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Four EV charging stations added at Batavia businesses

The city of Batavia last week marked the installation of four new electric vehicle charging stations. City officials were joined by community leaders and representatives of National Grid to commemorate the installation that was made possible by National Grid’s Make-Ready Electric Vehicle program, which funds electricity infrastructure costs associated with new EV charging stations for its upstate electric business customers.

“The Genesee County Chamber of Commerce is proud to promote, support and connect our local business and tourism communities. We believe passionately in collaborations that enhance our abilities to live, work and play in Genesee County,” said Chamber President Erik Fix. “We are grateful for our partnership with National Grid and the BID (Business Improvement District) and appreciate them working together to bring EV car charging stations to downtown Batavia.”

National Grid’s program covered more than 90 percent of the infrastructure costs to install the charging stations, which includes two at Mancuso Bowling Center and two at the City Church.

“The Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District board of directors was excited to pursue this project and are thrilled to see four EV charging locations within our downtown,” said BID Executive Director Beth Kemp in a statement. “We would not have been able to move forward with these progressive additions to our downtown without the assistance of National Grid, NYSERDA, Rick Mancuso and Marty Macdonald. Thank you to all partners involved.”

National Grid’s EV charging program is available for businesses, multi-unit residential buildings and retail stores, as well as parks and vacation destinations. The company also offers a program for companies looking to electrify their fleets, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and meet the decarbonization goals of the states where the utility operates, officials said.

“Electric vehicle adoption is on the rise in New York state, and EV charging stations are a great way to attract employees and also a great way to attract and retain new customers,” said Paul Gister, customer and community engagement manager for National Grid.

Gister also said that EV charging stations have become more popular among landlords seeking to attract and retain tenants, as well as help the state achieve its energy targets.

“These programs include incentives for customers who have an eye on the future, who support clean energy initiatives and are providing a necessity for the vehicles that will take us there,” Gister added. “Initiatives like these are at the heart of how we collaborate with customers and significantly impact our communities and community partners. These kinds of collaborations are central to our Project C Initiative, which was created to inspire change and create a more equitable future for our customers and communities.”

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New program to address EV charging station costs

The New York State Department of Public Service is putting its support behind electric vehicles.

A new report from the department recommends the establishment of a statewide utility-support “Make-Ready” program that would provide incentives to light-duty electric vehicle supply equipment and infrastructure for both Level 2 and Direct Current Fast Charger (DCFC) stations statewide.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is on board.

“Accelerating electric vehicle ownership is a key component of New York’s nation-leading plan to fight climate change and grow our clean energy economy,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The Make-Ready initiative will direct the state’s utilities to build the grid infrastructure needed to enable the installation of publicly accessible chargers, encouraging more New Yorkers to choose electric vehicles while creating jobs and ensuring our energy dollars stay in-state.”

The Make-Ready program would improve electric vehicle charging station economics by covering up to 90 percent of the costs to “make ready” a site for EV charging. The costs associated with building EV charging stations present barriers for developers.

Cuomo noted that more than 20,000 rebates have been approved for New Yorkers to buy electric cars under the Drive Clean Rebate initiative, which provides residents with a rebate of up to $2,000 to purchase an EV from participating dealers. In the Finger Lakes Region, nearly 2,100 applications have been received since the rebate initiative began. One-third of all applications statewide were in Long Island.

But while scores of New York drivers embrace the EV driving experience, nationwide last year some 325,000 plug-in passenger vehicles were sold, down nearly 7 percent from 2018, Edmunds reports. That represents just 2 percent of the total number of new vehicles sold nationwide last year.

Experts say the biggest reasons for the lack of enthusiasm toward EVs are cost and range anxiety. Some of that anxiety could be relieved with the state’s new Make-Ready program.

The Department of Public Service report suggests a number of actions to leverage the utilities’ expertise and unique position to promote zero-emission vehicle adoption. The Public Service Commission already has approved initiatives including residential time-of-use rates for charging and annual per-plug incentives to buy down the cost of installing publicly accessible direct current fast charger stations.

The Make-Ready program would run through 2025 to coincide with New York’s goal of deploying 850,000 zero-emission vehicles by the end of that year. The report proposes that utilities be required to incorporate EV charging scenarios into their annual capital planning processes to encourage “thoughtful siting” of charging infrastructure.

The charging infrastructure is estimated to provide New Yorkers with more than $2.6 billion in net benefits, according to the report. Fast-charger stations developed in the first year of the program are expected to have positive financial returns for all regions and site configurations, except for the larger 150 kW stations in Upstate New York. The report recommends that each region in upstate be eligible for additional incentives to make four or more fast-charging locations available in every region.

“The energy system of the future and the transportation system of the future need electric vehicles,” said Department of Public Service CEO John Rhodes. “This report proposes smart, forward-looking utility investments that are good for both electric customers and for car owners, and that accelerate Gov. Cuomo’s clean energy and clean transportation strategy.”

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City combating climate change through electric vehicle usage

The City of Rochester will purchase seven new electric vehicles for its fleet and install six new charging stations. (Photo provided)
The City of Rochester will purchase seven new electric vehicles for its fleet and install six new charging stations. (Photo provided)

The City of Rochester will take extra steps to combat climate change by expanding its electric vehicle fleet and installing more public charging stations.

The city received nearly $100,000 in state funding through the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Municipal Zero-Emission Vehicle & ZEV Infrastructure Rebate Program to install six dual-port charging stations in area parking garages and lots, officials said last week. The New York Power Authority contracted the installation work as part of its EV charging station program.

It was previously announced that Mayor Lovely Warren had joined a purchasing collaborative with mayors across the country to help add more electric vehicles to the city’s fleet. The Mayors National Climate Action Agenda will enable the city to purchase additional EVs. Warren is one of  several hundred coalition members who have pledged to work together to reduce greenhouse gases.

The new electric vehicles will triple the city’s fleet of EVs, officials said. They were funded with assistance from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Cleaner Greener Communities program.

“When President Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord last year I made a promise alongside other mayors across the country: If the federal government wouldn’t do something about climate change, we would,” Warren said in a statement. “I would like to thank Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NYSERDA and our other partners in state government for helping our city invest in new electric vehicles and infrastructure.”

The new EVs include two 2018 Chevrolet Bolts, four 2018 Chevrolet Volts and one Moto Electric tram shuttle. The vehicles will be used by the Water Bureau, the Municipal Parking Bureau, Mt. Hope Cemetery and the city shared vehicle pool. The EVs join the city’s four 2014 Volts used by the Rochester Police Department and the Water and Parking bureaus.

“By working together—across all levels of government—we can fight climate change and preserve our planet for generations to come,” Warren said.

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Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer