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Petroleum Reduction Plans
August 26, 2014

City planning, emissions, incentive, sign

The Michigan Fuel Forward project team is currently putting the finishing touches on 14 fleet-specific petroleum reduction plans to assist project partners in reducing fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the project, each partner was asked to provide information on the fleet’s goals and data on fleet operations. Using its Fuel Forward® approach, Clean Energy Coalition then analyzed this data to determine specific quantitative recommendations detailing how each fleet can cost-effectively switch to alternative fuels. These results are outlined in detail in each plan, allowing fleet partners to see the conditions under which alternative fuels make financial sense.

Each plan contains numerous other recommendations as well, ranging from idle reduction strategies to efficient driving tips. These recommendations were either based on goals specifically identified by the fleet, or are additional low-cost, high-impact strategies for fuel use reduction. The plans include a method for tracking progress towards each outlined goal, a map of local alternative fuel infrastructure, and additional resources related to each recommendation.

Plans will be delivered to each fleet partner starting as early as next week.

For more information on Clean Energy Coalition’s fleet-specific petroleum reduction plans, please contact:

Josh Rego
Project Manager
josh@cec-mi.org
734-585-5720 ext. 25

Michigan Fuel Forward – August Update
August 26, 2014

It has been a long time since the last project update. Over the last several months, the team here has been quite busy. In January, the second meeting between the project’s fleet partners was held in Dearborn. Each fleet was presented with a customized baseline report outlining the characteristics of their organization’s fuel use. The meeting concluded with a goal setting exercise, during which each fleet was encouraged to identify their goals and obstacles in the foreseeable future.

The second meeting of the policy taskforce was held later that month. The meeting began by highlighting work that had been done based on previous input from taskforce members, including the development of an infographic highlighting Michigan’s support for alternative fuels relative to other midwestern states, and a guide to alternative fuel road signage that includes recommendations for improvement. The taskforce then shared ideas and thoughts about targeted next steps for the group, including focusing on supporting alternative fuels through statewide legislation.

Since then, the project team has taken this information and worked hard to develop both content and events that reflect the input of project stakeholders. For starters, each fleet partner will be receiving a customized petroleum reduction plan in the next few weeks. These plans, described in greater detail below, combine qualitative and quantitative recommendations to address the fleet’s specific goals and concerns as they relate to fuel use reduction.

This fall, the team will host another event in Lansing aimed at making the case for the state-level support of alternative fuels. On September 10, representatives from the clean fuels industry will gather with legislators to discuss the importance of creating a political environment conducive to the development and deployment of clean fuel vehicles and infrastructure. Please register for the event here.

If you have information you’d like to share on your progress towards deploying clean fuels or fuel reduction strategies, please let us know so we can highlight your success in the next project update. Thank you for your continued commitment to this project!

- Joshua Rego, Project Manager
josh@cec-mi.org
734-585-5720 ext. 25

 

ArborBike Set to Launch in September
August 8, 2014

ArborBike - group shot copy

Clean Energy Coalition has officially set an installation and launch schedule for ArborBike, the upcoming bike share program for Ann Arbor. Installation will occur in the first weeks of September, after site preparation is completed, and following a brief testing period, the program will open up to the public. The initial launch will include 10 of 14 originally planned stations; work to resolve conflicts with the remaining four station locations will continue through the fall and winter, and full installation is planned for the spring. Weather permitting, the 2014 season could last as long as December 19, the last day of student exams at the University of Michigan. After that, all bikes and stations will be removed and stored for the winter.

Those who are interested in joining ArborBike should sign up for the mailing list at www.arborbike.org/join-now.html to receive instant notification when memberships are available. Though we are not accepting sign-ups yet, we have set the following membership options and prices:

  • Annual Membership: $65 – This membership is active for 12 consecutive months, and it may carry over from one season to the next. It includes an ArborBike Membership Card for quick bike access, so you can skip the kiosk!
  • Monthly Auto-renewing Membership: $9.99 – This option allows members to try ArborBike for a shorter time and pay on a monthly basis.
  • 24-hour Membership: $6 - The 24-hour pass is perfect for visitors and recreational use of ArborBike.

Membership discounts will be available for groups of 15 or more, for non-profit organizations, and for students. Additional details can be found online or by emailing info@arborbike.org. For more details about installation plans, please see the August 1 article by Ryan Stanton at www.mlive.com, which describes recent developments and lists the stations scheduled for September installation.

