Thank-you to everyone who was able to join us for our stakeholder meeting last week in Bozeman, Montana. For those of you who were not able to join us, I wanted to provide a very brief recap.
I began the meeting by providing an update on Yellowstone-Teton Clean Cities activities. One of our main focus areas this year has been communicating about the VW Settlement funds and working with fleets to design and apply for projects. These funds can help support fleets replace old diesel vehicles with new diesel or alternative fuel vehicles. This is an unprecedented opportunity for alternative fuel vehicle deployment and we want as many folks aware and applying for the funds as possible. It is not every day a program exists to basically give you money to help purchase new vehicles.
YTCC intern, Bailey Collins walked us through the process of an individual purchasing an electric vehicle from a dealership, it is, unfortunately, is not as easy as we wish it to be. Keep a look out for a blog post about this!
We heard from Kyla Maki, Energy Resource Professional with Montana Department of Environmental Quality about two projects. She gave a very thorough update about Solar Energy Innovation Network Montana Project. This project has been underway for over a year and looked at various scenarios using solar power to charge electric vehicles in Bozeman, Missoula and Whitefish, MT.
Kyla also gave an update on the Volkswagen Funds in Montana. They already had one round of funding available for alternative fuel buses. They will be making those awards shortly and will open another funding cycle for alternative fuel buses, from May 22nd – July 31st. Funding will be available for electric vehicle charging stations later this year.
Next, Kerbspace founder, Bill Clem, gave an eye-pleasing presentation about his charging stations. If you weren’t aware, we have an electric vehicle charging station company right in Bozeman. Check out Kerb’s new stations, you can currently find them at the RSVP motel and in the Cannery District. Kerb provides a very user-friendly and welcoming charging experience.
Sunshine Ross of Streamline and Galavan Transportation Service, provided the historical context of the programs and laid the groundwork for attendees to brainstorm ways in which funding and alternative fuel programs could be added to existing services.
Full Circle Biofuels’s Operations Manager, George Allison, provided an enlightening presentation about biofuels. Biodiesel is one of the easiest alternative fuels to implement as it is a “drop-in” fuel. This means you do not have to purchase a special vehicle to use it, biodiesel can easily be used in existing diesel vehicles. In addition, Full Circle produces biodiesel by using waste vegetable oil, which has an even higher greenhouse reduction benefit by utilizing a waste product to create a usable fuel. Don’t hesitate to reach out to YTCC or Full Circle if you are interested in using biodiesel.
We also heard from Custer Gallatin National Forest’s Fleet Manager, Michael Donch. Through Donch’s efforts, Custer Gallatin National Forest has the greenest fleet in the entire National Forest network. The alternative fuel vehicle he primarily incorporates are plug-in hybrid vehicles. If the rugged National Forest can find a way to include electric vehicles in their fleet, I think anyone can.
Finally, Jesse Therian of Nordic Brewery explained their process of including an electric vehicle charging station in their construction design of the Nordic Brewing building. Therian found success by running the electric conduit prior to pouring concrete and utilizing rebate funding from Yellowstone-Teton Clean Cities to help the economics of the project.
YTCC and board were very impressed by the projects in Montana and inspired to increase alternative fuel efforts in the region!
– Alicia Cox