With natural gas vehicles on the way, training is one priority - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

With natural gas vehicles on the way, training is one priority

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Organizers prepare for the 24th annual Chili Night in Uptown Beckley

    Organizers prepare for the 24th annual Chili Night in Uptown Beckley

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:34 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:34:46 GMT
    The 24th annual Chili Night in Uptown Beckley is quickly approaching. It's a time for local eateries to cook up their best batch of the hearty meal. The competition involves more than 40 participants, three stages of entertainment, vendors, ride and slide activities for kids and more.
    The 24th annual Chili Night in Uptown Beckley is quickly approaching. It's a time for local eateries to cook up their best batch of the hearty meal. The competition involves more than 40 participants, three stages of entertainment, vendors, ride and slide activities for kids and more.
  • Is the iCloud secure? After a celebrity leak, What You can do to Make sure your Information is Safe

    Is the iCloud secure? After a celebrity leak, What You can do to Make sure your Information is Safe

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:33 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:33:47 GMT
    We wanted to know just what you can do to make sure your information isn't leaked. Although there's many benefits to "cloud" services, authorities now caution against keeping your private information online.
    We wanted to know just what you can do to make sure your information isn't leaked. Although there's many benefits to "cloud" services, authorities now caution against keeping your private information online.
  • Soon all police will be wearing body cameras

    Soon all police will be wearing body cameras

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:37:42 GMT
    A nationwide debate is taking place after an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri .Ferguson cops were given body cameras by two companies after allegations have been made against protesters, who are outraged by the shooting.Soon police around the country could be wearing body cameras.
    A nationwide debate is taking place after an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri .Ferguson cops were given body cameras by two companies after allegations have been made against protesters, who are outraged by the shooting.Soon police around the country could be wearing body cameras.
  • EnergyEnergyMore>>

  • UPDATE: WV leaders applaud possible energy company expansion

    UPDATE: WV leaders applaud possible energy company expansion

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:05 AM EDT2014-09-02 15:05:44 GMT
    House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said the announcement of four major energy companies partnering to build a proposed natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline is another step toward expanding West Virginia's economy.
    House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said the announcement of four major energy companies partnering to build a proposed natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline is another step toward expanding West Virginia's economy.
  • WV Wilderness group fights against gas companies over pipeline in Pocahontas County

    WV Wilderness group fights against gas companies over pipeline in Pocahontas County

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:40 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:40:53 GMT
    The West Virginia Wilderness group has been fighting three gas companies for months, who want to put a pipeline in Pocahontas County .Lauren Ragland is the founder of West Virginia Wilderness and said the pipeline does not belong in Pocahontas County.
    The West Virginia Wilderness group has been fighting three gas companies for months, who want to put a pipeline in Pocahontas County .Lauren Ragland is the founder of West Virginia Wilderness and said the pipeline does not belong in Pocahontas County.
  • Dominion, Duke to build $5B natural gas pipeline

    Dominion, Duke to build $5B natural gas pipeline

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:20 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:20:59 GMT
    Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and other partners have proposed building a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with the prodigious supplies of natural gas being produced in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
    Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and other partners have proposed building a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with the prodigious supplies of natural gas being produced in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

The last time an effort was made to introduce natural gas vehicles in West Virginia, several decades ago, public education was an afterthought.

Not this time.

"This time we're going to educate drivers, we're going to educate fleets, we're going to educate technicians and the public about these vehicles," said Bill Davis, acting director of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium at West Virginia University in Morgantown. "This time, when they do show up, everything will go smoothly."

Education and training were among the topics discussed at a July 10 stakeholder meeting of the West Virginia Clean State Program hosted by the NAFTC. Administered by the state Division of Energy, the Clean State Program is one of 90 such programs nationwide sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to advance the use of alternative transportation fuels. 

Along with Davis, speakers at the July 10 meeting included Chris Weikle, deputy director of public policy for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin; Harrison County Commissioner Mike Romano; Bret Chandler, managing director of Propane Fuel Technologies; Rebekah Hogue, special projects coordinator for the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association; T.J. Meadows, compressed natural gas business manager at IGS Energy – CNG Services; Michael Moore, president of CNG Innovations of WV; and Clean State Program Coordinator Kelly Bragg.

The 30 or so participants at the meeting represented a broad range of stakeholders, according to Davis: gas suppliers, vehicle converters, state government agencies, fleet managers, financers and developers of fueling stations and fueling equipment, trainers and others.

"We had some significant discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of both propane and natural gas, what's going on within the industry, and how we can do conversions within the state," Davis said.

"We also talked about how we can put infrastructure within the state — and when you're dealing with alternative fuels, infrastructure is a key issue," he said.

NAFTC had natural gas and propane vehicles on hand for participants to view.

Davis spoke of some efforts already under way across the state: the Kanawha Converts consortium that is looking to promote the use of natural gas vehicles in Kanawha County, for example, and IGS Energy - CNG Services' plan to build a four-station CNG fueling corridor on Interstate 79 in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, planned to be complete and open to the public around the end of this year.

"But for me, one of the key things was the agreement at the end that we need to educate people about these vehicles before we start the process of bringing them into play," Davis said.

Early educational efforts would be concentrated in the priority regions of the state, those with the greatest vehicle fleet concentrations, as identified in the February report of the Governor's Natural Gas Vehicle Task Force. They include Berkeley, Cabell, Fayette, Greenbrier, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Logan, Marion, Mercer, Monongalia, Ohio, Putnam, Raleigh, Wayne and Wood counties.

"We're going to do education and outreach sessions in those areas as part of the Natural Gas Vehicle Transition Team within the state of West Virginia," Davis said.

He said the NAFTC is working with the Division of Energy to put together education and outreach programs and expects to begin holding sessions for fleet managers, city and county government officials and the general public possibly as early as the fall of this year.