During a busy meeting on Tuesday, the Cortez City Council approved letters of support for three Southwest electric vehicle programs that seek state grants.
The Colorado Energy Office is accepting applications through Friday for its ALT Fuels Colorado Electric Vehicle Direct Current Fast-Charging Corridors Grant Program, which is designed to fund EV charging station infrastructure along six transportation corridors throughout the state.
Three Southwest Colorado organizations – Nikola Power, ChargePoint and the Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency – submitted proposals for charging stations on the Durango-Cortez corridor. After discussing the issue in a workshop, the council members voted to support all three proposals with letters signed by Mayor Karen Sheek.
“I think it’s a great idea, and I believe that this does align with the city’s goals of sustainable, green energy and solar power,” Public Works Director Phil Johnson said.
Johnson said each company submitted a different type of proposal for installing the EV stations. ChargePoint, an international EV charging station company, would partner with existing fueling stations to boost the corridor.
Nikola Power, a Colorado-based alternative energy company, submitted a proposal in partnership with Panasonic, Mortenson Construction and Eluminocity. The consortium of companies would build its own charging station infrastructure on land provided by the city of Cortez or another local entity. Nikola’s design includes solar-powered charging stations and rest areas for EV drivers, Johnson said.
Johnson didn’t have details on 4CORE’s plan because he didn’t know the Durango-based nonprofit had submitted a proposal until interim city manager Chris Burkett told him during the workshop. Burkett said 4CORE’s letter of support would be ready for the mayor to sign Wednesday morning.
Burkett emphasized that signing the letters of support doesn’t obligate the city to support a particular plan.
“Primarily what we’re supporting is the concept, not necessarily either one of the individual entities,” he said.
The city has been considering ways to bring more electric vehicles to Cortez since March, when Laurie Dickson of 4CORE gave a presentation on the issue during a council workshop. The Mancos town board applied for a charging station grant through the nonprofit earlier this month.
The council voted unanimously to approve two letters of support addressed to Zachary Owens of the Energy Office, as well as an additional letter from 4CORE, which Sheek signed Wednesday.
Also Tuesday, the council approved the next step in its fiber feasibility study, designed to determine the most cost-effective way for the municipal government to provide fiber to the home for residents. Council members voted for an amendment to the city’s contract with Finley Engineering, which would pay for additional engineering services to determine the cost of using Cortez’s telephone poles for fiber infrastructure, as well as a public survey to determine the demand for high-speed internet.
The total cost of the engineering and survey are not to exceed $25,185.