Volkswagen Settlement Will Advance Electric Chargers and Clean Fuels Across the Country

Volkswagen was caught rigging emissions tests for their diesel vehicles and a court has determined a settlement. Part of the settlement is a requirement for VW to provide clean fuel alternatives across the US.
This is a wonderful opportunity to build on existing and ongoing alternative fuel and efficiency projects in Fargo and across North Dakota and the region. To learn more, tune in to KFGO Monday Feb 6 8:00 to 11:00 am. I’m filling in for Joel. At 9:30 we’ll visit with C.L.E.A.N. founder Ed Gruchalla and fellow member Paul Jensen and learn about their proposal to VW to create an EV charging corridor across ND.
While we’re a large oil producer, North Dakota doesn’t have any gasoline refining plants and we have to export oil to import gasoline. We can do better. Advancing the transition to cleaner electric vehicles would be an incredible advantage here.This type of quick charge station can completely recharge a Nissan Leaf in about 20 minutes for 100 mile range at a cost of $3.
We’re a state that produces over twice the electricity than we use locally with a growing percentage of electricity being produced with wind, solar, and cleaner burning natural gas. The cost of electric charging at today’s 8-10 cents a KWH is $1 for a gallon equivalent, estimated at 30 mpg, less than half the current cost of gasoline.
In the Fargo Moorhead area, our  C.L.E.A.N. team (Citizens Local Action Energy Network) is a coalition to build on good work by many in a collaborative manner. Among our common goals is to advance clean energy solutions and to aid in the transition to clean fuel vehicles and infrastructure that could include strategically located Electric Vehicle charging stations and infrastructure.
Thanks to Forum reporter Patrick Springer for the article that’s been printed around the region.

FARGO — A group of clean energy advocates is proposing a network of fast-charging stations on major highways crisscrossing North Dakota to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.
Citizens Local Action Energy Network, or CLEAN, based in Fargo, has applied for a grant under Volkswagen’s $11 billion settlement that allocates $7.5 million for North Dakota projects that reduce automobile emissions.
Members of CLEAN believe a network of charging stations, located along Interstates 29 and 94 and U.S. Highway 2, would encourage motorists to switch to electric vehicles.
 “The idea is it will facilitate sale of electric vehicles and therefore reduce the emissions,” said Paul Jensen, a member of CLEAN.
Of North Dakota’s $7.5 million allocation under the Volkswagen settlement, 15 percent must go toward infrastructure to support clean energy projects, he said.
In Fargo, the group is recommending charging stations at West Acres Mall and the Roberts Ramp under construction downtown. The group also proposes charging stations along I-94 in Bismarck, Dickinson, Jamestown and Beach; along I-29 t in Pembina, Grand Forks and Hankinson; and along Highway 2 in Devils Lake, Rugby, Minot, and New Town, with alternatives in Stanley or Williston.
The equipment cost for a fast-charging station is $30,000 to $35,000, plus $10,000 to $15,000 for installation, said Jensen, who is a green energy consultant.
“The price is continuously going down,” he said.
CLEAN member John Bagu, who leases a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle, said they are more economical to drive than gasoline-powered cars. He and his wife also own a gas-powered car, which they use for long trips and as a secondary vehicle.
By his calculations, assuming gas at $2 per gallon, drivers in Fargo and Cass County spend $300 million a year on gas; that figure increases to $500 million per year if gas hits $3.50 per gallon.
 Bagu said his electric car costs a “fraction” of what it costs to fill the tank with gas: about $3 for a charge. “Imagine going to a gas station and paying $3 to fuel up,” he said.
He said it’s also more fun to drive — a source of rivalry with his wife, who also prefers driving their electric car.
 “Now we literally fight over it,” he said. “The loser gets to drive our gas vehicle.”
Bagu, who also has equipped his Fargo home with solar panels and generates his own electricity, estimates there are half a dozen electric vehicles in Fargo, while Jensen estimates there are 50 around North Dakota.
But both said the technology is rapidly advancing and costs are going down. They predict electric vehicles will be widely adopted in time.
South Dakota has placed electric charging stations along Interstate 90, a major tourist highway, said Ed Gruchalla, another CLEAN member.
“They put the chargers in there so people can drive through the state,” he said, noting I-90 is a common route to the Black Hills.
North Dakota’s tourism industry also could benefit from having a network of charging stations to accommodate electric cars, said Mike Williams, a former Fargo city commissioner and a supporter of the proposal.
“It would help the tourism a lot,” he said.

~End article~


Fargo's green showcase Wednesday

You’re invited to our Fargo Renewable Energy and Conservation showcase in the Fargo Commission chambers at Fargo City Hall.

Please join us to learn about and celebrate some of Fargo’s more innovative conservation projects that save and pay while protecting our environment.   The event begins at 1:15 Wednesday Sept 11th. 

Program:  10 minute presentations from six conservation leaders in our community. The event will be broadcast live on Fargo Cable Access 12.

  • 1:15 Welcome: Fargo Commissioner Mike Williams will give 5 minutes of highlights on Fargo’s Renewable Energy Committee and introduce the presenters
  • Carmen Miller of the PEW Research Foundation will give an update on our country’s status for renewable energy development and use in the world
  • Dr. John Bagu NDSU professor in Electrical Engineering. He’ll share what he’s learned having installed solar panels on his house in Fargo for his primary energy this past year
  • Michael Burns Architect and entrepreneur will show some of the innovative, architectual interesting, and energy efficient, renovated buildings he’s been a part of such as Renaissance Hall first LEEDs certified building in Fargo.
  • Gregg Schildberg and Kevin Trana of FM Matbus will explain how they’ve helped generate interest and engage people to use our growing transit system. The ridership has increased from 800,000 annual riders in 2004 to now over 2.1 million
  • Malini Srivistav NDSU Adjunct Architecture professor speaks about how she and her students designed and built an award winning Passive House using many recycled and repurposed materials
  • Brian Reinarts Landscape Architect and project designer at Land Elements will give us background on the green roof projects they designed in Fargo at the Hotel Donaldson and 102 on Broadway (Former Straus building)

 Presentations will end at 2:30 and there will be 20 minutes for questions to any of the presenters.

Thank you and hope to see you there. Please forward this invitation to friends that may be interested.

Fargo's first ever State of the Sun Solar Symposium. Don't miss it!

Check out Fargo’s first ever State of the Sun Solar Symposium March 8th.  Our Fargo Renewable Energy and Conservation Committee is hosting this event to learn about the current and future use of solar power in the region.

The State of the Sun Solar Symposium is free and open to the public.  Hope to see you there!

The event will be in City Commission room on 200 N 3rd St.  on Thursday, March 8th from 8 a.m. to noon

It’s free and open to the public.  Seating for 150.

The State of the Sun Solar Symposium starts at 8 a.m. Thursday March 8th.
The program consists of  30 – 40 min presentations followed by Q & A.  The presentations will be broadcasting live and replaying it on Cable Access #12.
Here’s the schedule:
8 a.m.  We open the Solar Symposium and introduce our presenters.
8:10 – 9 a.m.  Jason Edens from R-REAL will present about their local solar thermal operations from manufacture to installations.
9:10 – 10 a.m. Dennis Eisenbraun of Moorhead Public Service.  He will present on the solar trackers they have in place since last summer
10:10 – 11 a.m.  Dr. John Bagu will present on his NDSUengineering class that is developing on residential scale on site solar energy using his own home as a pilot project
11 until 11:30 Panel discussion with all presenters
For more information about the symposium, contact: Mike Williams