In preparation for system launch in September, the ArborBike team has a few other items to announce. First, keep an eye out for the ArborBike van around town. This vehicle, wrapped in ArborBike blue and green, will “rebalance” or shuffle bikes from full stations to empty ones. Rebalancing will ensure availability of bikes throughout the system, even during heavy commutes. Also, on Wednesday, August 27th, we are asking the community to come out and help us assemble ArborBikes! We are ordering approximately 75 bikes for the initial launch, and we are going to have an assembly event prior to station installation. If you are interested in volunteering to help assemble the bikes please visit our United Way Volunteer Page. Finally, system launch means we need additional help to operate the program. We will announce an opportunity soon to assist ArborBike with tasks like rebalancing, maintenance, customer service, and outreach. This information will also be distributed via our mailing list and social media outlets.

Have any more questions on ArborBike or how to become a member? Please contact:

Nick Helmholdt
ArborBike Operations Manager
nick@cec-mi.org
734.585.5720 x13

Recap on CEC’s July 17 Strategic Advisory Board Meeting
August 8, 2014

On July 17, Clean Energy Coalition’s Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) met to discuss the significant progress that has been made by the group since its first meeting about a year ago. The group has been working with federal and state lobbyists to identify important policy barriers and opportunities as well as drafting legislation to support the alternative fuel vehicle market in Michigan. At the last meeting, our state lobbyists presented a draft legislative proposal to position Michigan as a leader in advanced powertrain engine systems. The group also discussed a collaborative approach to applying for a federal grant opportunity to grow the market for alternative fuel vehicles.

Clean Energy Coalition originally formed the SAB as a way to bring together diverse stakeholders in the alternative fuels industry. Through facilitated meetings, the SAB takes part in ongoing dialogue and discussion on policy, key community issues, and market and industry trends. For more information on the SAB, please follow this link.

Join CEC’s Strategic Advisory Board
Our current Board has a strong focus on alternative fuels and we are looking for additional members to join this Board or help us establish another Strategic Advisory Board group to focus on renewable energy market development.

The current Strategic Advisory Board consists of executives from:

For more information about Strategic Advisory Board participation contact:

Laura Palombi
Director of Business Development
734-585-5720 x22
laura@cec-mi.org

 

Get to know your Clean Cities Coordinators
August 8, 2014

Clean Energy Coalition welcomes its two newly appointed Clean Cities Coordinators, Laura Palombi for Detroit Area Clean Cities Coalition (DACC) and Josh Rego for Ann Arbor Clean Cities Coalition (AACC). Clean Energy Coalition has managed AACC since the organization’s inception in 2005 and DACC since 2010. Management of these coalitions entails providing technical services and outreach to fleet managers and suppliers in the entire southeast Michigan region, serving 4.7 million Michigan residents.

Clean Cities coordinators are the primary contacts for their coalitions, working with local fleets to develop and implement strategic plans to reduce petroleum use in the cities and counties they serve. Clean Cities coordinators lead nearly 100 local coalitions in communities across the country; Clean Energy Coalition hosts two of these for Ann Arbor and Detroit. For national-level and regional-level contacts, see the Clean Cities website. Our coalitions have a strong network of stakeholders, from technology and infrastructure providers to public and private fleet managers. To learn more about the Clean Cities program and resources available to stakeholders in our coalition areas and beyond, please contact Laura or Josh.

Laura Palombi, Detroit Area Clean Cities (DACC) Coordinator
As coordinator for DACC, Laura oversees six counties of Metro Detroit with a combined population of 4,528,954. Home to Ford, GM, and Chrysler, these counties include Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne. Rich in automotive expertise, R&D facilities, and a trained workforce, there is no better-equipped city to deploy alternative fuel technologies than Detroit.

Contact Laura at:
laura@cec-mi.org
734.585.5720 x22

Josh Rego, Ann Arbor Clean Cities (AACC) Coordinator
As AACC Coordinator, Josh covers activities in Washtenaw County, Michigan and provides a forum for members to share information, leverage their resources, develop joint projects, collaborate on public policy issues, and promote AFVs in the community. Home to the University of Michigan and the EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory, Washtenaw County is a statewide leader in alternative and renewable energy.

Contact Josh at:
josh@cec-mi.org
734.585.5720 x25

Question of the Month
August 8, 2014

Clean Cities - Q

Question of the Month: During the winter of 2013-2014, propane shortages and price spikes were widely publicized by news media, and some fleets reported difficulty getting propane for their vehicles. What really happened and what steps can propane fleets take to protect themselves from similar issues in the future?

Answer: Several factors contributed to the recent winter supply constraints and increased propane prices, including record low temperatures around the country (the 2013-2014 winter was almost 30% colder than the previous winter), increased rain fall requiring additional propane supply for crop drying, pipeline outages (the Midwest Cochin pipeline shut down for three weeks in December 2013), Canadian supply constraints, and increased exports leading to reduced propane reserves. It is important to note, however, that while the demand for propane used to heat homes in colder months fluctuates, fleet demand for propane remains stable throughout the year. As a result, propane suppliers are generally willing to offer longer term fuel contracts to fleets at prices that do not vary during the winter. But fleet customers need to plan ahead and negotiate these agreements in advance. Don’t wait until the coldest day of the year to start asking questions.

