Jul 22, 2022 - Politics

Denver eyes zoo, Red Rocks and libraries for EV charging stations

Electric vehicle charging sites in Denver
Data: Denver Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency. Map: Simran Parwani/Axios

Denver's climate action office wants to spend $9 million to add new electric vehicle charging stations and solar panels at city-owned properties.

Why it matters: The proposed locations aim to reduce the city's reliance on fossil fuels and make it easier for people to use electric vehicles — a move to help reduce pollution.

Background: The city already has 18 buildings with solar panels, another six sites where they're being installed, and 26 locations with EV charging stations, including some with multiple units. Denver International Airport is one example.

Details: The city has developed a preliminary list with 13 sites to install solar panels and 15 for new EV charging stations.

  • The panels could be installed at Barnum Rec Center, the Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales Library and the Denver Zoo's animal hospital.
  • The zoo, Montbello Branch Library and Red Rocks Amphitheater are under consideration for new EV charging stations.
  • Grace Rink, Denver's climate change czar, said there's no cost to charge EVs at city-owned stations, though that could change in the future.

What they're saying: Liz Babcock, executive manager at the climate action office, told a Denver City Council committee last week that the city is prioritizing new sites in under-resourced neighborhoods.

  • Rink said that where EVs are registered is not a factor when considering places to put new stations. Instead the city puts the sites in areas with higher concentrations of multi-family residences.
  • "We feel these are the areas where lack of charging access could be holding back EV purchases," Rink told Axios Denver over email.

Between the lines: The $9 million will come from the city's climate protection fund, which seeks to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. The fund gets its money from local sales and use tax.

The big picture: Separately, the state will be receiving $57 million from the federal government to build more EV charging stations, expanding Colorado's electric vehicle infrastructure by 971 miles.

What's next: The Denver City Council will vote on the installation contracts July 25.

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