South Dakota needs grid workers to meet electric vehicle demand
The Biden administration set a target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions electric vehicles
Record-high gas prices have stoked interest in electric vehicles. But Black Hills power providers say improvements are needed in the electric grid to keep pace with anticipated sales.
The Biden administration has set an ambitious target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions electric vehicles.
While that’s the goal, electric utility providers say the state is not ready for that.
West River Electric Co-op spokesman Robert Raker says utilities are not producing enough electricity to meet the Biden’ administration's goal.
"We can’t stop it. That’s what people are wanting. So, we need to make sure that when these EVs come in, they start charging at night. So, what West River Electric has done is developed a rate that incentivizes charging at night," Raker said.
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Raker said West River Electric charges a flat fee of $30 a month to charge an electric vehicle at night when the demand for electricity is minimal, South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported.
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The federal Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act has funding to build a national network of electric vehicle fast-charging stations.
The South Dakota Department of Transportation is looking for feedback on how and where to build a charging network in the state.
"So what we’re trying to get our arms wrapped around is how could this look in South Dakota? I think we’re seeing maybe a little bit of a shift in the consumer market," said Mike Behm, DOT's director of planning and engineering.
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The department also wants input on how to fund the state’s roads in an increasingly electric future since most of the current funding comes from gas and diesel taxes.