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High Country Conservation Center to roll out strategies to boost EV industry in Summit County, Colorado

High Country Conservation Center is a non-profit organization based in Frisco, Colorado. It provides waste reduction and resource conservation solutions in Summit County. In collaboration with Summit’s administration, the organization has prepared a community-based Electric Vehicle (EV) Readiness Plan. “It is a 10-year plan, and the goal of the plan is to create strategies that will help us expand infrastructure and make it easier for residents and visitors to Summit county to drive an electric vehicle,” said Jess Hoover, Climate Director at High Country Conservation Centre.

Summit County has revealed a couple of plans to boost battery-powered transport in the mountainous region. Municipality leaders and policymakers are pushing for a transition to battery-powered public transport, private cars, and ride-hailing vehicles. By 2030, 30% of all vehicles in Summit County are expected to be electric. Fast forward to 2050, the county government targets to have zero-emissions of greenhouse gases from the transport sector.

According to Michael Wurzel, Sustainability Coordinator for Summit County, there are eight public EV charging stations across the county. Four of them are located at the Summit County Library at Frisco. The other four were installed at the Frisco Transfer Center, and the government plans to add more soon. The county administration is looking to build more charge points at the Courthouse in Breckenridge. The town already has 22 charge points spread across the town hall, recreation center, public works building, as well as the Stephen C. West Ice Arena.

Furthermore, the South Gondola Lot parking center will have about 40 charge stations. The newly constructed structure can accommodate more charging points depending on the demand for EV charging. This information was revealed by Jessie Burkley, Sustainability Coordinator for Breckenridge. In Silverthorne, there are several Tesla charging points serving the public since 2013.

The Summit Community Climate Action Plan (SCCAP) resonates with the initiative by the non-profit organization. Hoover said through creating the plan, they will implement one of the strategies identified to meet the plan’s targets. Summit County, Frisco, Silverthorne, Breckenridge, and Dillon came together to adopt the SCCAP plan.

Hoover’s organization collaborated with key players in Summit County to draw this plan. These include the local authorities, ski communities, Xcel Energy, Charge Ahead Colorado, as well as Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

“We definitely want to make it more convenient for residents and visitors to drive an electric car in our community, but we also understand that purchasing an electric car is still out of reach for a lot of Summit County residents,” said Hoover. To ensure affordability across the county residents, some communities give discounts on second-hand EVs. Xcel Energy has a dozen programs lined up that will back the organization’s and government’s efforts. Similarly, the Colorado administration has laid out plans to prepare for the transition to battery-powered transport.

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