Virginia Governor signs legislation and executive order beginning transition of state vehicles to natural gas, electricity or other alternative fuels
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has signed two pieces of legislation that promote the use of natural gas, electric or other alternative-fueled vehicles in the Commonwealth. He also signed a new executive order setting out the state alternative fuel plan required by House Bill 2282.
The Virginia Office of Fleet Management Services oversees approximately 4,000 passenger-type vehicles, used by more than 175 state agencies and institutions. Fourteen alternative fuel vehicles and two vehicle chargers were also on display at the signing ceremony.
It is important that we pursue all practicable and cost-effective options to promote the use of alternative fuel vehicles. Increased use of alternative fuel vehicles holds the potential to help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, support the expansion of private-sector businesses and create new jobs here in the Commonwealth.
This potential is why, in my administration, Virginia is pursuing an “all fuels approach” to the vehicles it uses in conducting its business. The legislation and executive order that I am signing today will provide the private sector an opportunity to develop creative partnerships to help the commonwealth meet its goals.—Governor McDonnell
Legislation. The two bills signed into law are:
HB2282 (Marshall). Establishes a plan for vehicles to use alternative fuels. Requires the director of the Department of General Services, in conjunction with the secretary of administration and the governor’s senior advisor on energy, to develop a plan providing for the replacement of vehicles owned by the Commonwealth with vehicles that operate using natural gas, electricity, or other alternative fuels, to the greatest extent practicable, considering available infrastructure, the location and use of vehicles, capital and operating costs, and potential for fuel savings.
HB2105 (Bulova). Excludes third party retail sales of vehicle charging electricity from qualification as a “public utility,” “public service corporation,” or “public service company.” Allows Virginia retailers to offer electric vehicle charging stations for drivers, providing more locations and choices for electric vehicle charging throughout the Commonwealth.
Executive Order #36. Executive Order #36 directs release of a Public-Private Partnership solicitation no later than 22 July. At a minimum the PPEA solicitation is to set out:
The Commonwealth’s interest in partnerships with and among alternative fuel source providers, infrastructure developers, vehicle manufacturers, and other industry leaders to expand alternative fuels refueling infrastructure, and provision of alternative fuel vehicles to support the Commonwealth’s vehicle pools and fleets; the need for short- (within next 2 years), mid- (between 2 and 5 years), and long- term (5 to 10 years) alternative fuel solutions;
That state-owned vehicles and other state resources may be available as part of a public-private partnership aimed at expansion of alternative fuel solutions;
That private sector teams may provide any variety of project elements, including planned conversion or purchase of vehicles, addressing specific vehicle fleets and uses, at individual, several or all locations across the Commonwealth;
That proposals must include a plan for maintenance of infrastructure equipment, fuel sources, and vehicles or means to guarantee proposed solutions will remain in operational state for at least the time period of the alternative fuel proposal;
The need for training and certification opportunities for personnel working with alternative fuel technologies;
A request for strategies that will be used to rollout proposed solutions to targeted fleets including an implementation timeline;
That proposals should provide a plan for fueling for the life of the vehicles and if a bi-fuel system is proposed, a strategy should be included to compel use of cleaner, cheaper domestic fuels over imported fuels when financially viable;
That local public entities and other fleets such as federal government and business fleets might be included in a partnership to enhance the effectiveness and benefits of any proposal;
How citizens of the Commonwealth and visitors passing though the Commonwealth that operate alternative fuel vehicles might benefit from alternative fuel solutions proposal;
The need to address the environmental advantages and disadvantages of the proposed solution;
That each proposal must provide detailed operational and cost feasibility analysis of implementing the proposed partnership; and
A description of the data gathered about current state and local vehicle inventories and uses, and available infrastructure, together with directions for accessing that data to support the development of proposals.
The order also directs the Department of General Services and the Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy to brief the Secretary of Administration, Senior Advisor on Energy and the Secretary of Finance monthly on the progress of this initiative, beginning in August 2011 and to make a recommendation(s) no later than the end of May 2012 on the best available path ahead for moving state vehicles to alternative fuels and whether the goal should be accomplished through a formal PPEA agreement.
If it is determined that implementation of a proposed PPEA solution is practicable and financially viable, considering available infrastructure, the location and use of vehicles, capital and operating costs, and potential for fuel savings, negotiations towards a PPEA agreement(s) will commence with a target completion date of July 2012.
This is an opportunity for the Commonwealth’s public and private sectors, industry leaders and innovators to work collaboratively to move state government away from vehicles fueled by gasoline and diesel fuel and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Virginia has an opportunity to lead the nation as the first state fully committed to making a substantial contribution to our nation’s energy independence from foreign oil.—EO 36