Cordova, AK – The City of Cordova and Cordova Electric Cooperative (CEC) stepped closer to becoming a more renewable, self-sustaining community by installing 4 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the city center on December 21st. The lower price of locally produced electricity supports Cordova’s economic self-sufficiency; the strategic goal of the City of Cordova. Selling more hydroelectricity helps increase renewable power production to 90% of energy sales by 2025; the strategic goal of Cordova Electric Cooperative. “Our dream is for Cordova to be 100% renewable and EV’s will play an important role in that,” said Clay Koplin, CEO of Cordova Electric. “EV’s can become a storage element of our Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium (GMLC) smart grid development work, in partnership with the Department of Energy and other national labs, by sinking excess hydro to vehicle batteries for later use, which results in our community becoming cleaner and stronger as the grid gains resiliency.”
The member-owners of CEC requested charging stations, indicating that it would influence their decision to purchase an electric vehicle. CEC announced via the CEC Facebook page that the new charging stations will be free to the public. “Research indicated that the affordable way to provide EV stations is to avoid the costly billing electronics and software that just don’t hold up in our weather,” explained Koplin. “It costs CEC less to provide the public charging service for free, so that’s what we’re doing.” CEC’s deployment plan includes installations by homeowners and businesses who have indicated interest, with CEC advising on charging station alternatives. The new ClipperCreek charging stations we selected will provide about 20 miles of driving range with a one-hour charge. “If demand grows as rapidly in Cordova as it has in other coastal Alaskan communities, we will soon feel the pressure for more charging stations,” said Koplin.
CEC and the City of Cordova have collaborated on the stations for months, working with businesses and residents to identify locations that would have the greatest positive impact on parking, business development, social functions, and the local economy. The new centerpiece of Cordova, the Cordova Center, was selected as the preferred site, with two charging stations in the First Street parking lot serving the business district, and two charging stations in the lower parking lot serving the waterfront businesses and harbor. “I like the option of being able to own an electric car, bike, or scooter now,” said Sylvia Lange, owner of the Reluctant Fisherman, an iconic hotel and restaurant in the harbor. “Electric vehicles are here to stay – it’s great to have this option in Cordova,” said Lange.
In addition to serving the community, the charging stations are expected to attract and accommodate visitors to Cordova via the Alaska Marine Highway System. “The Tesla users group is looking for communities with electric vehicle charging stations to visit,” said John Harvill, a Cordova Tesla owner and member of the Alaska Tesla Users Group. Because the only road access to Cordova is by ferry, an EV charged in Anchorage can drive the 60 miles to the Whittier ferry terminal and recharge their vehicle when they get to Cordova. According to the chargers listed in www.plugshare.com, locating a charger in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska, may be more difficult than finding one in coastal Alaska.
Cordova Electric Cooperative (CEC) is the sole provider of electric energy to the remote, coastal community of Cordova, Alaska. CEC owns and operates all power production and distribution facilities for the whole community. A small, nimble organization noted for creativity, innovation, talent, and achievement, CEC embraces the challenges of the energetic coastal environment in the North Pacific, and attracts the rugged, independent, success-oriented women and men that define the Cooperative.