Fleets should develop and maintain a long-term fuel contract based on projected consumption with their local propane marketer or fueling station operator. These contracts can provide a reasonably steady price for propane year-round, regardless of temperature fluctuations and other issues. However, fleets that fuel their vehicles at retail locations where there is no contractual relationship can expect to pay the current market price, which may be equal to or higher than gasoline during peak use periods. As such, the propane price spikes reported in the winter of 2013-2014 primarily affected fleets and drivers without fuel contracts.

While some fleets with fuel contracts also faced supply limitations and price increases this winter, these incidences may have occurred as a result of other circumstances. For instance, some pricing contracts are set up to fluctuate based on a floating commodity price, or they might be indexed to automatically track gasoline or diesel prices. In addition, state fleets may be subject to certain fueling restrictions if the governor addresses energy supply issues through executive action. The prolonged severe weather this past winter resulted in several regions declaring official states of emergency. Similarly, fleets with bi-fuel vehicles, which provide the option to fuel with gasoline, may be subject to caveats during emergency periods that would not affect fleets with dedicated propane vehicles. To avoid unwanted disruptions in propane supply and price spikes, fleet administrators should closely review current and future fuel contracts and discuss various scenarios with their propane marketer to ensure that the contract terms match up with the fleet’s needs and expectations.

Working with Propane Marketers

Local propane marketers are present in most communities across the United States and can provide expertise and assistance in building fueling stations and deploying vehicles. Additionally, many marketers offer attractive lease options for fuel storage tanks, pumps, and dispensing equipment in return for a multi-year fuel supply contract. The cost of this equipment can be paid back over time through a shared savings or performance contracting agreement, virtually eliminating up-front costs to the fleet operator.

The cost to purchase and install propane fueling infrastructure can be significant depending on the fleet’s choice of refueling options; however, fuel contracts can greatly reduce the financial burden. In most cases, the fleet is only responsible for the cost of infrastructure that cannot be removed from the site when the fuel contract is over, such as the electricity line or the concrete pad for the storage tank.

Current and Future Propane Supply

While the issues last winter raised concerns, it is important to note that the supply of propane in the United States is on the rise. Propane is a by-product of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. In recent years, as natural gas production levels in the United States have increased, so has the propane supply from these operations. Between 2007 and 2013, the percentage of the U.S. propane supply produced from North American resources increased from 76% to 92%. As such, propane is not subject to the same types of energy security risks as petroleum based fuels that depend on foreign oil supplies face.

For more information on propane production and distribution, pricing, supply, and infrastructure, you can visit the following websites:

For more information on using propane for your fleet or community contact:

Laura Palombi
Business Development Director
734-585-5720 x22
laura@cec-mi.org

Volunteer with ArborBike
August 8, 2014

 

ArborBike-1

We are building ArborBikes and we can use your help! The ArborBikes are coming & we need to put them together. It will take people with all sorts of skills and talents to build these bikes. Even if you’ve never worked on a bike, we can use your help. We will have 75 bicycles that need to be unboxed, put together, and tuned up before we can put them into service.

Date & Time: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 From 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Location: Clean Energy Coalition (924 N. Main Street, Suite 2, Ann Arbor)

What’s in it for me?
The first 20 people who register will receive a free ArborBike T-Shirt when they show up. Everybody who volunteers will get a free 24-hour membership.

Where should I park?
We will have plenty of bicycle parking, but if you’re coming by car, we suggest parking in the nearby neighborhoods.

Is there anything I can bring to help?

  • Most importantly, bring a positive attitude!
  • If you have any of these tools, they would be greatly appreciated:
  • Torx Security drivers & bits
  • Pedal Wrench
  • ½” Torque Wrench
  • Box Cutter
  • Extra Credit Overachiever Brownie Points: snacks & drinks

How do I sign-up?
Please sign up on our United Way Volunteer Page.

If you have any additional questions on volunteering, or ArborBike in general, please contact:

Nick Helmholdt
ArborBike Operations Manager
nick@cec-mi.org
734.585.5720 x13

 

Pressure for sustainability in Higher Ed
August 8, 2014

WMU pic

As sustainability begins to take hold in all sectors of business, higher education institutions also face some unique challenges. Clean Energy Coalition’s experience in the field with Western Michigan University, the University of Michigan, and smaller community colleges has shown three key pressures that sustainability is placing on their campuses.

