The United States Department of Energy awarded a $14.9 million grant to DeKalb County in partnership with the Clean Cities Atlanta coalition that will fund programming designed to reduce the use of fossil fuels in transportation vehicles.

“I want to personally thank the Department of Energy and the Office of the Vice President for pushing this program forward and making this award to the city of Atlanta and its partners” said Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. “These funds will advance our goal of reducing the city’s carbon footprint.”

The program will be implemented during the course of the next two years and includes efforts to increase the supply of renewable Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) while growing the availability of CNG fueling stations, increasing the number of fleet and commercially operated vehicles operating on alternative fuels and deploying a variety of advanced-technology hybrid vehicles.

The Atlanta-based team is comprised of a public and private partnership between the city of Atlanta, Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE), DeKalb County, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, PS Energy Group, Inc., Sustainable Atlanta and United Parcel Service of America (UPS).

With the grant money, the proposed project is readily implemented and commercially viable to expand the use of alternative fueled vehicles and advanced technology vehicles in Atlanta and surrounding areas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Atlanta will benefit greatly from the emissions reduction from a public health perspective. This project will also provide a template for the expanded use of locally produced renewable transportation fuel and advanced technology vehicles in a variety of applications.

“The Clean Cities program is helping give state and local governments the tools they need to build a greener transportation system that will create new jobs and help to put America on the path to a clean energy future," said Don Francis, Clean Cities-Atlanta coordinator. "Advancing the number of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles on the road will increase our energy security, decrease our dependence on oil, and reduce pollution across the country."

Under the Recovery Act, the Clean Cities program will fund a range of energy efficient and advanced vehicle technologies, such as hybrids, electric vehicles, plug-in electric hybrids, hydraulic hybrids and compressed natural gas vehicles, helping reduce petroleum consumption across the U.S. In addition, funding will support refueling infrastructure for various alternative fuel vehicles, including biofuels and natural gas. Other efforts under the Clean Cities program include public education and training initiatives to further the program's goal of reducing the national demand for petroleum.

“We are thrilled to receive this good news about the highly competitive national grant to reduce our reliance on petroleum based fuels in transportation,” said Mandy Mahoney, director of Sustainability for the city of Atlanta.

“After a lot of hard work, we are very excited for the opportunity to showcase the teamwork and collaboration of the coalition partners in reducing the use of fossil fuels in the Atlanta area and taking a significant step toward improving public health,” said Lynnette Young, executive director of Sustainable Atlanta. “This will improve the attractiveness of our city as we work to attract new businesses and jobs in these trying economic times.”

Specific program objectives include:

• Converting 1,000 standard cubic feet per minute (scfm) of LFG at the DeKalb County landfill that is currently being flared to CNG. The long-term goal is to reduce annual criteria pollutant emissions from the facility as follows: 9.0 tons of NOx, 49.2 tons of CO2, 2.2 tons of particulate matter, and 1.1 tons of SO2 and 0.5 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOC).

• Constructing four new CNG fueling stations and expanded dispensing capacity at one existing station

• Deployment of 191 light to heavy-duty alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles comprised of 122 CNG vehicles, 20 hydraulic hybrid vehicles and 49 hybrid electric vehicles.

• Significant reduction of petroleum use by more than 489,000 gallons per year.

• Creation of more than 185 new jobs and retention of nearly 300 additional jobs.

• Public education and promotion regarding alternative fuel technologies and vehicles driven by the coalition and individual partners which demonstrate the financial viability of the LFG – CNG business model as well as the economic and environmental effectiveness of CNG and hybrid vehicles in delivery, passenger and municipal fleet operations.

“We are thrilled to receive this good news about the highly competitive national grant to reduce our reliance on petroleum based fuels in transportation,” said Mandy Mahoney, director of sustainability for the city of Atlanta.

The city of Atlanta is pursuing $535 million in stimulus funding across 34 different ARRA-funded programs. With this award, the city has received over $41 million in commitments to date.