New Colorado grant program can help cover electric vehicle charger costs
Demand is growing for charging stations as more electric vehicles are sold
In the world of grants, there’s usually a lot more interest than money available. That seems to be the case with a new grant program for electric vehicle chargers.
The Colorado Energy Office recently announced $3 million in available funding for its “Charge Ahead” grant program. That program will cover up to 80% of the costs of installing new chargers in residential or public areas. There’s the potential of even greater matches for chargers for individuals who qualify by income or chargers in “disproportionately impacted” communities.
Martin Bonzi is with Clean Energy Economy for the Region, which works to improve energy efficiency, renewable energy and “clean transportation” to the Western Slope. Bonzi wrote in an email that the state’s Charge Ahead program is seeing between three and four times more demand than funding available.
Bonzi added that the priority right now is for multi-family housing, along with workplaces and areas without electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Bonzi added that most residential applicants are seeking funding for one or two stations, with some commercial areas asking for three or more stations.
Those stations can be somewhat costly. Bonzi wrote that the total cost of a Level 2 charger — one that would charge a vehicle overnight — can cost between $10,000 and $14,000. For a fast-charge Level 3 station, costs can range from $35,000 to $50,000. But, Bonzi added, costs for fast chargers can vary depending on existing electric infrastructure and the potential cost of upgrading that service.
A charging station at Edwards Station required upgrades to its service before it could open eight Tesla Supercharger stations and four universal chargers from the firm Electrify America.
Mike Steiner is the Key Accounts Specialist for Holy Cross Energy. That electric cooperative provides electricity to most of Eagle County, as well as all or portions of Pitkin, Garfield, Mesa and Gunnison counties.
Steiner said demand for charging stations is “huge” right now.
“It’s your neighbor, your (homeowners association), the local grocery store, the local airport” and other sites, Steiner said.
Steiner said in addition to residents and businesses, local towns and counties are also working to expand charging capacity. Eagle County is investigating where more chargers should be as part of its electric vehicle readiness plan. Steiner added that Vail, Avon and Gypsum are among the local towns expanding charging facilities.
Steiner noted that Gypsum has Level 3 chargers at its town hall and the public works facilities. In addition, the Shell station at Gypsum’s Interstate 70 interchange is also a Level 3 charger.
And, he added, “We’re getting calls from Vail Resorts about converting its fleet.”
Most home chargers use existing electric service, and can use the system’s existing excess from wind power at night and solar power in the day, Steiner said.
The load gets heavier with fast chargers, Steiner noted.
Overall, though, Steiner said Holy Cross has enough electricity and a robust enough system to handle much of the added demand.
“It depends where you are, but we’ve made some good decisions (in past decades), so a lot of our system is oversized,” he said.
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