Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today proclaimed September 28 -29 as National Plug-In Weekend, joining 95 other locations across the country to celebrate the benefits of electric vehicles and to raise awareness of the growing infrastructure of electric vehicle charging stations. The announcement coincides with the completion of the installation of 50 electric vehicle charging stations throughout Rhode Island. "Rhode Island is pleased to join this national celebration to highlight the economic and environmental benefits of electric vehicles," Governor Chafee said. "Our network of fifty electric vehicle charging stations will allow Rhode Islanders to charge their vehicles in locations where they shop, eat, recreate and conduct business. We are proud to be developing a clean transportation infrastructure for the future, keeping dollars that would have been spent on imported oil here in RI and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. In addition, I am proud that we are transitioning the State Fleet to low-emission hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles as well."
The State of Rhode Island electric vehicle charging stations are part of a larger network of charging stations in New England and Canada, which Governor Chafee initially unveiled in June 2013. The State has pledged to work with the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers to encourage use of electric vehicles and to develop a regional infrastructure for vehicle charging. When Governor Chafee announced Rhode Island's Electric Vehicle Initiative this past summer, he also directed his Director of Administration Richard Licht to implement a process through which State Agencies could use federal dollars to pay for the differential cost between an alternative fuel vehicle and a comparably sized gas-powered car. To date, 37 low-emission hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles have been ordered by the State.
"We want Rhode Islanders and visitors from across New England to be able to travel throughout the region with the confidence that they can charge their vehicles," Director of Administration Richard Licht explained. "We are proud to participate in this effort to transform our petroleum-based transportation system to one that reduces our dependence on foreign oil, promotes local jobs and is better for the environment." The completion of the charging station project is the culmination of a partnership between state and federal governments, private companies and local transportation groups. The Rhode Island Department of Administration's Office of Energy Resources awarded a more than $780,000 contract to site and install the charging stations to ChargePoint, the leading provider of networked public charging stations in the United States. The funds for the work came from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The stations were installed by local electric contractor DK Power and will be owned and maintained by National Grid, Rhode Island's largest utility and a pioneer in electric vehicle charging station deployment.
"Without the dedication of this team, our installers and our host sites this program would not have been so successful," said Timothy F. Horan, President, National Grid in Rhode Island. "It is partnerships like this that will ultimately make smarter, sustainable technologies like plug-in electric vehicles more accessible here and throughout the region."
"We are grateful that we were able to utilize federal dollars from the U.S. Department of Energy to improve our transportation sector in Rhode Island," stated Marion Gold, Commissioner of Energy for the State of Rhode Island. "It takes a strong public-private partnership to create a clean and efficient transportation future for our state and region."
Sites for the charging stations were selected by a team that included the Office of Energy Resources, ChargePoint, National Grid, the Rhode Island Ocean State Clean Cities Coalition and Project Get Ready. Many local businesses and restaurants signed up to receive an EV charging station and the EV charging locations are spread out across the entire state. The public will be able to charge their EVs for free at all private locations and, in addition, the public will be able to charge their EVs for free over the next year at the State's public locations. The State will be assessing the utilization of the public EV charging stations over the next year. The State's public EV charging station locations include: East Matunuck State Beach, Scarborough State Beach, Misquamicut State Beach, Salty Brine State Beach, Fisherman's Memorial State Park, Fort Adams State Park, Burlingame State Campground, Pulaski State Park, Blackstone Valley Visitor Center, and Colt State Park.
"I am proud of the fact that we have onsite renewable energy at six of the ten locations, which enables us to provide clean energy for the charging of the Electric Vehicle stations at many of our State beaches, parks and campgrounds," stated Janet Coit, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. "We have wind turbines at three of the locations and solar panels at six of the sites, which have allowed us to reduce our environmental footprint while simultaneously providing clean energy to the State and the public." "We are pleased to support Rhode Island's efforts in deploying these 50 charging stations which will help stimulate the demand for EVs in the state," said Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint CEO. "This deployment project was completed in record time and the stations are well distributed across the state to make charging convenient for drivers."
"This was a terrific team effort," said Wendy Lucht, Coordinator of Ocean State Clean Cities Coalition. "We all worked really hard to reach out to businesses and institutions to find hosts for the charging stations. In the end, we found 50 sites where the owners were excited to provide the charging service to their customers and staff." Project Get Ready RI Founder Al Dahlberg added, "These stations are in good locations spread throughout the state, encouraging more people to buy plug-in electric vehicles and take advantage of the fact that electricity is cheaper, cleaner and more secure than gasoline."
For more information plus a list of all of the charging sites in the state, please visit www.energy.ri.gov.