Washington State Invests $85 Million in EV Charging Infrastructure
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Washington State Invests $85 Million in EV Charging Infrastructure

Washington State Invests 85 Million in EV Charging Infrastructure
  • Washington State’s investment in EV charging stations prioritizes communities with limited resources.
  • The initiative not only expands charging infrastructure but also creates jobs in the electrical industry.
  • Organizations like Women of Wisdom Tri-Cities and United Hub are empowered to address emission issues and increase EV awareness.

Washington State has announced a landmark investment to promote sustainable transportation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Jay Inslee and Mike Fong, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, revealed that over $85 million in grants have been awarded to nonprofits, electric utilities, tribes, and public agencies, supporting the installation of nearly 5,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the state. This significant investment is a key step towards reducing transportation-related emissions and expanding access to electric vehicles.


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A Push for Accessibility and Equity

The new charging stations will be strategically placed throughout Washington to ensure communities with limited resources or those heavily impacted by pollution can benefit. This approach supports the state’s ongoing efforts to address climate change and promote clean energy alternatives.

“One of the most important ways we can make electric vehicles an option for more people is by providing more charging stations. More and more Washingtonians are choosing to go electric, to the point we now have the second highest rate of EV adoption in the nation,” said Governor Inslee. “Thanks to the Climate Commitment Act and other climate investments by the Legislature, thousands more people will be able to choose clean electric cars that are healthier for children and for our planet.”

Mike Fong echoed these sentiments, highlighting the commitment to ensuring that the benefits of decarbonizing Washington’s economy reach everyone. “The process for awarding these EV charging grants prioritized projects that add chargers in multifamily housing, publicly accessible locations, and in communities highly vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution,” he said.


Enhancing Communities

One recipient, Women of Wisdom (WOW) Tri-Cities, has developed an EV carshare program aimed at providing transportation options for people in low-mobility areas. The program also increases awareness of EVs in rural communities, serving Yakima, College Place, and Walla Walla with three public charging sites.


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“WOW Carshare program is a visionary initiative that tackles emission issues head-on while also addressing the critical EV charging demand,” said Chauné Fitzgerald, founder and CEO of WOW Tri-Cities. “By bridging the gap of resources, WOW Care not only helps reduce emissions but also empowers communities that have historically been marginalized, creating a more inclusive and equitable future for all.”


Infrastructure Expansion and Job Growth

The grants, part of the Washington State EV Charging Program, are the first phase of funding to expand EV infrastructure. This funding will support the installation of 4,710 Level 2 EV chargers with 5,362 individual charging plugs and 271 direct current (DC) fast chargers with 420 plugs. Level 2 chargers provide 10-20 miles of charge per hour, making them ideal for overnight charging, while DC fast chargers can recharge a 300-mile range battery up to 80% in just 20 minutes, serving as crucial range extenders for longer journeys.

These projects will also create good jobs across Washington. Matthew A. Hepner, executive director of Certified Electrical Workers of Washington, stressed the importance of this support, stating, “Work is slow in the electrical industry right now, these jobs are a lifeline, for both our members and the environment. It’s a good day when you can pay the rent and do something to fight climate change.”


Empowering Future Projects

United Hub, a community-based organization focused on increasing homeownership for communities of color, will use the funds to support charging infrastructure in multifamily properties in King County.

“With the Department of Commerce’s support, United Hub is ready to make a lasting impact on bringing renewable energy solutions to our communities. Empowered by the grant, UHub is paving the way for a sustainable future – one EV charger at a time,” said Ali Lee, committee chair of United Hub.

Additionally, the state is opening applications for $67 million in grants to fund community decarbonization efforts, including projects that modernize the electric grid, promote solar energy deployment, and support low-income communities.


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IMAGES: MAREK STUDZINSKI

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AUTHOR: 

RANDI BENTIA

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