Powering Strong Communities

North Carolina public power communities win $120,000 in EV charging awards

North Carolina public power utilities are among the recipients of $422,000 in awards for Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations awarded earlier this month by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) as part of the North Carolina Volkswagen Mitigation Settlement Program.

A total of $120,000, or about 28 percent of the settlement awards, went to public power utilities, including $64,000 to the cities of Albemarle and High Point and the Town of Apex for 14 electric vehicle charging ports. Another $56,000 in awards went to public power communities as a result of applications made either by private industry or state governments in Forest City, Selma, and Smithfield. Those awards will fund another 14 electric vehicle charging ports.

“ElectriCities public power members have a strong track record of paving the way for electric vehicle technology and other sustainable energy options in their local communities,” Phil Bisesi, supervisor of residential energy services for ElectriCities, said in a statement.

In 2016, a federal judge approved a partial settlement with Volkswagen in the automakers emissions cheating scandal. As part of the settlement, VW was ordered to invest $2 billion over 10 years in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and in the promotion of zero-emission electric vehicles. The settlement also included $2.7 billion over three years for an environmental trust to remediate the illegal levels of nitrogen oxides emitted by the VW vehicles.

There were $1.6 million in requests submitted for $1.1 million made available so far for the Level 2 EV Infrastructure Grant Program. North Carolina’s DEQ anticipates additional Level 2 charging station funds will become available in Phase 2 of the Volkswagen Mitigation Settlement Program.

In July, North Carolina passed a bill to appropriate $30.6 million from the Volkswagen Litigation Environmental Mitigation Fund to DEQ for, among other initiatives, diesel bus and vehicle replacements or upgrades and zero-emissions vehicle infrastructure, including DC fast charging stations. Five ElectriCities member cities – Kinston, Lexington, Morganton, New Bern, and Wilson – were among the award winners in the initial round of fast charging station awards.

Separately, ElectriCities offers EV Strategic Plan matching grants to power agency members and has already developed plans for Apex, Shelby, and Wake Forest that provide those communities with a road map for managing new electric loads and promoting the benefits of electric vehicles.

There are already more than 120 electric vehicle charging stations in public power communities in North Carolina. The energy supplies of the 19 ElectriCities member communities that comprise the North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1 (NCMPA1) are already at least 95% carbon dioxide free and some of those communities have 100% net-carbon-free energy.

The 32 member communities that make up the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) receive power from Duke Energy Progress, which has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than 40 percent since 2005.

The American Public Power Association offers a variety of resources for members related to EVs.

APPA recently released a report that explores EV rates for public power.