Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Businessman makes proposal for fleets to use San Juan County fuel

I made this post yesterday with the comments below. After further thought, I decided that rather than just expressing disgust, I should share my reasoning. Natural gas has a reputation for burning cleaner than coal and regular gas; however, the devastation that is caused by its extraction far outweighs its benefits as a (slightly) cleaner burning fuel. To create more demand for natural gas and tout it as doing the right thing, strikes me as a painfully inept approach to a progression towards clean energy.

This is definitely one-sided reporting at its best. Maybe industry and government officials think the San Juan basin isn't trashed enough yet. Better create more demand so we can do more damage! I'll end my commentary there, this article just has to much to disagree with.

By Debra Mayeux, The Daily Times, Farmington, N.M.

Feb. 15--FARMINGTON -- The San Juan Basin has one of the largest natural gas formations in the country, and energy producers in the region are looking for ways to use it.

There are new proposals on the board for natural gas power plants and vehicles that run on compressed natural gas.

Joe Williams, owner of HydroPure in Aztec, is on a journey to locate companies and government entities willing to convert their fleets to compressed natural gas.

"When I was a kid, all of our vehicles ran on propane," said Williams, who is a third-generation energy man.

Williams' quest began after a small business round table with Lt. Gov. Diane Denish. He asked her if the state would consider converting its fleets to natural gas, and she said it was a possibility if there were natural gas stations to fuel the vehicles.

After several months of research, Williams discovered a T. Boones Pickens' company that might be interested in developing compressed natural gas stations in the San Juan Basin.

"Clean Energy will design, build, operate and maintain fueling sites with both public and private partnerships as part of their business plan to promote the use of clean natural gas as a viable fuel option for America," Williams said during Wednesday's meeting of the San Juan Economic Development Service.

He was fostering support from SJEDS and its member entities to get behind a compressed natural gas initiative for the region.

"I propose a public-private partnership," he said.

Natural gas is better for the environment and it also is cost-effective with natural gas costing 60 cents per unit less than a gallon of gasoline.

Through his research, Williams traveled to Denver; Jules, Colo.; Raton and the Piceance Basin in Colorado. All ofthose areas have businesses with fleets that are being converted to natural gas.

"We see these things happening, and we in the San Juan Basin have an opportunity to do this," Williams said.

Compressed natural gas has many uses. It can be used to fuel cars and electric utilities. Provisions are being made on the federal level to convert government fleets to natural gas, said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., on a recent visit to Farmington.

"Most experts seem to think natural gas as transportation fuel has the most promise in fleets," Bingaman said. There also is a push for electric vehicles and biofuel-run vehicles, but the senator said competition will drive the market. "We don't know which one is going to win out."

Williams would like to see natural gas win, because he believes it provides an opportunity for future energy development within this region. Bingaman sees it as a good move in the future of local energy development. More>>>