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Reporting from Big Sky, Mt. CC Conference

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  • Reporting from Big Sky, Mt. CC Conference

    After 6 hours in the air, I finally arrived in Big Sky. What beautiful country. The pristine nature of this area certainly drives home the goals of Clean Cities... Sustainable, renewable fuel sources that protect our environment.

    I ended up setting beside Linda Bluestein, National Clean Cities Co-Director/Technology Deployment Manager. What an awsome lady. She deals with the government regarding getting funds for CCC projects. Things are looking up on that front.

    I met some of the key players, shakers and rollers in the alt fuels arena at the Reception, well... I met a number of people that absolutely ROCK! These are the people that make it all happen. They are the bedrock of the alt fuels industry. I wish all of you could meet them.

    Hopefully they will become an integral part of cngchat. John and I have been adding some new forums and tools to make their life easier. There's too much to tell and the real work begins early in the morning. Suffice it to say, you guys are going to love my upcoming reports.

    Todd, if you're out there... I'm going to turn you into a superhero this week. I've been talking to DOE all afternoon and they want to... I'll tell you later. Stay tuned for the latest reports from Big Sky's 15th National Clean Cities Convention.

    Oh yeah, did you guys know that you can make anything out of Soy Beans? Oil, natural gas, bio-diesel, windshield washer fluid, spot remover... I hear you can even eat them! Who'd have thought.
    Last edited by Curtis; 10-01-2008, 12:21 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Reporting from Big Sky, Mt. CC Conference

    Way to go Curtis... You are the MAN..


    • #3
      Re: Reporting from Big Sky, Mt. CC Conference

      Say HI to Annabelle for me!
      BLUE 09 GX


      • #4
        Re: Reporting from Big Sky, Mt. CC Conference

        Sorry Jetboat, Annabel isn't at the Clean Cities Conference.... she's on assignment in Long Beach at another trade event...



        • #5
          Re: Reporting from Big Sky, Mt. CC Conference

          Day 2 at Big Sky:

          Another long day, 13 hrs of meetings and elbow rubbing. What an amazing collection of people make up the Clean Cities, DOE, NREL, NETL. All these organizations actually work separately together to accomplish this massive undertaking.

          The one thing I realized 3 years ago when I started Civicgctalk (Yahoo Group) was that the biggest need was information. It seemed everyone was hungry for it, and no one had much of it. Then came Civicgxngv (Yahoo Group) and John and I took that site to the next level. Then John Mitton came along and the bunch from Yahoo all teamed up to take it to the next level once again, with cngchat.

          Today there are over 4,000 of us. We have all gathered together for one reason... information. Some of us have it to share, others need it, and some are searching for their own "next step" in helping ween the world from oil. For us it was cng, but as I'm really beginning to understand, cng works where it works... and where it doesn't work... there usually isn't a single reason why.

          The American public has embraced the concept of alternative fuels in a way they never have in the history of oil. We are realizing that the need to get off oil is either, important, urgent, necessary, mandated (in some cases), or vital to the long term continuation of the human species. Whatever adjectives you want to apply to it, one overwhelming need continues to present itself... information.

          Whether it's the guy in the street trying to figure out what that GX was he saw in the car-pool lane is all about, or a city manager trying to figure out how to reduce the city budget for their fleet, everyone is looking for answers. And as far as cng goes, we've gathered the best in the business in this forum.

          Today I met with the National Biodiesel Board, United Soybean Board, Clean Fuel USA (Propane), National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium, the federal and state fleet people from DOE and NETL... and of course a lot of other coalitions that are doing amazing things.

          I've always been cng to-the-bone, probably always will be, but it's no "magic bullet". That's why this area of the board will be open to discussions of all fuel types. I think we have cng pretty well covered. What the coalition people need is information. That's why we have these conferences, to learn. This is a new world, or at least the beginnings of one. A world in which the status quo is no longer acceptable, and oil is never going to be cheap again.

          One thing these people need is resources. Many work alone, part time and on a voluntary basis. That's right, this is essentially not a paying job. Many work part time, often from home (like I do) and still manage to change the world, and we can help.

          If you are an industry professional in the alternative fuels industry, in any capacity, that would like to list yourself in an index of professionals that wish to help these people when, where, and how you can, please drop me a PM. I need anyone with an expertise. It could be grant writing, station construction, tank manufacturing, contracts, cng, propane conversions, or any area, I will add you to a resource list that is visible to only CC Cordinators.

