Many consumers are intrigued by the impressive savings offered by electric vehicles, but worry about finding places to charge them while away from home.
Clark Public Utilities is committed to helping make those worries a thing of the past by supporting the development of publicly available charging infrastructure at nonprofit and municipal properties.
“When the utility team developed the Transportation Electrification Plan in early 2021 we knew there were a variety of barriers to EV adoption that we could assist in overcoming,” said Matt Babbitts, energy resources program manager with Clark Public Utilities. “We created the EV grant program as a solution to what we observed as a perceived lack of publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure. It’s been very exciting to see so many local organizations take advantage of the program.”
The Transportation Electrification Plan the Clark Public Utilities Commissioners adopted in the spring of 2021 created a variety of EV and EV charger rebate programs for residential and business customers. At the same time, it created a grant program for its government agency, municipal and nonprofit customers. Supporting those customers would not only help support those organizations as they converted their fleet to EVs, but those chargers also increase the accessibility of charging points for members of the public.
“We believe the EV grant program is an investment in paving the way for broad future EV adoption in Clark County,” Babbitts said. “Electrifying the transportation sector not only will benefit individual EV drivers, but it will immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the local air quality.”
The EV grant program offers $200,000 per year for local projects. It is structured to cover up to 50 percent of the project costs such as EV charger procurement costs, applicable construction costs and electric infrastructure upgrade costs. But the grants are only available for projects that either include new publicly accessible chargers or a transportation electrification effort that provides value for our community. That final point can take several forms.
In the first two years, several organizations have embraced EV chargers.
In 2021, Waste Connections used the grant to cover half of the charging infrastructure costs for their new all electric garbage truck.
Last year, several organizations followed suit. C-Tran was awarded a $100,000 grant to cover about 10 percent of their DC fast-charger infrastructure to support their new fleet of electric buses.
PeaceHealth used a grant to cover half of the costs of new Level II EV chargers in one of their hospital’s parking lots. Those are available for public use. The Port of Camas Washougal was awarded a grant for 50 percent of the costs to install a public EV charger at the port administrative office.
The city of Ridgefield was then awarded a grant to cover half of the costs to install the community’s first public EV charger.
This year, the utility is hoping to see many more organizations apply for grants.
“We only have one potential project in the pipeline, so anybody interested in shoring up their organization’s EV charging infrastructure should contact their key accounts manager,” Babbitts said. “Grants are ready and available.”
Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98668.