Woodbine is set be home to the county’s first compressed natural gas station following the Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority’s authorization of a lease agreement at its meeting last month.

The public station will be run by Clean Energy Corporation and will be located in the MUA’s Sanitary Landfill Complex on Dennisville-Petersburg Road. It will be completed by December.

“If anybody should be spearheading a good environmental cause, it should be us,” said John Baron, deputy director of the MUA. “Compressed natural gas (in Cape May Count) is finally coming to fruition.”

Compressed natural gas is an alternative to gasoline made by compressing natural gas to less than one percent of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. It is made mostly of methane and costs about half as much as gasoline while producing dramatically fewer pollutants.

Woodbine Mayor William Pikolycky began discussions with South Jersey Gas about two years ago. He facilitated talks between the utility company and the MUA, which administers the land on which it will be built. The MUA solicited bids last year on the project, and Clean Energy Corporation was the sole bidder and winner by default.

The location is ideally suited for a compressed natural gas station because Woodbine-based Blue Diamond Disposal, which services the landfill, has converted a portion of its fleet to run on compressed natural gas. Pikolycky said Sea Isle Ice and Rio Grande-based contractor South State, Inc. have also indicated interest in switching their vehicles to compressed natural gas. And now that general consumers will have easy access to fuel, it could lead to an increased number of CNG vehicles sold to individuals.

The lease is for a term of 15 years and includes an option to renew for an additional five years. The MUA is to be paid $1,000 per month by Clean Energy Corporation and will also receive a small royalty per gallon sold, which is estimated to be about $1,400 per month. The MUA could also see additional funds should the federal government re-enact the Fuel Tax Credit, and its vehicles will see a 10 percent reduction on fuel prices.

Construction of the project is expected to cost between $2 million and $2.5 million. Pikolycky said he believes it will bring Woodbine about $20,000 per year in property taxes.

Clean Energy Corporation currently operates compressed natural gas stations in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City and Glassboro.

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Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.