Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Funding for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Announced at Electric Vehicle Summit, funds for up to 100 charging stations available for application from communities across Massachusetts
Applications were on hand for municipal officials to pick up at today's Electric Vehicle Summit and Workshop at UMass Lowell, and will be posted on DOER's website tomorrow. A total of $200,000 is available through a settlement obtained by Attorney General Martha Coakley's office and seven other states and the US Department of Justice in 2007 for alleged pollution control equipment violations at 11 electric power plants operated by Ohio-based American Electric Power Service Corp. or its affiliates. These funds will pay for installation of 80 to 100 electric vehicle charging stations - potentially more if private sector partners (such as mall, garage, hotel or parking lot owners) hosting the equipment provide matching funds.
In awarding the funds, DOER will give preference to the Commonwealth's 35 recently designated Green Communities , but all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns are eligible to apply for the funding.
"Electric vehicle technology is a significant way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand our clean energy economy, but it will only be adopted by consumers if there are places where vehicles can be re-charged away from home," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles, who delivered a keynote address at today's summit. "This pilot program is a critical step in helping our communities and citizens prepare for the entry of electric vehicles to the Massachusetts market in 2011."
Sponsored by EEA, DOER, UMass Lowell and the US Department of Energy-funded Massachusetts Clean Cities Coalition, the Electric Vehicle Summit and Workshop drew nearly 200 participants, including auto makers, charging station manufacturers, electrical unions, municipal officials, and environmental organizations for a day of panels and talks on topics related to promoting zero and low emission electric vehicle use in Massachusetts. The summit featured workshops on topics such as vehicles and batteries, infrastructure installation, safety and permitting, and sustainability. Participants also had opportunities to ride and drive in a variety of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on site.
"UMass Lowell has made great strides recently implementing energy conservation measures and switching to renewable energy sources. We are pleased to help the state's Energy and Environment Office get the word out about electric vehicles by cosponsoring this summit," UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan said.
Today's summit and the Secretary's announcement are the latest in a continuum of steps Massachusetts is taking to ensure its place as a national leader in electric vehicle technology, which produces zero emissions at the tailpipe. In February, DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice signed an agreement with Nissan North America, Inc., under which DOER and the auto maker are working together to examine roadblocks to and opportunities for promoting the use of electric vehicles in Massachusetts in advance of sales of Nissan's all-electric LEAF in the Commonwealth next year. An electric vehicle working group convened by EEA is also in discussions with other electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle manufacturers regarding pilot testing pre-commercial vehicles, including trucks and small vans.
"Embracing electric vehicle technology is a vital step as the Commonwealth continues to explore all options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with our transportation sector," Commissioner Giudice said. "DOER looks forward to helping communities fund the infrastructure needed to make this technology a viable alternative for residents in all corners of the state."
Engaging regularly with electric vehicle stakeholders, EEA's working group is at the heart of a Patrick-Murray administration push for development and deployment of affordable, practical vehicles that will reduce driving costs for consumers, lower our dependence on fossil fuel, and improve the environment. Advances in automotive and battery technology, smart grid innovations, renewable energy, and charging infrastructure will unleash the next generation of cleaner cars, and Massachusetts can be at the cutting edge of this vital sector in the clean energy economy.
Exploring wider use of clean energy technologies such as electric cars supports the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to developing a regional low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), the top recommendation of the Advanced Biofuels Task Force appointed by Governor Patrick and legislative leaders in 2007. A LCFS is a market-based, technology-neutral policy that sets limits on greenhouse gas emissions without mandating specific fuel content - allowing the market to drive the development of alternative fuels and technologies at the lowest cost. California was the first state to commit to a LCFS for motor vehicles, which it is now in the process of developing. In December, Governor Patrick and governors of 10 other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states signed an agreement committing their states to continued participation in an effort to develop a regional LCFS.
Through DOER's Leading by Example program, the Commonwealth also supports the conversion of a limited number of hybrid vehicles to electric plug-in technology for use by state agencies. The first of these vehicles has been in use by EEA since 2008.