          You might get a call to give some feedback, or information about a particular subject. You might land a big grant to do some work for a project, I don't know. All I do know is information is a commodity that's in short supply. City Managers may not know any more than any alt fuels newby. Everyone, at every level, is looking for experts right now, to help them figure out this twisted road that lies ahead. I want to put them all here, in a database on this site, in a central location that makes them easy for the Coordinators to find.

          If you're an industry expert that's willing to become a piece of the puzzle... a piece of the solution... to take it to the next level, PM me and get on the list.

          It's off to get some rest, we get a tour of Yellowstone's "Old Faithful" tomorrow, along with many more hours of info. Thanks to all of you for being a valuable, integral part of this site.
          Last edited by Curtis; 09-16-2008, 10:23 PM.


          • #6
            Re: Reporting from Big Sky, Mt. CC Conference

            Wed. 9/17 from Big Sky.

            Today was the National Renewable Energy Resources laboratories, biofuel sustainability... we learned that the food vrs fuel arguement that the press is waging is not valid and the rise in food prices was directly related to the rise in oil prices.

            Clean Fuels USA, who does Propane and E-85 has a number of new propane vehicles working their way through EPA/CARB as we speak, occupied our minds all during our lunch break.

            The Clean Cities Council passed a number of resolutions designed to make our lives better and then it was a 1 1/2 hr drive to Yellowstone to watch Old Faithful" spew a few times and back to the hotel by 10:30. Days start a 7am here, regardless of when they end.

            My respect for the people that do the coordinators job grows daily. The job they are tasked with is akin to being sent into the Sequoia National Forrest with a hand ax and told to clear the whole forrest.

            Fortunately, DOE, NREL (National Renewable Energies Lab), and NETL (National Energy Technologies Lab) work tirelessly with CC to arm them with the latest info, studies and technologies... the cutting edge stuff. What an amazing job they do. I hope this site continues to grow as a valuable resource to those seeking info. It seems that the questions we answer here every day are the same ones that come in at DOE and CCC every day.

            Interestingly, the DOE is trying to piece together a FAQ to post online to address these common questions... I told them that we already handled that. I'm now working to get this site, as well as cngprices, linked to the AFDC site.

            You'll also notice that the EERE's fuel station locator is, or soon will, look strangely (and exactly) like our own cngprices. It will be set up to do diffferent things, like give coordinators the ability to get reports on regional fuel prices, but it will not reflect fuel prices. I couldn't understand why the ongoing questions about how certain things were done on cngprices... now I know. Todd, we need to talk.

            Well, it's midnight and the alarm clock has no sympathy, so I'm gonna sign off. Tommorow's a full day and I'll report after it's over.


            • #7
              Re: Reporting from Big Sky, Mt. CC Conference

              Tonight brought the official close of the 15th Annual Clean Cities Conference. Today DOE updated us on all the efforts they are making to interface the needs of coalitions, and support their efforts. There were sessions on team building for coalitions and guidane from the well established coalitions for the newer coordinators, like myself.

              We met with Honda and learned all about the GX! (Got me excited), learned about idle reduction technology, met with BAF, Cummings, got PHEV-HEV updates from INEEL, and met up with NGV America's Jeff Clark. We strategized and revived an offshoot of the coalition called TEP, made up of coordinators, that goes to washington and educates congressmen about what is needed in the way of legislation... and it works remarkably well. You'd be amazed at how high a level of esteem the government holds the Clean Cities Program.

              Building an effective coaliition is no easy task. It is a monumental undertaking. Your coalition needs your assistance and support to continue it's efforts on our behalf. We are undertaking the change of the world, from an oil addicted scociety, to a sustainable one in which our children and grandchildren will have to make their way.

              Nothing we do as coordinators, or individuals, is too small. I would encourage you all to join your local coalition, contribute in any way you can, turn them onto this web site, make a donation to support them if you can. As I learned, this position is beyond full time, yet pays $12,500 a year. Financial assistance isn't as important as feet on the ground.

              If you want to know who and where your coalition is, let me know. I'll try and direct you. If nothing else, walk into their office, shake their hand, and say thank you. Let them know what you do to help make the world a better place, even if it' just driving an NGV.

              Flying back out here in a little while. See you back in the trenches.