Thursday, April 9, 2015

LUDDITE AWARD FOR ST JOHN'S COUNCIL




The recent debate at St. John's City Hall regarding the purchase of electric vehicles has spurred a wider discussion and increased awareness about the viability and availability of EVs in this province.

I feel that we will be seeing many more EV's on the North East Avalon in the future. While the overwhelming majority of council voted against purchasing the two electric vehicles for its traffic enforcement fleet, the progressive vision of councilors like Dave Lane and Sandy Hickman will prevail. 

Are we really serious about charting a course forward to tackle climate change? 

Electric Cars require less maintenance, benefit the environment and cost about a third less to operate than traditional combustible engines.

The zero emission option is a no brainier to me but many eco-luddites, do not see see a greener future despite global warming and carbon emission targets.

St. John's Council had the opportunity to lead by example, to get the EV trend rolling in this province. An early investment in public charging stations should be still considered as a worthy investment. While the Luddites may consider "bling" plug-in electric car sales continue to increase.

The province needs to take a bigger role in priming the pumps by offering more incentives to municipalities to build public charging stations. The province should also consider offering buyer incentives.

Our energy utilities need to get in the game as well. They should be knocking on the doors of major municipalities requesting to fund pilot projects for building networks of charging stations. Why not offer power customers a rebate when they install a home car charger? The prospect of more electric cars on the road—and plugged into power sockets when they aren't - means higher revenues in the future. It would only be matter of enhancing the existing  takeCharge! program which includes rebates on ENERGY STAR qualified LED and CFL light bulbs, and other energy-efficient everyday products.

With a limited range, it'll be a long time before EVs come anywhere close to being a universal replacement for an internal-combustion vehicle but there's a place for electric vehicles in metopolitan areas like the North-East-Avalon.  A second car for shooting back and forth to work, picking up the groceries, running errands or parking enforcement vehicles.

With the province predicted to increase greenhouse gas emissions as a result of increased oil production and industrial development it makes sense to offset by reducing our individual carbon foot print. 

The development of the clean energy Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project should position us to become a leader in the use of EVs and meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets.










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