N.Y. aims to spur EV charging station development

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In its effort to make electric vehicles an attractive option, New York has upped its game with a Make-Ready program to promote responsible charging station deployment. The program, which will run through 2025, is line with the state’s goal of deploying 850,000 zero-emission vehicles by the end of that year.

Already, the state has approved more than 20,000 rebates, totaling $29 million, for residents to buy electric cars under the Drive Clean Rebate initiative. Only 2,085 Finger Lakes residents, or 10 percent, have applied for these rebates. Long Island led the charge, with 33 percent or 6,866 applications.

A recent report issued by the state Department of Public Service made the recommendation for these stations, to create an infrastructure that is deemed essential to support the growing use of electric cars.

“Accelerating electric vehicle ownership is a key component of New York’s nation-leading plan to fight climate change and grow our clean energy economy,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said while announcing the program. “The Make-Ready initiative will direct the state’s utilities to build the grid infrastructure needed to enable the installation of publicly accessible chargers, encouraging more New Yorkers to choose electric vehicles while creating jobs and ensuring our energy dollars stay in-state.”

The report recommends that the Public Service Commission direct the state’s major electric utilities to build the grid infrastructure necessary for the installation of publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations. It suggests leveraging the expertise of these utility providers to promote zero-emission vehicle adoption. 

These providers, the report proposes, should be required to include the electric vehicle charging scenarios into their capital planning processes, which will encourage proper siting of charging infrastructure. This approach is estimated to provide New Yorkers with more than $2.6 billion in net benefits, state officials say. It also is expected to support reduced installation costs, improved site host acceptance and maximized use by drivers. 

Such a charging forecast would mean electric utilities will need to identify suitable locations. This could be enabled by using common criteria with an eye toward maximizing the use of these stations, the report suggests.  

Fast-charger EV stations developed in the first year of the Make-Ready program are expected to have positive financial returns for all regions and site configurations, except for the larger 150 kW stations located in Upstate New York, officials say. The report recommends that each region in Upstate New York be eligible for additional incentives to make four or more fast-charging locations available in every region.

Though New York isn’t the only state pushing adoption of electric vehicles—California, New Jersey and others have as well—New York’s moves haven’t gone unnoticed. Reports laud the state’s efforts, reiterating the need for collaboration with utility providers, beyond automakers, to prompt consumers to consider zero-emission cars. 

Since 2013, New York has installed roughly 4,000 charging stations and more than 45,000 electric vehicles have been purchased during that period, the state says.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor.

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