The Washington State Department of Commerce will award over $85 million in grants to expand access to electric vehicle charging stations, including two new stations coming to Birch Bay and Point Roberts.
The two stations are part of an effort by the commerce department and governor Jay Inslee to fund construction of nearly 5,000 EV stations across the state, focusing on nonprofits, electric utilities, public agencies and tribal nations. The new stations in north Whatcom County will be located at the site of the new Birch Bay Vogt Library Express and the Point Roberts Park and Recreation District 1 office.
Christine Perkins, executive director of Whatcom County Library System (WCLS), oversaw the application for EV stations at the future Birch Bay library, and the North Fork Library in Kendall. Perkins said WCLS has yet to announce a date for when construction will begin, but that the charging stations are a great opportunity for libraries to offer even more to the public.
“We’re really excited for the funding to allow us to install these charging stations,” Perkins said. “Libraries are the perfect location for public electric charging stations, and we’re excited to include them in our libraries.”
The main source of funding for the thousands of new EV stations is through the Washington State Electric Vehicle Charging Program, with other funding coming from the 2021 Climate Commitment Act, a cap-and-invest carbon reduction strategy with a goal of cutting the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 95 percent by 2050.
The Climate Commitment Act went into effect January 2023, and has already generated over $2 billion in revenue from charging industries that produce over 25,000 metric tons of CO2 per year, according to the state Department of Ecology.
The funding announced February 1 will build 4,710 Level 2 EV chargers with 5,362 individual plugs, and 271 direct current fast charges totaling 421 plugs. A level two charger typically charges a 300-mile range battery in about six to eight hours.
Inslee said the state originally expected 50,000 EVs on the road by 2020. Washington drivers wildly outpaced that prediction, with roughly 125,000 EVs, while charging infrastructure lagged behind.
“One of the most important ways we can make electric vehicles an option for more people is by providing more charging stations. More and more Washingtonians are choosing to go electric, to the point we now have the second highest rate of EV adoption in the nation,” Inslee said. “Thanks to the Climate Commitment Act and other climate investments by the legislature, thousands more people will be able to choose clean electric cars that are healthier for children and for our planet.”
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