Construction Begins on Revolutionary Public-Private Natural Gas Fueling Station
Matt Thomas just spent about $54.00 filling up his Nissan in Tallahassee. He loves the idea of saving money with a hybrid car. "I think if there were sufficient fueling, refueling plug in stations, it would be perfect," said Thomas.
Leon County School (LCS) Superintendent Jackie Pons today broke ground on a revolutionary public-private natural gas fueling station that will reduce the school district's fuel costs, keeping more dollars in the classroom. The station is being built and operated by Florida-based Nopetro, which plans to build a network of natural gas fueling stations around the state.
Today's event ushers in an era when schools, governments, businesses and the general public can transition to cleaner, greener, domestically abundant and less expensive natural gas.
Superintendent Pons' vision of transitioning the LCS bus fleet to natural gas will free up more money for education by reducing fueling costs. Thanks to a unique public-private partnership with Florida-based Nopetro, which is building and operating the fueling station with private funds, LCS also will benefit from royalty payments from private sector sales.
"Floridians have said they want more money spent on students in the classroom, that's why my budget calls for $1 billion in new K-12 spending and why this project is good for Leon County's students," said Gov. Rick Scott. "This is a great example of how government and the private sector can work together to create jobs in a way that everyone wins, especially the students."
Today's groundbreaking initiates construction at 440 Capital Circle NW, which will be the first of a network of statewide fueling stations to be built by Nopetro. Those stations will make it possible for a portion of Florida's heavy truck traffic, municipal trucks and school buses to convert to natural gas, which is domestically abundant, 25 percent cheaper and 33 percent cleaner than diesel fuel.
"After all the hard work to get this project off the ground, it is gratifying to see this vision become a reality," said Jackie Pons, Leon County School Superintendent. "This will benefit our students in so many ways, including improving our region's air quality by moving to a cleaner, greener fuel."
Natural gas has many advantages as a fuel source: It is significantly cheaper than diesel fuel, without sacrificing performance. It reduces carbon pollution by 30 percent and particulate matter by 100 percent. Best of all, it's abundant - the U.S. has the largest natural gas reserves in the world.
"By working together, Florida's energy industry and local governments can direct our resources where they are needed most - in the classroom," said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. "Through this public/private partnership, we are creating private sector jobs that will stimulate the economy and pave the way for Florida's energy future."
Jorge Herrera, the chief executive officer of Nopetro and Jack Locke, the company's co-founder based the choice of Tallahassee as its headquarters on a number of factors, including ideal geography, being in the middle of North Florida on I-10; serving as the seat of state government; the strength of the local colleges to provide a skilled labor force; and just being a great place to live.
"Nopetro is committed to building a network of natural gas fueling stations around Florida that will make it possible for big trucks and municipal vehicles to switch to natural gas at a cost savings of at least 25 percent. The Leon County station is the first link in that chain," Herrera said. "We invite local companies with truck fleets to look into converting to natural gas because we will be open for business this summer."
Over the next few years, Nopetro has plans to open fueling stations at numerous locations throughout the state.