2019-09-18

Mahone Bay council agrees to purchase electric vehicle charging stations - if funding comes through

by Kevin Mcbain

M@KMcBainLHNOW

In the near future, the Town of Mahone Bay may be the home to five electric vehicle charging stations.

In their council meeting September 10, councillors unanimously agreed to support a motion presented by Aaron Long, director of business services for the Alternative Resource Energy Authority (AREA).

AREA plans to seek funding from Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) for five stations with the ability to charge eight vehicles - some stations would be dual, while others are just single.

The stations will be able to top a car's battery while the driver visits or shops around town.

The ask will also be a part of a larger, 1,000 station project, that could see stations located across the Maritimes in towns and cities that own their own municipal electric utilities, with the exception of Lunenburg.

For Mahone Bay, the cost is $70,000 in total, or $35,000 if you take in the funding request. This would be added into the 2020-2021 budget.

David Devenne, Mayor of the Town of Mahone Bay, said electric cars are available, but aren't yet driven in large numbers.

According to Nova Scotia Power there are more than 170 electric vehicles registered in Nova Scotia, while there are currently more than 100 public charging stations across the province.

"But as the technology develops, the cost is coming down and it is starting to become a more reasonable opportunity for people," Devenne said.

"What's lacking now is the regular availability of charging stations. If I had an electric vehicle in Mahone Bay and wanted to go to Yarmouth, it would be tough to find a charging station."

Devenne noted that by providing electric charging stations it could also help reduce the town's carbon footprint.

The charging stations also offer opportunities for the town to make a few dollars.

"We have an advantage over other areas because we do have our own electrical utility. We have wind power and we have import options, all which are relatively inexpensive," said Devenne. "We have the opportunity to generate more profit than many others with these stations."

Deadline for the submission for funding through NRCAN is September 18.

The project will only go ahead if the funding request of 50 per cent, is accepted. Total cost of the project is estimated at $1.4 million and there would be the capacity to charge 100 vehicles simultaneously.

Besides Mahone Bay, stations would be located in Berwick, Antigonish, Summerside, Saint John, Edmundston and Perth Andover.

Long said that the expectation is to hear back about the funding by November.

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