Salem will receive two electric vehicle charging stations as part of a state-wide program that will install 105 electric vehicle charging stations in 25 cities and towns across the Commonwealth.
Salem was the only city on the North Shore to receive the the charging stations; currently there are no electric vehicle charging stations in the city.
"Placing these state-of-the-art charging stations in cities and towns across Massachusetts supports the Administration's clean energy agenda- augmenting our nation-leading efforts in the areas of green jobs, Green Communities, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "We look forward to seeing this innovative resource support municipalities as they embrace new clean transportation options."
The two charging stations will be installed in two public parking garages, one at the Museum Place Mall Garage on Liberty Street and the South Harbor Garage on Congress Street, according to Paul Marquis, the city's Energy and Sustainability manager.
Marquis said the power stations are a great step forward for the city, and should encourage local prospective electric vehicle owners as well as tourists who own electric cars.
"This is part of continued efforts among city leaders to do our part to reduce greenhouse gases and make the city more sustainable overall," Marquis said. "We're doing a lot here in Salem to kind of reinvent the city as a green community."
Marquis said the two stations will each include two pieces of charging equipment, which will allow for a total of eight vehicles to be charged at the same time.
Initially, there will be no cost for charging electric vehicles at the city's stations, which will be located in easily accessible parking areas inside the garage, Marquis said.
The state had invited cities and towns to apply for the grants, which were funded with approximately $280,000 made available through a settlement obtained by Attorney General Martha Coakley's office in 2007 for alleged pollution control equipment violations by an Ohio-based power plant and augmented through a public-private partnership with Coulomb Technologies of California, which received a federal grant to provide installation of electric charging equipment, according to a statement from the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
Other cities receiving the charging stations are: Athol, Barnstable, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Falmouth, Greenfield, Hanover, Holyoke, Hopkinton, Kingston, Lancaster, Lenox, Lexington, Lowell, Nantucket, New Bedford, New Salem, Newton, Northampton, Orange, Tyngsboro and Worcester.
Marquis said if the charging stations draw enough traffic, it's possible the city will move forward with plans to install more charging stations that would take up a larger section of one of the city's parking lots. Either way, electric vehicles are likely here to stay in some form, Marquis said.
"At the end of the day, there will be a certain market percentage that will drive electric vehicles," Marquis said. "It will be part of the ongoing mix."
State Rep. John Keenan, a Salem Democrat, and chairman of the House Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, said he was grateful for the state grants, and believed the charging stations will help the state move closer to it's renewable energy goals.
"Electric cars or electric hybrid cars are becoming more mainstream, and by providing these charging stations in convenient locations more drivers will be encouraged to opt for electric vehicles," Keenan said.
Stewart Bishop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org