NODC seeks grant for electric vehicle charging stations; Clallam board considers letter of support

PORT ANGELES — The North Olympic Development Council is seeking a state grant to install a series of electric vehicle charging stations around the Olympic Peninsula, Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias said this week.

The state Department of Transportation grant would help fund a series of fast-chargers on the U.S Highway 101-U.S. Highway 12 corridor in a loop around Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor and Mason counties.

“It’s really kind of a great opportunity to take advantage of some private investment from a company called ABM that is interested in working with many of the partners to install these charging stations,” said Ozias, president of the North Olympic Development Council, in the county commissioners’ meeting Tuesday.

“The organization felt that the effort would not only support citizens who want to drive electric vehicles but also certainly promote tourism, and it would be one element to help address climate change.

“There just really seemed to be a lot of positives,” Ozias added, “and there’s a lot of interest from around the Peninsula.”

First-year Jefferson County Public Utility District Commissioner Jeff Randall promoted the charging station concept as a member of the North Olympic Development Council, Ozias said.

The grant application to Transportation is due in May, with a decision expected in June.

“If it’s successful, then we would expect likely construction of the charging stations in 2018,” Ozias said.

Meanwhile, Clallam County commissioners will consider next Tuesday a letter to Transportation supporting efforts to “electrify” the U.S. Highway 101-12 corridor around the Olympic Peninsula.

The state’s Innovative Partnerships pilot program would place electric vehicle fast-chargers at roughly 40-mile intervals along the corridor.

“The installation of EV [electric vehicle] charging stations would not only provide access for the growing electric vehicle market in Washington state, but also would encourage urban EV owners to venture out into our rural communities, in turn promoting tourism and helping to build local economies around Western Washington,” the draft letter says.

“The coordination between the various local governments, public utilities, private businesses, nonprofits and tribal governments that are supporting the electrification of over 350 miles of the scenic highways serving the Olympic Peninsula is impressive.

“We also appreciate the collaboration between these local organizations and a national company [ABM] which specializes in the installation of electric vehicle fast chargers and brings valuable private matching dollars to help offset the public costs of this program.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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