(Photo courtesy of Pacific Power)
Pacific Power recently awarded more than $2 million to 18 cities, small towns, community colleges and nonprofits throughout the state for projects that will connect more Oregonians to the cost-saving, clean-air benefits of electric vehicles and electric mobility — including residents of underserved and rural communities that Pacific Power serves.
For example, in Sweet Home, Pendleton and Grass Valley, Pacific Power Electric Mobility Grants will help bring EV charging stations to places where few or none exist. In Central Oregon, low-income residents in Bend may receive vouchers for e-bikes, and a community-driven coalition will map out the first EV charging and car share plan for the region. In Multnomah County, the public library, as well as nonprofits that repair homes and improve energy efficiency in diverse and historically underserved communities, will be able to purchase electric trucks and vans to deliver services.
“Pacific Power is hard at work building a safe, reliable, affordable clean energy future. A critical part of that work is helping to ensure that Oregonians at all income levels, in all kinds of communities, have access to electric transportation and the economic growth and vitality it can bring,” says Kate Hawley, electric transportation senior product manager for Pacific Power. “These Electric Mobility Grants are an important way that we can strengthen the communities we serve and help them thrive.”
Since 2020, Pacific Power has distributed more than $4.5 million in Electric Mobility Grants to Oregon communities. Funding is made possible by the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, which is administered by the state Department of Environmental Quality and aims to reduce the carbon intensity of Oregon’s transportation fuels. Pacific Power raises funds for the Electric Mobility Grants through the sale of Clean Fuels Program credits.
Grants are part of bigger e-mobility picture
In addition to electric mobility Grants, Pacific Power is helping Oregonians plug into the benefits of electric mobility by offering valuable customer rebates and other incentives for homeowners, businesses and multifamily property owners who install EV chargers. A free technical assistance program is available for businesses, property owners, and organizations, which provides a feasibility analysis for EV charging options, costs, rates and best practices for siting, installing and managing equipment.
Pacific Power is also expanding Oregon’s EV charging infrastructure beyond big cities with the installation of public fast-charging stations in Klamath Falls, Madras, Otis and Mill City.
These efforts to help more Oregon drivers choose electric are also helping communities improve air quality by reducing vehicle emissions. Gas-engine cars and trucks are the number one source of air pollution in Oregon, according to the Department of Environmental Quality’s 2022 Biennial Energy Report. EVs with zero tailpipe emissions are key to improving air quality over the long term.
E-mobility: More than electric cars
Previous rounds of Pacific Power Electric Mobility Grants have helped communities purchase electric tractors in Prineville, an electric school bus in Bend, an EV and charger for a Portland health clinic, and a traveling EV educational exhibit that visits rural parts of the state.
The 2022 grant recipients and projects are similarly creative and wide-ranging:
- Grass Valley Country Market (Sherman County). Funds will be used to add two or four DC fast chargers (dual port) at this popular community gathering spot and travelers’ stop, in a rural area with no other charging options within 30 miles.
- 350 Deschutes (multiple locations). Funds will be used to create an equitable EV charging and EV car share plan for Central Oregon that specifically involves underserved, rural, and urban decision makers, including black, Tribal and Hispanic communities — the first plan of its kind in Oregon
- City of Bend. In an effort modeled on the City of Corvallis’ successful e-bike voucher program, the grant will be used to fund 110 vouchers for low-income residents in Bend to purchase an e-bike.
- KOR Community Land Trust (Bend). Funds will provide 17 e-bikes and training for low-income home buyers in communities that the land trust is building in Bend, who otherwise may not have access to e-mobility options.
- Central Oregon Community College. Funds will be used to install chargers and to purchase four used EVs for fleet and educational purposes at the Bend and Prineville campuses. Chargers will be available to students, staff and the public.
- City of Prineville. In an area with only one other public charger within a 20-mile radius, funds will be used to install one or two DC fast chargers near downtown, in a highly visible and accessible location for residents and travelers.
- Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (Bend). Funds will be used to purchase one Ford F-150 Lightning EV, which will be used to deliver programs to underserved communities in central Oregon and incorporated into conservation education.
- Blue Mountain Community College (Pendleton). Funds will be used to install two Level 2 EV chargers at the college’s main campus, in an area severely lacking in EV infrastructure.
Portland and Multnomah County
- Multnomah County. Funds will be used to purchase a Class 5 EV box truck that will travel three daily routes, seven days a week, to transport circulating books and other items to multiple library locations in Portland, including many in BIPOC and lower-income neighborhoods. The truck will replace a diesel-equivalent vehicle and serve as a pilot program for replacing other county-owned diesel vehicles.
- Taking Ownership PDX (Portland). Taking Ownership PDX provides home repairs, maintenance, landscaping, and other upgrades to black community members at no cost. Funds will be used to purchase one Volkswagen ID.4 EV (for transporting supplies to work sites and awareness-raising events) and one Level 2 charger which will be available at no cost to workers and the public.
- Verde (Portland). Verde serves vulnerable populations in BIPOC communities through design and implementation of renewable energy and energy-efficient projects. Funds will be used to purchase one Level 2 charger and one Ford E-Transit van, which will be used to deliver programs.
- Chiloquin Visions in Progress (Klamath County). Funds will be used to install a Level 2 charger and DC fast charger in downtown Chiloquin, a rural area with few charging options. Chargers will help draw visitors to a business district with an art center, grocery store and county library.
- Oregon Environmental Council (multiple locations). In a partnership between Oregon Environmental Council and Oregon State University’s Agricultural Research/Extension, funds will be used to purchase four utility EVs to test and promote the viability of electric farm equipment to agricultural students and communities, through workshops, visits and field day demonstrations.
- Genesis XXI LLC (Medford). At Genesis XXI, a workforce housing development in downtown Medford expected to open in 2023, funds will be used to install four Level 2 chargers and to purchase one EV that residents may use via the GoForth CarShare platform.
- Umpqua Community College (Roseburg). Funds will be used to install the first EV chargers on the campus. The two Level 2 chargers will be available at no cost to students and staff.
- City of Sweet Home. Funds will be used to install the first public chargers in Sweet Home. One or two DC fast charger stations will be installed downtown for public use by residents, commuters and travelers.
- First Alternative Cooperative (Corvallis). Funds will be used to install two DC fast chargers, available to the public, at the co-op’s south Corvallis location, a high-traffic area of affordable homes and multifamily properties that is underserved by EV charging infrastructure.
- Linn County. Funds will be used to install two Level 2 charging stations in downtown Albany. They will be available to the public, including residents and commuters from surrounding rural areas. The chargers will allow Linn County to convert some other fleet vehicles to EVs.