. Purchasing alternative fuel vehicles tested through Altoona allows eligibility for FTA funding. These federal funds cover 85% of the entire alternative fuel vehicle cost, with a 15% local match.
“Altoona-tested vehicles provide huge financial assistance for any paratransit fleet looking to operate on alternative fuels,” said Edgar H. Benning, general manager of Flint MTA.
Clearing the Air
The agency received its first vehicles in 2011 and currently operates 37 propane autogas buses, with 35 more planned for delivery by early summer 2013. Once all 72 shuttles are in operation, the agency will hold the distinct honor of operating the nation’s largest propane autogas fleet in the public transit industry.
Fueling with domestically produced propane autogas offers Flint MTA a cleaner emissions profile. By operating on propane autogas, the MTA eliminates more than 200,000 pounds of carbon dioxide during the lifetime of each vehicle. Compared with gasoline-fueled vehicles, propane autogas vehicles emit about 20% less nitrogen oxide, 60% less carbon monoxide, and up to 24% less greenhouse gases. Compared to diesel, propane autogas releases virtually no harmful particulate matter.
Along with its environmental benefits, domestically produced propane autogas is economical. Historically, propane autogas costs up to 40% less than gasoline and about 50% less than diesel. Flint MTA has experienced even greater savings, paying $1.21 per gallon for propane autogas compared to $3.20 for gasoline. Current federal tax credits provide an additional $0.50 per gallon savings, bringing their propane autogas cost to $0.71 per gallon. Flint MTA expects to save $70,000 per vehicle during their normal lifecycle of 10 years and 350,000 miles, for a total savings of more than $5 million — before fuel tax credits.
“Propane autogas is the ideal fuel to drive down operational costs and to carry out our commitment to reducing our exposure to unstable imported fuel prices,” said Benning. “And the vehicle performance has been excellent.”
So far the agency has driven about 500,000 miles in its propane autogas vehicles. A recent MTA analysis during a one-month period of time showed the agency paid $0.12 per mile for propane autogas compared to $0.39 per mile for gasoline and $0.41 per mile for diesel.
In addition to fuel savings, the agency experiences lower maintenance costs by fueling with propane autogas. Their propane autogas vehicles require just six quarts of oil compared to 16 quarts for their diesel vehicles, with oil changes needed every 7,000 miles compared to 4,000 for their diesel shuttles. Plus, the filter packages for propane autogas are priced two-thirds less than the diesel filters. A team of MTA employees received initial training with the fuel and now operates a maintenance facility for servicing the propane autogas vehicles and training new hires.
Saving at the Pump
At the pump, Flint MTA saves time, too. At eight gallons per minute, MTA drivers find refueling time quicker when compared to their conventionally fueled shuttle buses, which refuel at about five gallons per minute.
For refueling convenience, the agency installed two propane autogas stations. And last year, Flint MTA broke ground to install an alternative fuel facility in Grand Blanc Township. The first of its kind in Michigan and one of only two in the country, the station offers hydrogen and compressed natural gas in addition to propane autogas.
These successes have led Flint MTA to plan for more alternative fuel growth, with a goal of 60% reduction in diesel usage by 2018. By the end of 2013, the MTA will operate five propane autogas fueling stations and purchase 20 more minibuses for a total of 92 propane autogas vehicles. Their next phase will include opening a publicly accessible alternative fuel station and building a community alternative fuel training facility. Future plans also incorporate static fuel cell units to heat and electrify the agency’s storage facilities.
“We constantly receive inquiries from across the nation and even internationally about our propane autogas program and our alternative fuel facility,” said Benning. “We’re glad to be an important and leading part of the alternative fuel movement among transit agencies.”
By the Numbers
Question of the Month: What are the requirements for federal fleets under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct 1992) and subsequent regulations and directives?
EPAct 1992, EPAct 2005, and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2008
Under EPAct 1992, 75% of new covered light-duty vehicles (LDVs) acquired by federal fleets must be alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). Federal fleets are considered covered fleets if both of the following conditions are met:
NDAA of 2008 expanded EPAct 1992’s definition of AFVs to include hybrid electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, advanced lean burn technology vehicles, and any low-greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting vehicle (as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) acquired in a location that would qualify for an EPAct 2005, Section 701 fuel waiver. Section 701 of EPAct 2005 requires federal fleets to use alternative fuels in dual-fuel vehicles unless the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) determines an agency qualifies for a waiver; grounds for a waiver include the lack of alternative fuel availability (within five miles or 15 minutes from the vehicle’s garaged location) and cost restrictions (alternative fuel is more expensive per gallon than gasoline). To find information about waivered fleets in your area, visit the Sustainable Federal Fleet Performance Data website.
Federal fleets comply with EPAct 1992 requirements using AFV acquisition credits, which are granted based on the number of AFVs acquired and the volume of biodiesel fuel used. If an agency’s total AFV credits divided by the number of covered LDV acquisitions in a fiscal year (FY) equals 75% or greater, the agency is considered to be in compliance. Federal fleets earn credits for each light-, medium-, or heavy-duty AFV they acquire each year and forevery 450 gallons of pure biodiesel (B100), equivalent to 2,250 gallons of B20, used in fleet vehicles.
For more information on EPAct 1992, please refer to the Federal Energy Management Program’s (FEMP) EPAct 1992 website, as well as the full text of EPAct 1992.
