The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Town awarded grant for high power EV charging station


December 24, 2020

The Town of Cathlamet has announced the conditional award of a $109,410 grant from state funding via the Washington State Department of Commerce Clean Energy Fund to install the only DCFC (Level 3) high power fast-charging electric vehicle charging unit in Wahkiakum County, adjacent to State Route 4 (connecting Longview to the Long Beach Peninsula) and abutting State Route 409 (Cathlamet Main Street), an important state highway connecting Washington to Oregon via the Oscar B toll vehicle ferry. The grant conditionally awarded to the town is one of only 14 EV grants announced statewide under the Department of Commerce’s $9.8 million Electrification of Transportation Systems (ETS) grant line. By any measure, the Town of Cathlamet is the smallest Washington community receiving an ETS grant award in this grant cycle.

Pursuant to a design adopted by the Town Council in August 2020, the town plans to install the charger in the town-owned lot located at the intersection of Main and Butler Streets. The high-power EV charging station will be a central element of planned improvements to the Butler Street lot including paved parking, a kiosk connecting to the planned Cathlamet public Wi-Fi network, ornamental plantings and history panels.

In its grant application to the Department of Commerce, the town expressed hope that installation of a fast-charging high-power EV unit would be transformative for the development of the electric vehicle market in southwest Washington and encourage not only local use of electric vehicles (currently constrained by lack of fast chargers) but also substantial EV traffic from Interstate 5 to the ocean beaches. Once installed, EV users will be able to minimize “range anxiety” by stopping in Cathlamet (a midpoint in the journey from I-5 to the coast) for a fast charge before heading onwards. As written, the town’s grant request was designed to support state goals of providing distributed, accessible and reliable charging of electric vehicles in the state’s rural areas, help reduce vehicle emissions and trigger economic growth. The grant submittal was supported by the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce, the Wahkiakum County Board of Commissioners and Wahkiakum PUD. The town plans to work with local partners to promote availability of the unit and provide information regarding incentives (including state and federal tax incentives) for ownership and deployment of EVs in Wahkiakum County.

Mayor Dale Jacobson offered the following statement: “The town is incredibly grateful to the Department of Commerce for this conditional grant award. We hope that this fast-charging unit will encourage not only increased local EV ownership but also promote additional visits to our beautiful, rural community by growing numbers of EV drivers statewide. We look forward to working with the Department of Commerce and our partners at Wahkiakum County, the Chamber and the PUD to make sure operation of this unit is a great success.”

The town has notified Department of Commerce staff of its acceptance of the grant award. The next step is to conclude a contract with the state for implementation of the grant and to begin contract work, expected before May 26, 2021.


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