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Electric vehicle charging station in downtown parking lot opens to public in early 2022

You may have noticed some electric car charging stations being installed in Riverhead’s First Street parking lot, behind Woolworth Apartments.

The station is being installed by the New York Power Authority. The project is part of the statewide EVolve NY charging network program, according to NYPA.

The town only had to provide a location for the charging station; all other costs are paid by NYPA, officials said. NYPA will maintain the charging station.

“It was a grant through a NYPA program where we had to achieve certain milestones,” said Ken Testa, the deputy town engineer.

The project comes at no cost to the town, although it won’t get a share of revenue generated by sales.

Mr. Testa said town engineer Drew Dillingham and former town engineer Ernesto Rosini spearheaded the project. 

“People can plug in and go downtown while the vehicle is charging,” Mr. Testa said.

The project will have four charging stations. Three will feature 150-kilowatt charging stations and one will be a 350-kW fast charging station. The fast chargers can be used by any make or model of electric vehicle and can recharge most of the battery capacity in as little as 20 minutes, a NYPA spokesperson said.

The stations will be open to the public, who can pay with a credit or debit card.

The project is about 80% complete but it isn’t expected to be done until February or March because of supply issues. Officials said a transformer still needs to be delivered. The transformer takes power from the PSEG grid and converts it to direct current power, Mr. Testa said.

The state Clean Energy Communities Program aims to encourage towns to adopt certain energy conservation guidelines and clean energy policies such as expedited solar permitting for residential homes, something Riverhead has done, earning the town points from the state, Mr. Testa said.

The town also has converted all of the town street lights to LED and is in the process of converting all of the lights in town buildings to LED lighting, both inside and outside. Mr. Testa said the town is about 80% done on that project.

“As you achieve those points, you become eligible for certain types of grants, which can be used to develop clean energy programs,” he said.

There are several charging stations already up and running in Riverhead Town, according to PlugShare, an online application that tracks locations of electric charging stations. Not all are open to the public. There’s a six-station setup at Tanger Outlets that’s available for public use, for example.