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Article Published April 12, 2016
Electric Vehicle Charging Station Coming to Clinton

Thanks to a $7,043 grant from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Clinton will be getting its first electric vehicle charging station. The dual-head charging station will be installed in the rear parking lot of Andrews Memorial Town Hall, next to the gazebo, and must be operational by June 1.

Paul Gebauer, chairman of Clinton’s Energy Committee, applied for the funding under Connecticut’s Public Fleet EV and Public Workplace EV Charging Station Incentive Program. The grant, which covers the cost of the charging station and installation, stipulates that the service will be free to patrons for the first three years, after which the town can start charging for the use of the electricity. Gebauer estimates a cost of $.63 per hour for electricity and a two- to four-hour charging time for most vehicles.

“Our hope is that people will stop in Clinton to charge their cars and visit local establishments while they wait,” he said.

To offset electricity costs, Gebauer plans to engage a local stakeholder, such as a business or community organization, to pay for a sign displayed near the charging station that publicizes its support for Clinton’s EV transportation initiative and its own sustainable energy commitment.

As for how consumers know where to find EV charging stations, there’s an app for that. A number of mobile apps and maps provide directions to charging stations worldwide and allow drivers to track the charging status of their vehicles.

At its March 31 meeting, Clinton’s Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a motion to accept the DEEP grant. The motion was made by John Giannotti and seconded by Lynn Pinder.

An enthusiastic supporter of the project, Selectman Carol Walter told Gebauer, “I’ll second it, and third it, and fourth it.”

Through grants, rebates, and other incentives, DEEP has been encouraging the use of electric vehicles and supporting the development of EV infrastructure throughout the state, with a goal of having a charging station within a 10-minute drive of anywhere in the state. The agency particularly encourages installation of EV charging stations with free 24-hour access at major traffic generators, downtown areas, and other central destinations.

In a letter addressed to First Selectman Bruce Farmer, DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee wrote, “I applaud your foresight in recognizing that the widespread use of EVs in Connecticut is fast approaching, and increasing the number of charging stations across the state makes possible the reliable and consistent use of EVs. Your choice to be a part of our state’s continued expansion of its charging network demonstrates that local governments are leading by example and playing a significant role in meeting Connecticut’s energy and environmental goals. Our efforts today will have a significant impact on reducing emissions from our transportation sector and enhancing air quality now and well into the future.”

Department of Public Works Director Peter Neff will prepare the site for installation, and Chuck Bernier of Acorn Bernier Electric will handle the electrical work.

“Chuck is very civic-minded and doing the job pretty much at cost,” said Gebauer. “He’s really given Clinton the hometown discount.”

According to Jennifer Reilly of DEEP’s Bureau of Air Management Planning & Standards Division, as of February 2016 Connecticut has approximately 231 publicly accessible EV chargers, with a total of 475 charging plugs and a network that continues to grow. Nearby towns with EV charging stations include Guilford (behind the town hall), Madison (behind the Madison Art Cinemas), and Old Saybrook (in the Big Y parking lot).