MOREHEAD CITY — A church in Morehead City was selected as one of the recipients of a statewide grant to establish an onsite electric vehicle charging station.
Unitarian Coastal Fellowship, at 2900 Bridges St., received the grant from the N.C. Volkswagen Settlement Program, administered through the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. The VW Settlement Program is the result of an agreement between German auto manufacturer Volkswagen and the U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that was set up in the wake of Volkswagen violating federal clean air standards regarding vehicle emissions.
To manage North Carolina’s share of the settlement, totaling more than $30 million, NCDEQ outlined a three-phased plan using the funds for a variety of mitigation projects aimed at reducing harmful vehicle emissions. The department set aside around $1.15 million for the first phase of a program to establish Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state.
UCF was one of 29 recipients in the latest round of awards for the Level 2 charging station projects. According to NCDEQ, the church will set up a charging station with two ports with a total capacity of 7.2 kW.
Harriet Altman, who serves on the UCF Green Sanctuary Committee, helped lead the effort to apply for the grant. She said the funds – $8,000 total – should cover the majority of costs associated with purchasing and setting up the charging station. The station will be installed outside a new fellowship hall the church is constructing that should be complete by late summer or early fall.
“One of our biggest missions is to be as environmentally sustainable as possible, and we thought this fit well in that mission,” she said.
Once it’s built, the charging station will be available for use by the general public, which was one of the requirements to receive the grant. Ms. Altman said she hopes the location of the church at a busy intersection of Bridges Street helps increase visibility for the charging station and make a statement about UCF’s stance on the environment.
Penny Hooper, who also serves on the green sanctuary committee, said UCF plans to eventually install solar panels on the roof of its new fellowship hall, as well.
“Our goal is to show our care for God's creations by actions that will reduce our Carbon footprint,” Ms. Hooper said in an email to the News-Times Monday. “We recognize that there will be a rapid move to electric vehicles by 2030 to fight climate change and we want to support that action.”
UCF is the only site in Carteret County, so far, to be awarded a grant through the VW Settlement Program.
To date, NCDEQ has awarded $918,000 in funding for 59 projects out of $1.1 million available for phase one of the program, which includes $496,000 awarded in the most recent round of grant awards. NCDEQ plans on awarding more grants in a second phase of the project but has not yet released information about when the second phase will commence.
Other projects in phase one include $12.2 million for school bus replacements, $6.1 million for transit bus replacements and $4.2 million for on-road heavy duty equipment, including refuse haulers, dump trucks and debris trucks.
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