News Feature

Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, April 23, 2020
Stonington considers electric vehicle charging station

by Leslie Landrigan

The town is considering a proposal to install a charging station for electric vehicles—somewhere—after hearing from a clean energy advocate at Monday’s online selectboard meeting.

Gordon Beck, who attended remotely from Northeast Harbor, explained he represents a Mount Desert Island-based nonprofit called A Climate to Thrive. The group got a foundation grant to pay for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations Downeast, and has installed them in towns from Belfast to Eastport.

The selectmen peppered Beck with questions about how it works. They also discussed places it could go: perhaps the Island Community Center, or at the top of Pink Street, or even at the transfer station.

How it would work

Beck explained A Climate to Thrive pays for the installation and equipment. The chargers could be free to the EV user, and the town would pay for the electricity. When asked how much the town would pay every year, Beck said, “a couple hundred dollars on up.”

Or the town could charge the user, but would have to pay annual network charges of $320 and a maintenance fee of $450, he said.

An electric charging station would put Stonington on the EV map and bring people to the town just because it’s here, Beck said. Since it takes time to charge, EV drivers typically go shopping or to nearby restaurants, he said.

Selectman John Robbins said he thought a charging station was a good idea, but only if people used it. “But if not, no,” he said.

The selectboard agreed to meet with Beck in Stonington at a future date before deciding on the proposal.