The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities Stakeholder Summit recently provided the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) with valuable networking opportunities as well as insights into the achievements of Clean Cities Coalitions.
NAFTC Executive Director Al Ebron and Assistant Director of Communications and Outreach Judy Moore attended the event, which was held for the first time June 27-30 in Indianapolis. The summit provided a forum for collaboration between the DOE Clean Cities coordinators and national and local stakeholders to discuss the short- and long-term opportunities, challenges and strategies for greater adoption of alternative fuels, advanced technology vehicles and other petroleum reduction practices in the transportation sector.
In addition, the summit highlighted individual achievements of various Clean Cities coalitions in the deployment of alternative fuels, advanced technology vehicles and other petroleum reduction practices to inspire fellow stakeholders by exposing them to new ideas, approaches and lessons learned; educated attendees on the latest in advancements in clean vehicle technologies and deployment priorities from DOE, industry and laboratory experts; showcased the success of the charter industry members of the National Petroleum Reduction Partnership Program; identified and seized new partnership opportunities; and developed next steps for building a successful Clean Cities deployment portfolio throughout the Clean Cities network.
“The first day’s session, ‘Getting Plugged In: Electric Drive Community Readiness Training,’ was interesting and useful to us,” Moore noted. “We attended multiple sessions about a variety of alternative fuels and related topics on the second day.”
Following morning and afternoon breakout sessions and discussion, the second day concluded with “The Winners’ Circle: Evening Reception Showcasing Clean Cities Coalitions,” which involved Clean Cities coordinators displaying their posters and answering questions about alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle projects in their communities.
”’The Winners’ Circle was one of the main activities of the summit,” Moore said. “It was really great to walk around and talk with all the coordinators about the great projects they have going on.”
On June 29, the summit had its “Day at the Track,” which included exhibits and ride-and-drive opportunities at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The day kicked off with the Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Technology Caravan, while the featured speakers were DOE Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow and DOE Vehicle Technologies Program Manager Pat Davis. Davis recognized two coordinators who were inducted into the Clean Cities Hall of Fame Utah Clean Cities Coordinator Robin Erickson and Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition Coordinator Lisa Thurstin.
In addition, former professional racecar driver, 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year and founder of the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation, Lyn St. James, also made remarks during the day’s opening ceremonies.
The most valuable part of attending the summit, Moore explained, was the chance to network with the coordinators and industry partners.
“We had a chance to meet with five out of the six coordinators who are our partners for the Clean Cities Learning Program Petroleum Reduction Technologies curriculum,” Moore said. “We brought them up to date on the second year of the grant and thanked them for participating in the program.”
Moore and Ebron enjoyed the summit and are looking forward to the NAFTC’s continuing collaboration with the Clean Cities Program.
“Last year, the NAFTC was represented at a Clean Cities strategic planning meeting, where we were fortunate to contribute our ideas for alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle education and outreach,” Ebron explained. “We are excited to see the results of that meeting in the Clean Cities Five-Year Strategic Plan, which was handed out at the recent summit.
“We were also happy to learn from National Clean Cities Director Dennis Smith that Clean Cities now has 100 coalitions serving 78 percent of the U.S. population,” he added. “The program truly is providing ‘hundreds of experts at your fingertips.’”