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Whitecourt joining regional initiative to establish electric vehicle charging stations

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June 11, 2020 at 10:29 am - Home, Local News
By Erika Chorostil

The Town of Whitecourt has sent a letter of interest and support to participate as a regional collaborator in establishing a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.

The Northwest Alberta Electric Vehicle Charging Network is an initiative being launched by the Mayor and Council for the Town of Edson. They have sent letters inviting Whitecourt and other local areas to form a regional charging network with the hope of targeting grant funding. The proposal says a regional approach compared to a single community approach provides an opportunity to leverage significant funding opportunities for the project. It would also maximize the potential across the region while minimizing the risk and liability of any one community.

A case study found that the use of electric vehicles in the prairies is increasing, with growing ownership in Alberta, and electric vehicles on the roads are expected to reach 30% of the global market by 2030. A similar initiative was launched in Southern Alberta that resulted in 20 charging stations being installed along the Peaks to Prairies Network.

Phase one of the initiative is to form an advisory committee with a minimum of six municipalities contributing seed funding of $3,000 to $5,000 to establish a preliminary network, develop a proposal to support the project, explore grant funding programs for submission and prepare an application for the identified grant programs.

If moved forward, the collaborative project would potentially be eligible for alternative funding options to support the various phases. Future phases would be dependent on grant funding, eligibility, and private-public partnerships.

Whitecourt Town Council this week agreed to contribute up to $5,000 for seed money and to send a letter of support to join the network and proceed to phase one.

Whitecourt Mayor Maryann Chichak says having charging stations available in the community would bring people into Town and benefit local businesses.

Aside from Whitecourt and Edson, other interested core communities include Hinton, Yellowhead County, Grande Prairie, Drayton Valley, Greenview, and West Yellowhead Community Futures. A number of other municipalities are also currently being explored for partnerships.

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