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Gregg Walker
Propane Education & Research Council


Propane Council Approves Mower Incentive Program, Re-elects Officers for 2012-2013 Term


WASHINGTON (April 20, 2012) — The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), meeting last week in Atlanta, approved a commercial mower incentive program designed to encourage the widespread adoption of propane-fueled mowers by putting as many as 600 new mowers into service nationwide.

Eligible groundskeepers can get up to $1,000 for buying a qualifying propane-fueled commercial mower and sharing details with PERC about their use and operation of the mower for one year. Compared with gasoline mowers, propane mowers can reduce carbon monoxide emissions by more than 80 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50 percent.

“Landscaping firms, local governments, colleges and universities, and lawn care pros are switching to propane-fueled mowers because they offer lower emissions, cost less to operate, and run on an abundant, domestically produced fuel,” PERC President and CEO Roy Willis said. “With this incentive program a mower operator can earn $1,000 by using a great product and reporting on its performance.”

While meeting in Atlanta, PERC re-elected all five of its officers for another one-year term:

Chairman: Joe Armentano, Paraco Gas, Rye Brook, N.Y.
Vice Chairman–Marketers: Paula Wilson, AmeriGas, Valley Forge, Pa.
Vice Chairman–Producers: Joe Gump, ConocoPhillips, Dacula, Ga.
Treasurer: Gerry Misel, Georgia Gas Distributors, Sandy Springs, Ga.
Secretary: Eric Benson, JS West & Co., Modesto, Calif.

They will serve on the Executive Committee through July 2013. Among their biggest projects for the coming year will be leading the development of the Council’s strategic plan.

The Council’s top priority remains the research and development of new propane-fueled products and the safety and training programs that support them, Armentano said. “We’ve taken some big steps in our research and development efforts, and commercial mowers are just one example of that work,” he said. “This year we will push harder to bring more propane-fueled appliances, vehicles, and equipment to market.”

In other business:
• The Council approved funding for the development and commercialization of a 5-kilowatt micro-CHP (combined heat and power) system, the CP5WN-SPB, from Yanmar Corp. The project entails product development and certification, durability testing, demonstration, and technical training. Like Yanmar’s 10-kilowatt micro-CHP system, now being demonstrated in five U.S. locations in an ongoing program funded by PERC, the 5-kilowatt system is designed for smaller commercial and larger residential applications.
• The Council authorized a program to deliver three two-day Industry Responders’ Conferences in partnership with three state propane gas associations. The conferences, held in partnership with state and regional propane gas associations, bring propane professionals and firefighters together to learn from one another about the various issues surrounding the safe response to incidents involving propane and propane autogas.
• A new rebate-funded commercialization program proposed by the New England Propane Foundation won Council approval. The Propane Technology Decision Maker Database and Communications Outreach project will create a database of municipal and state government fleet managers and fleet equipment buyers and share with them the latest news in propane research and development, safety, and training. Communications will focus on research results, technical fact sheets, and demonstration and incentive programs connected with forthcoming or newly commercialized products like school buses, trucks and vans, commercial mowers, agricultural equipment, and combined heat and power systems. Under the law that authorized the creation of PERC, the Council must rebate 20 percent of the assessments it collects to the state propane foundations or councils.

The Council approved the following funding requests:

Docket 17449 — Yanmar 5kW Micro Combined Heat and Power Development and Commercialization, $495,000
Docket 18004 — 2012 Propane Emergencies Activities, $110,450
Docket 18022 — Commercial Mower Incentive Program, $900,000
Docket 18063 — Interim Market Outreach and Communications Program for Second Quarter 2012, $648,848
Docket 18067 — 2012 Industry Communications, $290,000
Docket 18112 — NPGA Benchmarking Council, $50,000

The Council approved the following state rebate requests:

Docket 17571 — 2009 Propane Hedging & Risk Management Training Workshop, $20,913.35
Docket 18099 — New Propane Technology Decision Maker Database and Communications Outreach, $160,000

The Council will next meet July 11 and 12 in Napa, Calif.