ROBERTSDALE — Three Baldwin County cities will receive new electric car charging stations thanks to a state grant program.Sites in Robertsdale, Fairhope and Orange Beach are among 18 across …
ROBERTSDALE — Three Baldwin County cities will receive new electric car charging stations thanks to a state grant program.
Sites in Robertsdale, Fairhope and Orange Beach are among 18 across Alabama selected to share more than $2.45 million. The money comes from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and was announced by Gov. Kay Ivey earlier this month.
The Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance received $198,267 to install a two-bay charging station at the Baldwin County Commission Annex II on Alabama 59 in Robertsdale.
Lee Lawson, EDA director, said county officials have been working to increase the number of charging stations across Baldwin. He said the effort began when economic development supporters were working to attract an electric vehicle battery project to the Megasite industrial park in Bay Minette.
"We took a long look at Baldwin County's electric vehicle charging infrastructure and just saw that it wasn't where we would have liked it to have been to confidently recruit electric vehicle manufacturers, for them to confidently place investment in our community with the lack of infrastructure investment we had," Lawson said.
Novelis is now building an aluminum rolling plant and recycling center at the Megasite just south of Interstate 65, but county officials are still working to expand electric vehicle charging stations.
"This is the first of what we hope to be many more in other parts of the county," Lawson said. "While electric vehicle manufacturing didn't locate at the Megasite, we still think that there's a lot of value from an economic development perspective in increasing our electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the county. It's almost like a community development tool, so to speak, as well."
Lawson said several cities in Baldwin County have already installed charging stations.
He said funding for the grants came from a lawsuit against Volkswagen after the company was convicted of falsifying emission reports. Money went to different states impacted to be used to reduce automobile emissions.
"Several cities had been out there like Fairhope and Daphne and some others around their municipal complexes, and so in talking to the county, we offered to partner with them to go after some grant dollars that we knew ADECA had via the VW settlement to put in charging stations or county annex facilities or county commission buildings," Lawson said.
On the Eastern Shore, Fairhope received $148,626 to install a two-bay charging station at Plantation Pointe Shopping Center.
Mayor Sherry Sullivan said the city already has a downtown charging station at city hall.
"We have this downtown right now, but we don't have anything on 98 where we have a lot of traffic passing through," Sullivan said. "This will allow those vehicles to have a station for charging."
She said the grant requires matching funds. The Alabama Municipal Electric Association, of which Fairhope is a member, has offered to pay the city's share of the match, she said.
Heading south, Junior Food Stores of West Florida received $216,335 to install a two-bay charging station at Cumberland Farms convenience store on Canal Road in Orange Beach, according to a statement from the governor's office.
"As many of Alabama's automobile manufacturers gear production toward electric vehicles, Alabama must be ready to provide the charging infrastructure needed for those who choose to drive these vehicles," Ivey said. "It is important for Alabama to have electric vehicle charging stations in many locations so that we can meet the needs of Alabama motorists who choose to drive an electric vehicle as well as out-of-state drivers who are visiting or passing through our state."