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Pembroke natural gas station seen a spur to economic, environmental innovation

Union Leader Correspondent

July 16. 2014 8:36PM

Though the pumps don't look much different than those found at a typical gas station, the price and environmental impact is drastically different, officials say. (RYAN O'CONNOR/Union Leader Correspondent)

PEMBROKE — Clean Energy Fuels cut the ribbon Wednesday on a first-of-its kind natural gas fueling station in Pembroke, and officials at the ceremony touted the economic and environmental benefit the facility brings to the region.

Pembroke Selectman Vincent Greco was a representative on the planning board when the plan to bring Clean Energy to Pembroke came to fruition.

“It helps our tax structure, number one, and as a selectman, you’re very interested in what it does for property taxes,” he said. “And it’s not coal. When other people look at our town ... we hope to bring in other types of renewable energy and environmentally good projects, so it’s a stepping stone. ... It’s absolutely the right direction.”

Though there are more than 500 Clean Energy stations throughout the United States, Mark Riley, eastern region vice president for the company, said the Pembroke site was chosen because it sits right on the Tennessee interstate pipeline, providing the station with a high-pressure, high-volume source of natural gas.

“This is our first facility in New Hampshire that has both vehicle fueling and trailer filling,” he said. “Actually, this is the first facility we’ve built with the trailer-filling component.”

Clean Energy, which has been in business for about 18 years, typically serves transit buses and automobiles, but Riley said his company partnered with NG Advantage to deliver natural gas to manufacturing facilities and large industrial facilities throughout New England.

At $2.39 a gallon, retail cost, Riley said natural gas is cheaper than oil or propane, and also lowers a company’s emissions and carbon footprint.

Vicki Quiram, assistant commissioner for New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services, said the facility is a “fabulous example” of the connection between a healthy economy and a healthy environment.

Quiram said on-road motor vehicles emit more than half the air pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone, the primary ingredient in smog. More than half the emissions of greenhouse gases, she added, come from energy use in the transportation process of heating.

In addition, Riley said natural gas is much safer than gasoline.

“When you’re dispensing it into your vehicle, there’s no opportunity for leakage, and if there is any sort of escape of natural gas, it goes into the air ... and it dissipates very quickly,” he said. “And when it actually combusts in your vehicle, it’s extremely clean. You know, some of the cleanest vehicles on earth are natural gas vehicles.”

The facility is expected to attract innovative businesses to the area.

“The important thing here is that this should be an economic driver for New Hampshire,” said Riley. “It gives some of the manufacturing facilities in New Hampshire that aren’t currently on a pipeline the opportunity to become more cost competitive.”

Energy Pembroke

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