The proposal to install an electronic vehicle (EV) charging station at Harwood Union High School should not be dismissed out of hand because there are a lot of logistical issues to figure out.
The school board last week voted not to move forward on a proposal to accept the offer from Washington Electric Co-op to use grant funds to install a Level II EV charging station at the school. The board will discuss it again next month when more board members are present.
And, when the board discusses it again, the proposal should receive very serious consideration. Fossil fuels still provide the bulk of our transportation energy, but that is changing and it is changing quickly.
Board members expressed concerns about how it would be used by the public in the winter when it is cold and in a location where there is little or no cellphone service. Whether such a station is for students or faculty and staff or for the public can be sorted out. Cellphone service is changing all the time in Vermont as is access to Wi-Fi.
Washington Electric Co-op would install the EV station at no cost to the school. The grant would cover installation and five years of operating costs. After five years the board could discontinue the station or take over its network service costs of some $2,600 per year.
That $2,600 could be covered in fees charged to people who charge their cars, whether those chargers are students, staff or members of the public.
As for whether the EV charging station would create extra work for Harwood staff, perhaps but maybe not. Surely as our energy footprints change, schools and school districts may have a specific employee whose job it is to attend to the alternative energy choices. It’s no reason to reject this EV charging station.
An EV station and other attendant technology could even become part of the curriculum at the high school, if it’s not already.
All the issues raised by the board in their discussion of the Washington Electric Co-op are solvable and it makes sense for the board to figure out how to make this work.
Unless some miraculous new technology that allows our cars to drive on air is developed in the coming years, more and more cars will be electric and a charging station at our high school would put us on the cutting edge.