Electric car charging stations proposed at Coon Rapids dam

Anoka County wants to install two electric vehicle charging stations at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park.

The Anoka County Board’s Parks and Recreation Committee has authorized staff to apply for a National Park Service grant, in partnership with the American Lung Association, for the installation of the charging stations and become an implementation site for the clean cities national parks initiative.

But there is a caveat – that a fee system can be put in place to cover the county’s operations and maintenance costs.

According to a report from the parks department staff to the committee, the county was approached by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the National Park Service to gauge the county’s interest in being an implementation location for the two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

The grant would install EV charging stations at 10 park sites, two at each location, within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA), including Boom Island and Minnehaha regional parks as well as the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, the report states.

Right now, there are two electric car models available for purchase in Minnesota – Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf – with nine more planned over the next year, according to the report.

“The goal of the grant is to increase the number of charging stations in an effort to plan for the increase in the number of vehicles that will be on the road in the next few years,” the report states.

Only two business locations in Anoka County currently have EV charging stations – Goodwill in Blaine and Kwik Trip stores in Andover and Coon Rapids, it says.

Those sites charge customers to park and charge their vehicle, usually $1 an hour, according to the report.

“The cost of electricity used in charging is approximately 40 cents an hour,” the report states.

“If each station were used on average one hour per day, the station would generate net revenue of about $450 a year.”

The grant, if approved, would cover the entire cost of purchasing and installing the machines, estimated at $10,000 each, according to the staff report.

The county would not be required to provide a funding match, the report states.

“This would also offer the opportunity for the county, in the future, to purchase and service an electric park vehicle, should there be a pilot program,” it states.

One of the stations could also charge electric bikes, which are now allowed on the county trail system under a recent parks ordinance change, the report states.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the clean cities national parks initiative partners with the National Park Service to support the use of renewable and alternative fuels, electric drive vehicle and other vehicle-saving practices to help preserve air quality and promote the use of domestic energy resources in the parks.

In 2010, the energy department and the parks services created an interagency agreement to provide funding assistance to support vehicle projects in an anticipated amount ranging from $1 million to $5 million a year.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]