Submitting Project Ideas for the Clean Cities National Parks Initiative

Image of Clean Cities and National Park Service logos.
Photo of several bison walking across a road, with evergreen trees in the background.

Eligible Recipients

The following NPS units are eligible to submit project ideas under this initiative:

  • Battlefields
  • Cemeteries
  • Historic Sites
  • Historical Parks
  • Monuments
  • Memorials
  • Lakeshores
  • Parks
  • Parkways
  • Preserves
  • Rivers
  • Recreation Areas
  • Seashores
  • Trails

Find NPS units in your state on the National Park Service website.

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Clean Cities program and the U.S. Department of Interior's National Park Service (NPS) are accepting proposals for transportation-related projects that use renewable and alternative fuels, electric-drive and advanced vehicles, and other technologies and practices that reduce petroleum use and benefit air quality. Projects implemented through this initiative will help NPS reduce noise, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and dependence on petroleum fuels. See a map and description of current projects.


The objectives of the initiative are to reduce petroleum consumption and vehicle emissions and to educate park visitors so that they might adopt similar practices while visiting the park and when they return home.


By partnering with Clean Cities and its nationwide network of coalitions, NPS units will enhance their relationships with surrounding communities, receive technical assistance, take advantage of training opportunities, and gain access to valuable education and outreach materials. Clean Cities coalitions interested in partnering with an NPS unit can access coalition-specific guidance on the Clean Cities SharePoint website.

Application Process

Eligible applicants include NPS units and Clean Cities coalitions only. However, other stakeholders and partners may work with NPS and Clean Cities to form project teams. Interested parties should contact Clean Cities coordinators with project ideas to explore feasibility. Individual NPS units are encouraged to work with Clean Cities coalitions during the project-development process.

Step 1: Submit the one-page Project Idea Short Form, explaining the basic concept, approach, potential partners, and benefits of your project, to Andrew Hudgins at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Step 2: If your idea is selected for further consideration, you will be asked to submit an in-depth project proposal. Proposals should not exceed seven pages and must be submitted electronically to Andrew Hudgins. Proposals are accepted on a biannual basis. Funding requests should not exceed $250,000. The next proposal deadline is May 31, 2016.

Proposals must contain all elements outlined in the Project Proposal Template. Applicants must also complete and submit the Proposed Project Analysis Workbook.

NREL and DOE will work with the submitting NPS unit and Clean Cities coalition to refine and enhance the project proposal before sending it to NPS and DOE for final consideration.

Eligible Projects

The following types of projects will be considered:

  • Acquisition and deployment of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and advanced technology vehicles in NPS-owned fleets. Activities that include developing plans and park-specific feasibility studies resulting in the deployment of AFVs in NPS units will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Note that concessionaire-owned vehicles are not eligible for funding through this initiative.
  • Technical assistance, planning, and implementation efforts for fueling infrastructure.
  • Transportation-specific action items contained in Climate Friendly Parks Climate Action Plans, the NPS Green Parks Plan, or individual NPS unit Environmental Management Programs.
  • Idle-reduction programs.
  • Public education related to the use of these technologies and best practices in the parks, including printed materials, signage, and other forms of outreach.
  • Training for park employees, interpreters, or support service partners.

Applicants can find additional guidance and background on fleet-related best practices in Clean Cities National Parks Initiative Project Considerations.

Eligible Vehicles

  • Light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles using alternative fuels authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 that will be owned by the NPS unit.
  • Advanced technology vehicles, including hybrid electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, neighborhood electric vehicles (only if replacing a full-size, on-road vehicle), and hydraulic hybrid vehicles that will be owned by the NPS unit.
  • E85-capable flexible fuel vehicles will be considered on a case-by-case basis if the applicant can ensure E85 will be used by these vehicles at all times. Similarly, vehicles capable of running on biodiesel will also be considered on a case-by-case basis if the applicant can ensure blends of B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel) or higher will be used by the vehicles at all times.
  • Alternative fuel off-road and utility vehicles, such as lawnmowers or forklifts, will be considered if they replace vehicles powered by petroleum-based fuels.
  • Some purpose-built vehicles powered by alternative fuels that provide a specific NPS support service may be considered. (Applicants must provide a thorough description of the vehicle in the Project Idea Short Form to determine eligibility.)

All vehicles acquired under this initiative must replace an existing conventional gasoline or diesel vehicle. Vehicles and vehicle conversion systems must be compliant with applicable emissions and safety regulations (EPA, CARB, DOT-FMVSS, etc.).

**Please note that NPS prohibits motor vehicle "wraps." All DOE and NPS logos affixed to motor vehicles or associated infrastructure must be in compliance with Memorandum Concerning the Waiver of Director's Order #21 (available upon request). The Clean Cities logos referenced in the waiver can be found on the Clean Cities Logos, Maps, and Photographs page.

Eligible Alternative Fueling Infrastructure

  • New alternative fueling or electric charging facilities or additional equipment or upgrades and improvements to existing fueling or charging sites. Fueling infrastructure projects can only dispense EPAct-authorized alternative fuels.
  • Purchase of fueling equipment or specific turn-key fueling services by alternative fuel providers. Infrastructure projects must dispense fuel into vehicles onsite to be considered.
  • Facility upgrades or building modifications necessary to accommodate alternative fuels for fleet garages and other maintenance or service centers.
  • Projects may be proposed that include multiple fuel types, such as electricity and hydrogen, propane and biodiesel, or E85 and natural gas at the same location or in different locations.
  • Extra consideration will be given if proposed fueling facilities are to be shared, openly accessible to multiple fleets, or accessible to the public and local partners.
  • Fueling and charging equipment must be safety certified by Underwriters Laboratories or the equivalent and meet appropriate building and construction codes.

Ineligible Vehicles and Activities

  • Nonfuel system vehicle upgrades, such as transmissions and exhaust systems
  • Marine applications and locomotives
  • Fuel additives, lubricants, and conditioners
  • Golf carts, experimental vehicles, and novelty vehicles
  • Bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways
  • Parking facilities (except where they provide access to electric vehicle charging or alternative fueling infrastructure or preferential parking for these vehicles).
  • Purchase and installation of solar panels
  • Implementation of new transit-related projects
  • Research and development projects
  • Direct funding to NPS concessionaires
  • Vehicles wraps