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Clean Energy to Supply LNG to Hawaii Gas

Newport Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. officials said Monday they have secured a contract to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Hawaii Gas, Hawaii’s sole franchised gas utility. The deal is multi-year, but the utility has chosen to keep other details confidential at this time, a Clean Energy spokesperson said.

"The agreement is consistent with the state's intent to reduce its reliance on imported crude oil, using cleaner and more economical fuel," the spokesperson said.

Hawaii's current leaders have set a goal to use 100% renewables by 2045, but LNG is considered a viable and cost-saving supplement to the use of synthetic natural gas (SNG) as a primary fuel in the interim, according to the results of an 18-month bidding process by Hawaii Gas (see Daily GPI, Jan. 20).

Natural gas may be a lower-cost substitute for the company's SNG as well as a cheaper and cleaner alternative to the oil-based fuels used by electricity producers and ground/marine transportation operators, Hawaii Gas indicated earlier this year when they also made a pitch for more use of renewable natural gas (RNG). In January, the utility released a request for proposals (RFP) seeking supplies of RNG in the form of raw biogas and/or bio-methane (see Daily GPI, Jan. 13).

A Honolulu-based utility spokesperson told NGI Tuesday that approval of the contract by state regulators will enable Hawaii Gas to achieve "greater fuel diversity and enhanced capability to displace up to 30% of its [current] SNG output with LNG." Now receiving one container of LNG monthly, the utility will get "significantly more" once the operations to replace 30% SNG begin, he said.

Hawaii Gas COO Thomas Young said the Clean Energy LNG supplies will allow the utility to diversify its gas supply, improve reliability and maintain quality of service to its customers on the islands. "We've been serving the state for more than 100 years and are committed to providing quality and reliable service."

Since its pioneering effort in bringing LNG to the islands, the Macquarie Infrastructure Co. utility has had to respond to Hawaii Gov. David Ige's plans announced last summer to use 100% renewables in the state (see Daily GPI, Aug. 28, 2015).

With the start of the four-day Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, CA, Monday, Clean Energy also announced other deals for supplying LNG, RNG and compressed natural gas (CNG) to a variety of its fleet operating customers. It has secured a two-year extension for supplying LNG to the City of Phoenix, AZ.

Phoenix will be taking an estimated 5 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGE) annually of LNG in a deal valued at more than $10 million, the Clean Energy spokesperson said. Clean Energy has supplied Phoenix with LNG for more than a decade.

Phoenix Transit Director Maria Hyatt said the city is "committed to ensuring a clean affordable transportation solution" to its transit riders, and Clean Energy helps the city meet that goal.

Similarly, Clean Energy has signed a three-year renewal on a contract with the Corpus Christi Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) for operations and maintenance, representing about 3 million GGEs of LNG over the life of the contract extension.

Elsewhere, Clean Energy signed contracts for its RNG product, Redeem, in Oregon and opened fueling stations for trucks in Nebraska, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and other markets. In the refuse hauling sector, it also inked deals for Redeem and opened stations involving Republic Services operations in California and Oregon, and the operation/maintenance of Peoria Disposal Co.'s CNG station in Peoria, IL.

Also at ACT Expo, an alternative fuel sector veteran, Jeff King, former CEO at CNG fueling station equipment supplier SSP, announced he has established a new company, InsightFuel, to supply the clean fuel transportation market. King has merged AFV Natural Gas Fuel systems and CNG Plus into the new company, to provide both natural gas vehicle fuel lines and build CNG stations.

Ohio-based InsightFuel will have the resources and expertise to bring turnkey solutions to smaller light- and medium-duty fleet operators, King said. He noted at the opening of ACT Expo that the new company will have the help of an alternative fuel station-building partner, R. Anthony Enterprises, to reach the smaller light- and medium-duty fleet operators throughout the United States.

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