By Bill Morris in Green Ideas/New York State for HABITAT magazine
Electrification – it’s a word that should be in the vocabulary of every co-op and condo board member. It describes the coming shift away from fossil fuels to the electrical powering of just about everything, from building heating and cooling systems to public transit networks to private motor vehicles. In order to combat climate change, that electricity will have to come from green – that is, renewable – sources, including solar, wind, geothermal and possibly even nuclear power plants.
In a major pivot toward electrification, General Motors recently pledged to stop making gasoline-powered passenger cars, vans and sport utility vehicles by 2035. With nearly 20 million electric vehicles (EV) expected to be on the nation’s roads in the next decade, New York State has just released major new incentives that will cover up to 100% of costs for EV charging stations at both privately and publicly accessed facilities, including garages and outdoor parking areas in co-ops and condos.
“This is a big deal,” says Michael Scorrano, the managing director at En-Power Group, an engineering and energy infrastructure company. “The state is trying to take the angst away from people who are hesitant to buy an electric vehicle.”
En-Power Group is a state-approved contractor that can secure the incentives and oversee the installation of all infrastructure, software and hardware at an EV charging station. The incentives come from two sources: Con Edison’s EV Make-Ready Program, which covers infrastructure costs, including wiring; and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority’s Charge Ready NY Program, which pays for the charging ports.
“The problem for multifamily buildings that have EV charging stations is that they need to be able to recoup the cost of the service,” Scorrano says. “The software measures the amount of electricity used to charge each vehicle. We can handle all aspects of the process – scoping out the property’s infrastructure, filing applications, hiring licensed electricians and overseeing installation of the charging ports along with the software that will recover the cost of charging every vehicle.”
The incentives in the new state program cover from 50% to 100% of the infrastructure and installation costs. The level of incentives depends on such factors as whether the charging facility will be public or private, if it contains generic or proprietary chargers (such as those required for Tesla vehicles), and if the facility is located within one mile of a “disadvantaged” neighborhood. According to Con Edison maps, virtually all of New York City meets this last criterion.
As Scorrano points out, the incentives are designed to encourage more drivers to buy electric cars. The state wants 850,000 “zero-emission vehicles” on the road by the end of 2025; there were about 17,000 in 2019, according to The Albany Business Review. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo also wants EV charging stations at every rest area on the New York State Thruway by the end of 2024.