Berlin-based Northeast Utilities announced plans today to build New England's first network of charging stations for electric cars in Connecticut and Massachusetts over the next two years.
Two NU subsidiaries, Connecticut Light & Power Co. and Western Massachusetts Electric Co., have applied to the U.S. Department of Energy for funding to build 575 charging stations over the next two years. The stations would be installed at a "diverse combination of home-based, workplace and publicly-accessible sites" in the two utilities' service territories," the company said in a statement today.
"We see extraordinary potential in electric transportation as one of the tools to help meet the environmental and energy policy objectives of our regional and national leaders," said James B. Robb, NU senior vice president of enterprise planning and development. "As the next generation of vehicles gets introduced, likely late in 2010, we want to be sure that New England is among the first markets."
State Rep. Vickie Nardello, co-chairwoman of the legislature's energy and technology committee, described the plans today as a "necessary catalyst" and "part of the forward-thinking solutions we must embrace for a viable and sustainable future."
NU has been working with the Electric Power and Research Institute to study the impact of plug-in electric vehicles on power utilities and the grid.
The Department of Energy is expected to make a decision on $693,750 -- or 50 percent of the project's estimated cost -- in June. The utilities are looking for additional stakeholders to weigh in on their proposal. The companies are also looking for other avenues of funding.