1. Impact on Admissions

For higher education, becoming more sustainable is not only a path for minimizing an institution’s environmental footprint or making the most of a limited budget; it can also play a key role in the recruitment and retention of a strong student body.

In 2008, a survey by researchers at the College of William and Mary, Campus Greening Efforts: What difference do they make?, found that “current freshmen are two times more likely to choose their school based on sustainability concerns than the entering freshman class just 3 years ago.” The trend has continued into 2014 and in order to attract these forward thinking students, institutions are pushed towards more sustainability initiatives on campus.

2. Achieving National Sustainability Certifications

In addition to pressure from incoming students, there is push from other institutions and outside, national organizations. Several certifications, including STARS (The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System – a program of AASHE) and ACUPCC (The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment), exist and are directed at higher education institutes with the intent of creating a more environmentally sustainable higher education system. The guidelines for these programs are often extensive and add to an institutions’ growing list of projects under a limited budget.

3. Collaboration among Facilities, Faculty, Administration, and the Larger Campus Community

Many higher education institutions are often just getting their foot in the door as far as sustainability is concerned. Many rely on facilities management directors to also wear the hat of sustainability director, rather than having a designated individual and/or department to address these new needs. The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus discusses the fact that these new positions often have “ambitious portfolios, and ask the individuals involved to do the work of a dozen people.”

Institutions that can afford the staff or personnel time to implement comprehensive sustainability initiatives have begun to realize individual buildings and energy systems on campus can be used as points of study – much like a mini-city, located directly on campus. As a result, sustainability directors are increasingly pressured to build relationships with faculty and the larger campus community as well as pilot successful projects on campus.

Clean Energy Coalition can help your institution overcome these challenges with practical solutions to common obstacles for those working toward sustainability on campus. For more information about how Clean Energy Coalition can help, please contact:

Jenny Oorbeck
Program Director
jenny@cec-mi.org
734.585.5720 x18

CEC in Top 10 for Climate Ride Midwest
August 8, 2014

Bike trip pic

Our team is in the Top 10 for fundraising for Climate Ride Midwest, having raised $5,394.00 so far on behalf of Clean Energy Coalition!

Our riders – Bonnie Bona, Heather Croteau, Rebecca Filbey, and Nicole Ver Kuilen – are now in the final stretch of training and fundraising for the 300 mile, 4 day ride from Grand Rapids to Chicago. With the ride coming up quickly September 6th-9th, they are eager to hit the road. They’ve put in countless hours this summer and could use your encouragement and support in the final leg to meet their fundraising target of $2,800 each.

Clean Energy Coalition is excited to take part in Climate Ride as an opportunity to share its mission with the public, build a community of supporters, boost fundraising initiatives, and restore the Midwest as a leader in healthy, sustainable communities. The funds raised from this initiative will directly support innovative initiatives and programs Clean Energy Coalition is leading. These include:

  • ArborBike – Ann Arbor’s premier bike share program with 14 stations and 125 bicycles launching this fall.
  • XSeed – A community supported energy project which installed a 3.24 kilowatt (kW) solar panel system on the historic Michigan Theater.
  • Home Energy Affordability Loan (HEAL) Program – A unique, energy-based employee benefit program and the first of its kind in Michigan, operated in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative.

Can you help us get into the Top 5 and reach our $12,000 fundraising goal?

Here’s how you can help:

1. Visit Team Clean Energy Coalition’s fundraising page.
2. Choose a rider on our “roster” that you wish to support.
3. Donate to their ride and directly support Clean Energy Coalition’s programs.

If your company would like to help with a matching gift or you have any questions on how to make a donation, please contact Team Captain:

Nicole Ver Kuilen
nicole@cec-mi.org
734.585.5720 x37

 

Find Clean Energy Coalition on AmazonSmile
August 8, 2014

amazonsmile

Clean Energy Coalition is now registered with AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers – such as Clean Energy Coalition! Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages. Now you can easily donate to Clean Energy Coalition while you shop.

How to sign up:  

1. Go to smile.amazon.com

2. Log in with your regular amazon.com e-mail address and password

3. On your 1st time to the site, you will be prompted to enter or choose the name of the charitable organization you would like linked to your account. Type in “Clean Energy Coalition.”

4. Download the browser app shortcut to make it easier to go to smile.amazon.com when you want to shop at amazon.com

5. Now shop away! Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation to Clean Energy Coalition.

Unfortunately, Amazon does not currently have a mobile app for Smile, so you’ll need to login with your browser to shop with Amazon Smile.

For more information, please contact:

Laura Palombi
Director of Business Development
laura@cec-mi.org

 


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