On Nov. 1, 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office announced the winners of the FY’21 “Low Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Vehicle Technologies Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment” funding opportunity. Included in this year’s round was a Topic Area of “Electric Vehicle Workplace Charging.” One of the announced winners was the Columbia-Willamette Clean Cities Coalition (CWCC) and their EMPOWER proposal – “Equitable Mobility Powering Opportunities for Workplace Electrification Readiness.”
Leveraging their experience with the Drive Electric USA program, East Tennessee Clean Fuels is providing administrative support and project management guidance for the EMPOWER program.
This proposal included 30 DOE Clean Cities Coalitions as a large workforce that would lead the boots-on-the-ground implementation of a new national workplace charging alliance. The work will begin with a year’s convening of diverse transportation electrification representatives that will share experience, listen and craft a program that will encourage participation by workplaces in diverse communities across America.
“This project offers a great opportunity for Clean Cities Coalitions to listen to the communities we work within and find out how workplace charging could benefit them,” Brian Trice, Executive Director of CWCC, said.
The project aims to…
“… reach upwards of 2,000 employers and secure at least 650 employer commitments to install and support workplace charging programming, and 3,500 installed EVSE/units at employer sites. Additionally, our goal is to end up with at least 20% of our employer commitments from diverse employers in qualified opportunities zones that benefit underserved communities and people of color. Participating workplaces will provide critical feedback on our workplace charging resources as we produce them, allowing us to continually improve our program system and materials during the project period. This feedback loop is a critical part of the successful development of a national workplace charging program that is both effective and user-friendly.”
The EMPOWER project will accelerate the interest and support for workplace charging nationwide using a national landing page/funnel and website that will house our tools, resources and information, along with consistent messaging, tactics and coordination with national data and utility partners. This project has a primary goal of advancing employer commitments for workplace charging programs and installations. Secondary goals include collecting and advancing electric vehicle charging research and increasing career pathways in the EV charging industry for underrepresented communities.
“We are looking forward to engaging directly with unrepresented and overburdened communities through this project,” Jonathan Overly, Coordinator of ETCF, said. “We will be listening to what these communities have to say about electric vehicle infrastructure in their communities and considering it as this project progresses.”
Major project partners working with CWCC include Cadeo Group, East Tennessee Clean Fuels (ETCF), Louisiana Clean Fuels (LCF), ICF International, Shift2Electric, Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP), Cerritos College, Washington State Department of Commerce, American Lung Association (ALA), the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
The project also has charging provider partners that include Siemens and Chargepoint and the following diverse utilities: ComEd, Alabama Power, Entergy, Eversource, Memphis Light Gas & Water (MLGW), OK Gas & Electric (OG&E), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), Green Mountain Power (GMP), Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Avangrid, Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB), Pepco Holdings, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC), Central Maine Power (CMP), Knoxville Utility Board (KUB), Rocky Mountain Power, Burlington Electric Department, Portland General Electric (PGE), Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) and Kentucky Power.
The project team is receiving $3,970,539 in federal funds while providing over $1,000,000 in cost share from non-federal sources.
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