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.
I commend the Town of Naugatuck for its future looking decision on EV Technology. I question their decision to initially identify the high school as the location for installing what the article mentions is a “trial” approach.
Two EV stations will allow for a total of four (4) ports meaning four vehicles charging at a time. Great start, but I believe managing this is the challenge. Who will be allowed to use this location? School grounds in recent history have become out-of-bounds to the general public for security reasons. This decision assumes that both the administration and students are the targeted audience. What happens if a resident, who does not have business at the school attempts to plug in? What access will be allowed with or without school being in session? Does the Town and School System understand the additional infrastructure needed to support EV Stations? EV requires approximately 40-amp service per port or in this case 200-amp service to the installed along with the parking space(s). Do you install Level 2 or Level 3 (a.k.a DC Fast Charging Stations)?
I agree that EV charging stations will be the norm as we move into the next decades. All new building projects probably will require EV Stations to be installed just as handicap parking is required today. Will the State of CT step up and provide the incentives so the electric grid be upgraded to handle the high demand EV will place on that grid? Will future EV legislation force all handicap parking to have EV Stations, in addition to regular spaces? Too many unknowns.
There is much to consider in the decisions both Beacon Falls and Naugatuck are making. EV is the future and municipalities need to prepare for it. Good luck to us both.