Smart, Reliable and Accessible EV Charging Network for Contra Costa County: Winning State and Federal Funding through Regional Collaboration - CivicWell

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Smart, Reliable and Accessible EV Charging Network for Contra Costa County: Winning State and Federal Funding through Regional Collaboration

By Brendan Havenar-Daughton, Energy Manager at Contra Costa County

Climate Change & Energy


March 14, 2024


Beginning in 2022, Contra Costa County launched a County-wide Transportation Electrification Coordination group (aka C-TEC) to advance planning and implementation of the County’s EV Readiness Blueprint.  CTEC is a space for local government staff to share, learn and act on opportunities to ensure a reliable and accessible EV charging network across Contra Costa County. Each January, CTEC members come together for a 3-hour in-person planning workshop to advance EV Readiness Blueprint goals.  During these workshops, CTEC members wrestle with the tensions and challenges that exist between Blueprint priority activities and identify the areas of work that produce the highest value through collaboration. What is the smartest first step? How do we tackle complex equity issues while meeting the urgent need to build out EV charging infrastructure?  What role should local government play in the design, construction, and maintenance of EV Supply Equipment? Which grants are we aligned to win? The answers to these questions have helped shape the CTEC work plan which has led us to win federal funding.

In January 2024, Contra Costa County was awarded a $15 million grant by the Charging and Fuel Infrastructure Grant Program through the US Department of Transportation. This grant will fund the design, construction and operation of 52 DE Fast Chargers and 60 Level 2 chargers across 15 county library facilities. Library sites are located in critically important geographies across the county, serving some of the most impacted communities. Most of these projects will provide EV charging to communities that remain underserved by EV charging vendors – these projects serve as an EV charging oasis in areas that can otherwise be described as “EV charging deserts.”

Contra Costa County continues to seek critical funding from the CEC for government fleet charging infrastructure with the support and commitment of CTEC stakeholders. County staff is working though CTEC to compile fleet data from all 19 city jurisdictions in the county, and their respective fleet electrification plans, to justify the need for local government-dedicated EV charging stations. 

Regional collaboration has proven to be a critical tactic in the County’s strategy to advance county-wide transportation electrification goals. The annual CTEC workshops serve the important role of bringing local government staff together to brainstorm solutions to overcome challenging barriers to achieve EV Blueprint goals. 

The January CTEC workshop included discussions of funding strategies for state and federal grant opportunities, mapping future charging stations, workplace charging policy, and electrifying medium-and-heavy duty vehicles. Attendees participated in a mapping activity that asked them to populate maps of their respective jurisdiction with local knowledge, specifically related to transportation patterns and fleet vehicle locations.  Equity and accessibility were central themes, focusing on installing EV charging infrastructure in underserved communities. Strategies addressed barriers such as rural charging infrastructure, affordability, and curbside charging. 

Amongst all the topics explored at this year’s CTEC workshop, the commitment to regional collaboration emerged as a valuable theme. Through partnership, communication and coordination, local governments can better prepare for the challenges presented by complex transitions like the electrification of our transportation systems. Through close collaboration, local governments are able to win more funding, produce better plans and ensure high quality outcomes for their respective communities.