In an effort to mitigate human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, the regional electric cooperative plans to implement more charging stations for electric vehicles, known as EVs, in Southern Maryland.

During the Sept. 15 Charles County commissioner’s meeting, they proposed to install up to 60.

Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins (D) spoke to Southern Maryland News on the proposed earth-friendly Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative “EV Recharge” program, saying it “has kind of been ongoing in terms of the development.”

“What was presented today was a proposal by SMECO to install, own and operate EV charging stations at public sites throughout the county,” Collins in the interview.

SMECO is proposing to install up to 60 electric vehicle charging stations, primarily on government owned properties, he explained. “Wherever there is a state or county owned or leased property, it would be eligible,” he said.

During the Tuesday meeting, a SMECO representative briefed attendees with a presentation on charging stations infrastructure and electric vehicles.

Jeff Shaw, SMECO’S vice president of distributed energy and sustainability, said the company is planning to install, own and operate up to 60 stations, receiving approval to commence the project.

“We petitioned the Maryland Public Service Commission in April of 2019,” he said. The company received project approval on July 31 last year.

“We’ve been visibly working on getting theses stations up and installed in the service territory,” he said. “We don’t have any in to date. ... There is a lot of legal stuff that needs to happen behind the scenes.”

Although the process is lengthy, he said, the company is getting “very close,” to having the first set of EV charging station installed and ready for use.

Statewide, he approximated, there are upwards of 26,000 EVs, 1,200 of which are in SMECO’s service territory. “We are looking at a little over 200 EVs in Charles County itself,” Shaw said.

Target sites for stations have been identified. Locations include the White Plains Health Department, the Capital Clubhouse and Waldorf Jaycees.

“We’ve done some preliminary engineering reviews. Things look favorable,” he said.

The project will be fully funded by SMECO, Shaw explained, coming at no cost to the county. “We wanted you to be reassured that SMECO is going to own, operate and maintain these charging networks,” he added.

Beth Groth, planner for the Charles County Department of Planning and Growth Management, explained to meeting attendees the next steps.

“The county is still working on the agreements for the various sites,” she said. “Once we are able to finalize the agreements, those will be forwarded to the county commissioners for signature and then SMECO will begin the construction process.”

Twitter: @MorganSoMdNews

Twitter: @MorganSoMdNews