The Port of Coupeville will soon apply for a state grant to fund the installation of two high-speed electric vehicle charging stations at Greenbank Farm.
Long-time green energy advocates Linda Irvine and Tim Economu, both of whom partnered with the port to install solar panels at the farm, shared a presentation on the grant with the port board of commissioners at a public meeting last week.
About $2.5 million of grant funds are available to rural communities through the state Department of Commerce’s Community Economic Revitalization Board. Irvine told port commissioners that the installation of two level three DC fast charging stations would cost around $220,000. The port would be responsible for a 10% match of an estimated $22,000 if it received and accepted the grant.
There are electric vehicle charging stations already located at Greenbank Farm, but they are much slower than the fast charging stations the grant would fund. Currently, the closest fast charging stations to Greenbank are at least an hour’s drive from the farm in any direction, Economu said.
Unlike the level two chargers, which are free to use, electric vehicle drivers would have to pay to fuel up at the level three DC fast charging stations. Irvine estimated that the charging stations would pay for themselves in around two years, and then become a source of revenue for the port after that point.
Irvine said that besides serving island residents who drive electric vehicles, the charging stations could also benefit Island Transit, which is gradually adding electric vehicles to its fleet.
“It’s just another way that we feel that the port can show leadership in the clean energy world,” she said.
Economu added that from his perspective as an electric vehicle owner, having two fast charging stations at Greenbank Farm would have a major impact.
“That is a huge upgrade,” he said. “It’s not just a little step forward.”
The commissioners voted unanimously to have port Executive Director Chris Michalopoulos apply for the grant.
The Island County Board of Commissioners supported the action. In a meeting Tuesday, commissioners approved a letter in support of the proposed charging stations.
“Bringing DC Fast Charging to Whidbey Island will be a benefit for residents choosing electric vehicles, an incentive for tourists bringing economic development, and a vital step in our path to decarbonize our transportation options,” the letter states.