Mayor Dobies Proclaims Earth Day in Jackson, Calls on City Council to Pass Policy Paving Way for Electric Vehicles
Dobies Cautions City To Avoid Losing Competitive Edge, Embrace Clean Energy and Electric Vehicles
Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies today signed a proclamation declaring April 22nd “Earth Day” in the City of Jackson and called on his colleagues on the City Council to support policies that will keep Jackson economically competitive as the future steers towards electric vehicles. He announced plans to introduce an ordinance requiring new developments in Jackson to prepare for adoption of electric vehicles by making some sites EV capable or EV ready, and installing charging stations at others.
“We must ensure our site planning is conducive to the mass adoption of electric vehicles if our city hopes to remain economically competitive — businesses don’t want consumers driving past Jackson to spend their money elsewhere,” said Mayor Derek Dobies. “This policy not only builds a cleaner and greener future, but plans for new energy tech in a way that supports a vibrant economy and saves on long-term infrastructure costs. And we have a great local partner in Consumer Energy to help make it a reality.”
Dobies believes the race for EV charging has already started, and that communities like Traverse City and Ann Arbor are incorporating electric vehicle charging stations into their broader economic development and tourism strategies. He’s already asked the city’s Planning Commission to work on a draft policy similar to Ann Arbor’s EV parking ordinance for review by the City Council. Dobies said he has been working with EV charging companies, like Blink, and has sought the input from leaders at Consumers Energy on the proposed ordinance as well.
Consumers Energy began installing free, unmetered charging stations at city-owned parking garages in 2011, and since then has installed more outside its downtown Innovation Center and in the city’s parking lot behind city hall. In 2018, then Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe joined Mayor Dobies at the city’s first State of the City address to announce the formation of a Smart Energy District to further drive the next generation of energy technology, including electronic vehicle charging.
This week, Consumers Energy announced plans to power 200 fast-charging stations for EVs, and 2,000 chargers at homes and businesses, in the next three years. The utility company plans to use its PowerMIDrive program, which offers various rebates for chargers. Public fast chargers can get up to $70,000 in rebates.
“With Consumers Energy’s incentives, it’s a no brainer for communities and businesses not to take full advantage of this,” said James JOHNSON Jr., a City Planning Commissioner and Organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 252. “We have skilled trades workers here locally to do this clean energy work, it helps businesses remain competitive and saves them expensive retrofit costs if we start this planning now. It’s a win-win.”
About 1.5 million electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in the last decade, and the Edison Electric Institute forecasts over 18 million electric vehicles will be on U.S. roads by 2030. Dobies said he hopes to be able to bring a final draft ordinance to City Council by its July 14, 2021 meeting.