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Clean Cities National Parks Initiative Cuts Ribbon on Three Pilot Projects, Announces New Projects

June 27, 2012


Beginning as an effort in 2009 to increase outreach and education about alternative fuel vehicles at U.S. National Parks, the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative (CCNPI) has grown into a large-scale project that reaches millions of parks visitors each year. 
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Clean Cities program selected the Grand Teton, Mammoth Cave, and Yellowstone national parks to pilot the CCNPI. For over a year, Clean Cities Coalitions, National Parks Service (NPS) personnel, and the Clean Cities team at DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) worked together to identify the best ways to incorporate alternative fuels and implement outreach efforts.
Through these pilot projects, the CCNPI was able to identify the vehicles needed by each of the parks, work with the General Services Administration (GSA) to procure the vehicles, and provide the parks with materials to educate visitors about the benefits of using alternative fuels.
“Working on these pilot projects has helped streamline the process of procuring alternative fuel vehicles from the GSA,” says Andrew Hudgins, Clean Cities project manager at NREL. “In the future, other parks will be able to use templates developed from the Mammoth Cave project so that they can implement their alternative fuel efforts faster.”
The Mammoth Cave Project officially began in April 2012, and is using E85 in all park vehicles, as well as adding four propane-powered buses, two propane-powered pickup trucks, and one electric utility vehicle. The Grand Teton and Yellowstone projects will officially kickoff this July, adding hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles to their fleet, implementing idle reduction technologies and strategies, and providing education materials to visitors.  
NREL manages a lot of the background aspects of the CCNPI, including the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative website, NPS and Clean Cities Coalitions interactions, toolkits to help identify ways of implementing alternative fuels and petroleum reduction techniques, and training workshops for NPS personnel. NREL is also responsible for reviewing project submissions and managing the selection of new NPS projects.
Through the CCNPI website, visitors can submit project ideas for consideration. Projects must incorporate effective education and outreach plans for visitors and staff, and help meet NPS long-term goals outlined in the agency’s Green Parks Plan. Projects should also support other petroleum reduction initiatives, including:
·         Annual reduction in petroleum consumption
·         Annual increase in alternative fuel use
·         Increases in alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) at acquisition or replacement
·         GHG emissions reductions
·         Optimization of fleet and fuels used through effective fleet strategic plans.
Once projects are submitted, NREL reviews the project concept, potential partners, and benefits. Since the CCNPI began, 25 project ideas have been submitted. Most recently, five additional projects were selected to be worked on over the next year:
·         Shenandoah National Park
·         Blue Ridge Parkway
·         San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
·         Golden Gate National Recreation Area
·         Mesa Verde National Park
These new NPS projects are expected to be completed in a shorter amount of time thanks to lessons learned from the pilot projects, and are expected to be ready for kickoff in May 2013, just in time for the summer tourist season.
To learn more about the pilot projects and these new NPS projects, visit the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative website. Visit the Clean Cities website to read about Clean Cities Coalitions and other partnerships.