GA Alternative Fuel Roadshow Touts Diversification

This week I had the pleasure of attending and participating in one of the Atlanta stops of the 5th Annual Alternative Fuel Roadshow hosted by Georgia Public Service Commissioner, Tim Echols.

Tuesday’s roadshow was at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, which was the perfect spot to kick off the Roadshow’s second week of activities. The College has initiated a number of stellar programs to become a more sustainable campus. In 2007, the College conducted a greenhouse gas inventory of their operations, and electricity was identified as their number one source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).  See more on their GHG inventory here.

Jennifer Kaduck, Sustainability Advisor in the College’s Office of Sustainability, opened Tuesday’s Roadshow with a highlight of some of the College’s efforts to reduce their emissions from the electricity and transportation sectors.

Over the past year, Agnes Scott has installed five (5) solar arrays totaling 238 KW of installed solar capacity. The systems provide enough clean energy to meet average electricity needs of ~31 homes. The five arrays are located on the College’s Bullock Science Center, the Office of Facilities, the Gellerstedt soccer field, the parking deck on McDonough, and on top of the Bradley Observatory. They recently installed a geothermal HVAC system and are on track to receive LEED Gold certification of the recent renovation of Campbell Hall. This system is the most efficient heating and cooling system in the world today and is saving the College 500,000 gallons of water a year. 

Solar panels at Bradley Observatory at Agnes Scott College

The College also installed a charging station for electric vehicles (EVs) on campus –  Decatur’s first DC fast charger.  DC fast chargers provide the fastest EV charging rate currently available. In addition to the EV charging station, they offer students access to the Emory Cliff Bus system, a bike program, host a Zipcar, and offer designated parking for fuel efficient vehicles. For more on the College’s sustainability efforts, please click on the link here.

DC Fast Charger at Agnes Scott College

Another presentation at the Roadshow featured Dekalb County Interim CEO Lee May, who shared his support for alternative fuels, the County’s efforts to add EV charging stations, and their fleets use of compressed natural gas (CNG). We were also pleased to have Senator Elena Parent speak on the recent repeal of the low emissions tax credit, efforts to fight it and the new punitive fee on EV drivers. She is committed to continuing to fight to support EVs. Other presentations at the Roadshow included EV manufacturers and natural gas and propane companies. Nissan’s Cornelius Willingham touted the enormous success of the Nissan LEAF and Georgia Power’s Ben Echols highlighted Georgia Power’s recent EV investments, recently profiled here. Hannah Solar shared their work to increase solar EV charging stations. I also had the opportunity to present on the benefits of biodiesel and the local availability of the fuel at our retail biodiesel station and the fleet options of Clean Energy Biofuels.

Al Curtis, a representative from Cobb County, also presented on their aggressive efforts to diversify their transportation fleet. The county is using a range of fueling options in its fleet with 23% of the government’s vehicles running on alternatives to gasoline and diesel. They first transitioned to compressed natural gas (CNG) to reduce air emissions in 2000.  Since then, they are also using biodiesel in their diesel fleet, added 12 bio-fuel vehicles running on propane, 300 flex fuel vehicles that run on E85 (ethanol), hybrids, two ZERO motorcycles and recently leased 16 Nissan LEAFs for their operations

Cobb County's EV fleet. Photo courtesy of Cobb County.

In addition to fleet purchases, Cobb County installed three EV charging stations at their offices through a grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) and added another 18 Level 2 charging stations throughout the county. Check out Cobb County’s video for more on their initiatives.

The Alternative Fuels Roadshow headed to the coast on Wednesday and will conclude in Savannah today from 2:30-5:30pm. Diversification of fuels will help reduce our oil consumption in half, cut air pollution, and drive economic development. This event provides a unique opportunity for fleets and the public to view the range of technologies on the market. We hope to see more companies, municipalities, and universities welcome these sustainable fuels and technologies into their fleets throughout the state and region.

Correction: This post originally noted that Cobb also installed 18 public charging stations, however, the stations are for county use only at this time.

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