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North Hempstead to open town's first natural gas charging depot

North Hempstead Town Hall in Manhasset on March

North Hempstead Town Hall in Manhasset on March 5, 2012. Credit: Nicole Bartoline

North Hempstead officials have requested bids to build and equip the town's first compressed natural gas charging station in Port Washington.

Town officials are moving forward with the project as a $570,900 grant secured five years ago from the U.S. Department of Energy for pre-construction work expires in September.

Last year, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority awarded the town a $1 million construction grant to build the station and eventually purchase five vehicles, such as street sweepers, powered by compressed natural gas, or CNG.

The site is proposed for the town's public works yard on West Shore Road, where Tom Devaney, the town's grants coordinator, said construction is likely to begin next spring.

The town's fleet does not contain any CNG vehicles, officials said, noting the goal is to purchase them and require some contractors to have a percentage of CNG-powered trucks.

Devaney said the town can build a "network of stations," so "all municipalities within the town can use CNG."

The federal energy department describes compressed natural gas as a domestically produced alternative fuel that increases energy security and can result in lower emissions. It is considered cheaper than gasoline, according to energy officials.

The town joins other municipalities with CNG stations or CNG requirements for vendors, including Huntington and Smithtown.Hundreds of stations exist through the UnitedStates, according to the energy department.

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said the station will enable the town to "mandate a certain percentage of vehicles that use our transfer station . . . to be CNG, as well."

Huntington has converted its refuse vehicles to CNG and in 2010 began requiring private companies under contract with the town to use compressed natural gas, town spokesman A.J. Carter said. Smithtown requires garbage contracted vehicles to use CNG trucks. Both towns use a CNG station in front of Smithtown's municipal services facility.

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