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Rural residents are more vulnerable to a winter wave of COVID-19, branding could be key for rural communities attracting newcomers, and the Lummi Nation's totem pole made it from Washington state to D.C.

MN's EV Infrastructure on Verge of Big Growth Spurt


Monday, August 8, 2022   

By 2030, Minnesota wants 20% of all light-duty vehicles on its roads to be electric. But a lot of charging stations are needed to help achieve that goal, and clean-energy advocates say there's positive movement in that direction.

Supporters of electric vehicles, or EV's, point to Xcel Energy's new proposal, which involves adding 750 high-speed charging stations, as a big step in building up the region's capacity.

Along with commitments from other utilities there's also $68 million from the federal infrastructure law to help add locations. M.K. Anderson, senior policy associate for energy transition for Fresh Energy, said these are all important steps.

"So," said Anderson, "if all of this happens, our state will be just incredibly equipped for the EV revolution that is coming."

Xcel's plan, which still needs to be considered by regulators, includes figuring out locations in rural areas where charging stations are harder to come by.

The utility estimates roughly 8,000 public fast-charging ports are needed statewide as Minnesota prepares for the market shift toward EV's. Xcel's plan does call on ratepayers to help cover construction costs.

Right now, less than 1% of vehicle registrations in Minnesota are EV's.

Tim Sexton, chief sustainability officer and assistant commissioner for sustainability and public health with the state Department of Transportation, said boosting infrastructure will play a big role in convincing more car-buyers to change their approach.

"I think it's really important that people see those chargers out there," said Sexton, "you know, to help them think about opportunities for EVs."

As the state bolsters this infrastructure, Sexton said they're trying to be mindful of how people use these vehicles, depending on their location.

"In the Twin Cities metro," said Sexton, "a lot of people, you know, may only be driving 20 miles a day and may have access to charging at work and they don't need, necessarily, the same kind of public chargers - or at least not as frequently - as people who live in rural communities because they need to travel further."

Disclosure: Fresh Energy contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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