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State announces plan to install EV charging stations at parks, forests

New Jersey state parks are among the latest recipients of funding to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure, giving visitors the opportunity to appreciate and protect the environment while quietly charging their vehicles during outings, Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette announced.

In March, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities awarded more than $1 million in grants for the installation of electric vehicle chargers at 24 key tourist destinations across the Garden State as part of New Jersey’s Electric Vehicle Tourism program, according to a press release.

That includes $45,000 to the New Jersey State Park Service for 10 Level 2 charging stations at parks and forests across the state.

In July, BPU announced another round of awards, which included $150,000 for two DC fast chargers that will be installed at Liberty State Park in Hudson County.

In total, BPU has provided more than $5 million in awards to install chargers at more than 60 key tourist destinations statewide, according to the press release.

“The availability of EV chargers at scenic and recreational destinations throughout the state encourages residents and out-of-state travelers to choose New Jersey to charge up and unwind at any of our many destination points, whether it’s a park, down the shore, or at a historic site,” LaTourette said. “We are pleased to offer this new amenity and are excited to see park visitors charge their vehicles while enjoying their day outdoors.”

The Department of Environmental Protection has prioritized which properties to receive the chargers based on electrical feasibility, parking lot layout and structure, and the number of daily and overnight visitors, according to the press release.

Two charging stations are in place and operational at Round Valley Reservoir (Hunterdon County). Other properties scheduled to receive two Level 2 charging stations are Cheesequake State Park (Middlesex), High Point State Park (Sussex), Wawayanda State Park (Sussex and Passaic), and Wharton State Forest – Batsto Village (Burlington).

“During the last two years, the board has taken substantial steps to build out its electric vehicle incentive program and a robust electric vehicle charging network,” BPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso said.

“Our EV tourism program is helping ease range anxiety for residents and visitors alike to the many wonderful attractions our state offers, like our state parks. All of our EV incentive programs are aimed directly at reducing the 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey that come from vehicles,” he said.

Gov. Phil Murphy has set a goal of having 330,000 EVs on the road by 2025, reducing transportation emissions and achieving his goal of 100% clean energy by 2050, according to the press release.

A timeline for the installation and operation of the 10 Level 2 charging stations and the two fast chargers will be announced at a later date. In the meantime, the State Park Service will continue to evaluate opportunities for additional EV charging stations in parks to help reduce energy usage and enhance visitor experience, according to the press release.

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