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Electric car charging stations installed in DeWitt, Clay

Mary Catalfamo | Asst. Digital Editor

The stations can each charge two electric vehicles.

DeWitt and Clay have installed six charging stations for electric vehicles outside of their respective town halls this month as part of an initiative that aims to make EV ownership more feasible for New York state residents.

Three EV charging stations were installed outside the DeWitt Town Hall on Oct. 1, with the help of funding from local initiatives and state programs. Three other EV charging stations were installed on Oct. 17 outside the Clay Town Hall, off State Route 31.

Both towns received grant funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, with the help of Clean Communities of Central New York, to install the stations.

The town of DeWitt participated in a state-level program called the Clean Energy Communities Program, said Samuel Gordon, director of DeWitt’s planning and zoning department. DeWitt committed to a clean energy demonstration project as part of the program, he said.

The program, an initiative through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, awards grants to local governments that complete four out of 10 possible “high impact actions” to implement clean energy projects. The towns of DeWitt and Clay completed those high impact actions, then successfully applied for NYSERDA funding.

Some of the policies DeWitt adopted to become eligible for the grant included “energy benchmarking” the town hall by reporting measurements of the building’s energy efficiency, as well as sending code enforcement officials for training on the new state energy code. DeWitt also created a streamlined permit process for installing solar panels and participated in a campaign to encourage local property owners to consider using the panels.

Part of the $100,000 NYSERDA grant was used in DeWitt to purchase the stations, which can each charge two cars. The three charging stations cost about $6,000 each, Gordon said. The town is also in the process of purchasing two all-electric Chevrolet Bolts, he said, and one of the charging stations will be reserved for the town-owned EVs.

Three more charging stations will be installed in DeWitt’s Carrier Park, a recreation facility on Thompson Road that sits on more than 22 acres of land.

A similar story unfolded about 16 miles away in the town of Clay, which hosted a ribbon cutting on Oct. 17 to premiere its three new charging stations. The stations in Clay were also funded through NYSERDA by the Cleaner, Greener Communities Program, said Barry Carr, coordinator for Clean Communities of Central New York, at the ribbon cutting.

The state is looking to install EV charging stations adjacent to the Interstate 90 corridor from Buffalo to Albany, Carr said at the ceremony. The stations will also be installed along I-90 from Albany to New York City “so you can easily drive your electric vehicle or your plug-in hybrid vehicle from one end of the state to the other,” he said.

Chris Carrick of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board said that Clay’s installation of the charging stations helped the town secure another grant through NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities Program. This $150,000 grant will be used to convert street lighting to LED.

Carrick said the organization is pleased to be able to provide support to a forward-thinking municipality like Clay.

“The town has been incredibly active and really is a great model, I think, to the rest of the county and region on how to pursue sustainability,” Carrick said. “Actions like this from the town which demonstrate to the broader community that this technology is here, it works, it’s available today (are) really just so important.”

Clean Communities of Central New York, based in Syracuse University’s Center of Excellence on Washington Street, estimates that annual carbon dioxide emissions in the greater Syracuse area are reduced by 5,483 tons due to energy-efficient vehicle modifications.

Town Supervisor Damian Ulatowski said at the ribbon cutting that Clay is also looking to purchase its own EV for town employees to use. He said the charging stations unveiled that morning were the latest development in the town’s pursuit of sustainable energy.

“By demonstrating things like this to residents they can see that alternative energies do make sense and towns like Clay are not only a leader in Onondaga County but … in New York state,” Ulatowski said.

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