Executive Order (E.O.) 13423 requires federal agencies with 20 or more non-excluded vehicles in their U.S. fleet to decrease petroleum consumption by 2% each year, relative to their FY 2005 baseline, through the end of FY 2015, for a total reduction of 20%. Agencies must also continue to increase their alternative fuel use by 10% per year, relative to the previous year over the same timeframe, yielding an approximately 159% increase.
E.O. 13514 requires each federal agency to develop, implement, and annually update a Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan. Federal agencies must measure, reduce, and report their GHG emissions, with an overall federal government direct GHG emissions reduction goal of 28% by 2020, relative to a FY 2008 baseline. Reductions may be achieved through a variety of measures including reducing vehicle use, increasing fleet fuel efficiency, using AFVs, and implementing fleet optimization efforts. In addition, E.O. 13514 extended petroleum reduction targets established by E.O. 13423 to FY 2020, for a total future reduction of 30%.
Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA)
Further requirements for federal fleets were included in the EISA 2007, including fleet management plan requirements (Section 142), low-GHG emitting vehicle acquisition requirements (Section 141), and renewable fuel infrastructure installation requirements (Section 246). DOE is currently developing a rulemaking on the alternative fuel increase requirements under EISA Section 142.
For a summary of federal agency fleet requirements, refer to the Sustainable Federal Fleets website and Alternative Fuels Data Center Vehicle Acquisition and Fuel Use Requirements for Federal Fleets summary. Also refer to the Clean Cities University course on Understanding EPAct-Regulated Fleets and the FEMP training course on Fleet Management 101. In addition, the chart below provides a breakdown of the key federal requirements described above:
Source: Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team, firstname.lastname@example.org, (800) 254-6735
Clean Energy Coalition Program Supervisor Rebecca Filbey recently appeared on WEMU’s Issues of the Environment to discuss Ann Arbor Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).
PACE gives owners of commercial property in the City of Ann Arbor access to low-interest financing for energy efficiency improvements. Funds are made available through the sale of a bond and repaid by property owners through annual special assessments.
In March, Ann Arbor became the first municipality in Michigan to sell a PACE bond. Ann Arbor PACE was developed and administered through a partnership between Clean Energy Coalition and the City of Ann Arbor.
Listen to Rebecca’s interview on WEMU’s website.
For details on the program and how to apply, visit a2energy.org/PACE.
Wayne State University’s College of Engineering students are competing in EcoCAR 2, a competition sponsored by General Motors and U.S. Department of Energy. WSU’s team, the Hybrid Warriors, headed to GM’s Desert Proving grounds on May 13 to test their re-engineered 2013 Chevy Malibu. The students have been in the process of hybridizing the vehicle since June 2012.
The team worked sun up to sun down for a week straight racing the clock trying to get their car running in dynamic events. Throughout the first week, the team worked through many complications that put them behind. Finally, on the second-to-last day the team was able to debug all problems and compete in on-road tests. Some of the events completed included, breaking, acceleration, and gradeability.
After a week in Yuma, Arizona, the team traveled to San Diego, California, to give year-end presentations and attend an award ceremony. Going into the competition, the Hybrid Warriors were is 12th place; year two points put the team in 8th.
“Our goal was to be in the top ten and we accomplished that,” stated project manager Idan Regev.
The communication team also took 2nd place for Best Collaboration with a Clean Cities Coalition.
Wayne State University is a new school to Advance Vehicle Technology Competitions and is Michigan’s only participant. EcoCAR 2 has given many team members opportunities to gain hands-on, real world experience before starting a career.
“EcoCAR 2 is a real-life project with strict deadlines and has offered me a great deal of experience,” said Calvin Trescott, a freshman studying electrical engineering.
Since returning home to Detroit, the team has been in full gear preparing to tackle new challenges that the final year of the three-year competition may bring. As an urban research university in the heart of the Motor City, the Hybrid Warriors are proud to represent Detroit in the EcoCAR 2: Plugging into the Future competition.
To follow the team’s progress or for more information please visit www.ecocar2.eng.wayne.edu.
— Article submitted by Katie O’Neal, Wayne State University EcoCAR 2 team
The City of Ann Arbor Mayor’s Office is hosting the 13th annual Green Fair on Main Street on Friday, June 14, from 6 to 9 p.m. to celebrate our community’s environmental leadership as exhibited by citizens, non-profits, government, and businesses.
Ann Arbor’s Main Street will be closed to regular automotive traffic, but will be open for walkers and displays of environmental information, “green” products, live music, and general enjoyment of the urban outdoor environment.
Information, entertainment, and hands-on activities for all ages will be provided. Live music by Kevin and the Glen Levens will be amplified through solar energy, and local vendors will sell organic food on Liberty Street. The Green Fair hosts three related events located on Main Street between East Huron and William Streets:
This year’s event will also include the first annual Stormdrain Chalk Art Competition, sponsored by The Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC) and the City of Ann Arbor. Twelve artists preselected by HRWC will draw in the surrounding space of available stormdrains along Main Street during the Mayor’s Green Fair. Their drawings will depict the protection of the natural watershed and how it relates to the storm infrastructure in the city. The purpose of each design is to help educate the public on the drain’s connection to the river. Prizes and awards will be distributed by popular vote and by a panel of judges.
Arbor Brewing Company will be hosting their first zero waste beer garden on Washington Street between South Fourth Avenue and Main Street. Featuring special collaborated beers with local Michigan brewers, the ABC beer garden will remain open until 11 p.m. with live music by the Rootstand. You must be 21-years-old or accompanied by a parent to visit the Beer Garden.