By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — Drivers who do or plan to use electric vehicles may soon be able to charge their cars at Naugatuck High School.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses unanimously approved a motion at its Oct. 4 meeting to allow Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess to apply for a Department of Energy and Environmental Protection ZEV Infrastructure Project Grant for two electric charging stations to be installed at the borough high school.
DEEP is making up to $4 million available in the first round of electric vehicle supply equipment funding.
This includes $3 million for EVSE project grants to fund municipal and state government EVSE infrastructure, according to the DEEP website.
Advanced Energy Efficiencies managing partner and borough energy consultant Gary Hale said his thought while working with borough officials is to make Naugatuck more sustainable.
There would be no out of pocket cost for the borough, Hale added.
“There would be, under the state’s program, the incentives and whatever financing we would get would be to create initially two charging stations working with the school board in the high school, somewhere, since that has the most traffic and I believe the largest staff population in school system,” Hale said.
Hale said it would be a first case, experimental trial to see if there’s some adoption that people might want to make use of it as well as being a convenience for the teaching staff and visiting parents who would want to make use of it if they were to have an electric vehicle.
“When we send a survey out to the school staff in each of these schools, the response to the question would you consider purchasing or leasing an electric vehicle if there were charging available either at your work or home and the response is overwhelmingly yes, greater than I thought it might have been,” Hale said.
Hale said people would pay a fee to charge their electric vehicles.
Deputy Mayor Robert A. Neth asked if the charging units would be installed on the Board of Education side or on the school’s side.
Hale said the charging stations would be placed in a way that would not interfere with educational activities but the details would be worked out if they received the grant.
Burgess Rocky Vitale said borough officials previously spoke about installing electric vehicle charging stations during the Robert A. Mezzo administration, but ended up not going through with it because officials couldn’t get a guarantee that there would be no cost to the borough.
“The purchase of electric vehicles relative to the fleet of vehicles that Americans purchase every year is just under 5% now,” Hale said. “It’s expected to be by 2030, somewhere in the neighborhood of 35% to 40%.”
Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said it’s part of the plan to install charging stations when the train station is eventually relocated.
The Beacon Falls Board of Selectmen decided last month to apply for the same grant as well to upgrade their existing charging station and electric infrastructure at the commuter parking lot at 107 North Main St.