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Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Transportation Alliance (EVITA)

Objective

The objective of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Transportation Alliance (EVITA) is to advocate for sustainable electric transportation infrastructure and take action to promote public/private partnerships for the development of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to and throughout the Tri-Cities and Eastern Washington.

This effort is sponsored by the Mid-Columbia Energy Initiative (MCEI), an industry collaboration effort coordinated through the Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC). Local utilities: Benton PUD, Franklin PUD, Benton REA, and Richland Energy Services, in concert with Energy Northwest are core members of EVITA.  Since the initial formation of EVITA, the City of Ellensburg and Kittitas PUD have joined EVITA as core members.  Adding them solidifies EVITA's ability to fill in the charging gaps between Washington's most EV saturated regions around Puget Sound and Western Washington and the ample tourism opportunities in the Tri-Cities and Eastern Washington.

Purpose

Promoting the buildout of EV transportation infrastructure within our area is supported by the following drivers: 

Sustainability and Carbon Reduction: Sustainability initiatives are a priority, with federal and state policy makers focusing on carbon reduction throughout all sectors of our nation’s economy. Within Washington State, the transportation sector emits more carbon than any other sector by a wide-margin, however the State’s electric utility sector is one of the cleanest in the country, largely due to our vast “zero-carbon” hydroelectric resources. Powering our vehicles with locally-produced clean, renewable energy will help drive down Washington’s transportation carbon footprint.

Tourism:  The Tri-Cities area has been identified as an underserved electric vehicle corridor by the Washington State Department of Transportation due to the lack of high speed DC Fast Charging stations in our area. Promoting and installing EV charging infrastructure enables EV owners to visit our local wineries and businesses which contribute to community economic development.

Branding:  Through TRIDEC and MCEI, the Tri-Cities area has identified itself as a leader in energy production, research and development, as well as other energy-related matters.  This effort will further brand our communities as energy leaders.

Lower Utility Rates:  Electric vehicle charging infrastructure will increase electrical load and help offset the impacts of conservation.  Increased customer loads enable the utility to spread its fixed costs over a larger base resulting in lower electric rates that benefit all utility customers.   

Approach

To support a unified electric highway corridor in southeast Washington, EVITA will work to create alliances with the private sector along with other local, state and federal agencies to install electric vehicle charging stations. This strategic partnership will address the challenges and barriers to the availability of public EV charging stations. This endeavor will create synergy between the private sector and public utilities to build additional charging stations in Benton and Franklin counties. Energy Northwest will provide the coordination of this effort to match public utilities with private resources to make this happen.  Local utilities will provide expertise and in-kind services to promote this effort. Federal and state grants will be investigated to play a role in these efforts.  The key elements of this public-private alliance include:

  • Pursue public-private partnerships: build a coalition of public agencies and private businesses that will support and in some cases fund electric vehicle charging stations
  • Pool resources within communities to electrify tourism routes: build on the success of other tourist routes to insure that local businesses are “plugged in” to the electric highway
  • Business assistance: encourage the private sector to invest in electric technology by exploring incentives, funding assistance and marketing for businesses that invest in EV charging stations
  • EV Charging Stations: identify locations and funding for EV charging stations to ensure consistent electric route travel connections between cities, regions and states

This strategic partnership recognizes that now is the time for audacious and rapid action, leadership, vision, creativity, and collaboration that will hasten the transition to a clean energy future.  

For more information, contact EVITA@energy-northwest.com
 

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