Town hopes grants spark growth in EV charging stations
Published 12:28 pm, Friday, December 25, 2015
The town hopes to generate more electric-vehicle charging stations on private property locally through a state program.
Commercial property owners can now apply for funding to help pay for charging stations under the program recently launched by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
“By sponsoring the installation of an EV charging station, property owners can provide a valuable amenity for their environmentally conscious customers as well as make a highly meaningful, tangible statement about their own environmental awareness and concern,” First Selectman Michael Tetreau said in a statement announcing the grant. “The town of Fairfield encourages local commercial property owners to consider taking advantage of this opportunity.”
“For this grant grant opportunity, we’ve been doing outreach to specific businesses to try and target the biggest shopping centers in town,” said Scott Thompson, chairman of the town’s Clean Energy Task Force. “I’m excited to say we got our first nibble.”
Thompson said officials would particularly like to see charging stations installed in the Black Rock Turnpike corridor. “We’ve only got one on the east side of town at the Fairfield Woods Branch Library,” Thompson said, although another charging station is being installed at Fairfield Warde High School.
Most of the charging stations currently functioning in town are on municipal property — the Fairprene satellite parking lot, the Postol Recreation Center, the branch library, Sherman Green and Riverfield School, with others planned for Fairfield Ludlowe High School, the Tennis Center and South Benson Marina.
Thompson said charging stations on private property in town include Whole Foods Market and Miller Nissan.
DEEP is offering funding of up to $10,000 and plans to prioritize proposed installations available to the public at no cost, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in central locations underserved by EV chargers.
“The goal here is to raise awareness about the viability and affordability of electric vehicles,” Thompson said. He said there are about 20 different choices for electric vehicles on the market, and with federal and state incentives, they often end up being cheaper than gas-powered counterparts. “It’s not all Teslas,” Thompson said, referring to the high-end, electric-powered sports models.
In Fairfield, new chargers would be installed by ChargePoint, which operates the world’s largest EV charging network (www.chargepoint.com).
“Electric vehicles are reliable, safe, easy to maintain, fun to drive and, most importantly, far better for the environment than gas-powered vehicles,” Thompson said. “With the transportation sector the largest source of air pollution in Connecticut, EVs have strongly emerged as an effective way for individuals to cost-efficiently reduce their personal carbon footprint, but we need to make the benefits of EVs readily accessible to even more drivers.”
According to the DEEP, there are currently 23,000 publicly available charging stations nationwide and more than 300 in Connecticut.
Applicants for the state grants need to submit proposals by Jan. 7. More information about the program and application process is available at http://goo.gl/SjYYiI . Questions also can be directed to Fairfield’s Clean Energy Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org .