This blog was written by Anne Blair, former Director of the Clean Fuels Program at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.Guest Blog | November 22, 2017
Earlier this year, the City of Atlanta passed a 100 percent clean energy resolution to begin transitioning the City away from fossil fuels to cleaner, more renewable energy sources. As a part of that goal and efforts to be a top-tier sustainable city, Atlanta Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms, with support from the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and local partners, proposed a new ordinance, 17-O-1654, that would require that 20 percent of all new commercial parking structures and all new single-family residential homes in Atlanta be ‘EV ready.’ The ordinance was passed unanimously by the Atlanta City Council on Monday.
The ordinance means that new facilities will be required to be equipped with the conduit and wiring needed to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. This will help support the transition of the city to cleaner, more affordable transportation — as electric vehicles, over their lifetime, are less expensive to fuel and operate. It will also build confidence among EV drivers that they will have increased access to charge their cars.
As highlighted by the Mayor’s Office of Resilience, this ordinance lays the groundwork for greater deployment of EV charging stations in Atlanta, incentivizes EV deployment, as having convenient, accessible charging is critical to putting more EVs on the road. By requiring new facilities to be “EV Ready,” it also avoids future cost barriers. Installing the infrastructure for EV charging in new construction rather than retrofitting existing structures later could cut costs by more than 75 percent.
Atlanta is a national leader in electric vehicles. More than 25,000 electric vehicles are registered in the state. The City has also committed to converting 20 percent of their fleet to electric and low-emission vehicles by 2020. However, EVs currently make up less than 2 percent of all vehicles on the road in Georgia. This ordinance will help support the transition to EV adoption by creating greater access to charging throughout the City.
Atlanta is not the only city to adopt an ‘EV Ready’ law, but it is one of the most progressive and forward-looking ordinances in the country, and particularly in the Southeast. Other cities that have adopted ‘EV Ready’ laws include New York City, San Francisco, Denver, and New Orleans, among others. As noted by City leadership, adoption of this ordinance is not “only smart and reasonable planning but also an investment in green jobs.” Supporting new technology is good for Atlanta’s and Georgia’s economy. As noted in my remarks before the City Council yesterday, making new EV facilities, ‘EV Ready,’ will help attract more residents and businesses, as EV charging is a factor in where many are choosing to live and work. Not only that, but greater adoption of electric vehicles in Atlanta and throughout the state, will also reduce air emissions and improve public health.
We thank the Atlanta City Council, the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and all of the groups who offered support including EV Club of the South, Nissan, Clean-Cities Georgia, Georgia Sierra Club, ChargePoint, local residents, and several others. This is a great step in moving EV-friendly policies forward in the state.