If you drive an electric powered vehicle, you can now charge up in Seaside Heights.

The borough has installed six new electric-vehicle charging stations in its downtown area as part of a settlement agreement reached with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to resolve air-monitoring issues in the borough, according to NJ DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe.

These dual-port charging stations will help out drivers heading to this shore community by expanding the state’s electric-vehicle charging station infrastructure and promoting the use of electric vehicles.

“The benefits of driving electric are numerous and vital to the environment as well as quality of life,” McCabe said. “The installation of these stations advances New Jersey’s commitment to protect public health by reducing harmful emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles, improving air quality, and developing renewable and clean energy.”

The DEP and Seaside Heights reached a settlement agreement in August 2017 after DEP Air Compliance and Enforcement inspections found the borough was out of compliance with a number of emissions and monitoring requirements in the operation of three diesel generators at the intersection of Sherman Avenue and Bay Boulevard.

The generators provide power to the borough.

As part of its settlement with the DEP, which included a penalty of $95,600.00, the borough agreed to implement a Supplemental Environmental Project and install the charging stations at a cost of $71,700.00.

The borough paid the $23,900.00 SEP penalty balance to the state.

“It is unfortunate that the Borough of Seaside Heights unintentionally did not comply with certain conditions of our air quality permit as a result of equipment failures,” Seaside Heights Administrator Chris Vaz said. “The Borough strives to protect the environment, which includes both our air and water quality for our residents and those that vacation within our community. We were in a fortunate position to work with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and enter into an agreement that allowed us to install electrical vehicle charging stations within our community to further reduce air pollution. The Borough plans on continuing to install additional charging stations as funds become available.”

Each of the six charging stations will be able to charge two vehicles at the same time.

Four of the charging stations are in the municipal lot at 55 Grant Avenue and the other two stations are in the Ocean Terrace lot at 21 Hancock Avenue.

Charging fees at the stations are $1.50 for the first hour, then $2.00 per hour thereafter.

Parking rates will be discounted for electric vehicles charging at either lot.

Electric vehicle owners can use the ChargePoint app to track their vehicles’ battery percentage and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions avoided.

The app, available for iPhone and Android users, also allows users to locate local charging stations.

By 2023, the NJ DEP estimates that the six stations will prevent emissions of an estimated 300 pounds of volatile organic compounds that contribute to ground-level ozone formation, as well as about 50 tons of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas.

They explain that each ton of carbon dioxide avoided is equivalent to planting approximately 24 trees, according to the ChargePoint app.

Emissions from transportation are a significant concern in New Jersey because cars and light trucks cause about 30 percent of ozone-forming air pollutants and more than 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Ground-level ozone – or smog – is the state’s most persistent health-related air pollution problem.

Ozone worsens chronic lung illnesses such as asthma and emphysema, particularly in vulnerable populations including children and senior citizens.

“The addition of these charging stations will bring attention to the growing need for charging infrastructure across New Jersey and give visitors to Seaside Heights the opportunity to enjoy the nearby attractions while charging their electric vehicles," Richelle Wormley, Acting Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Enforcement, said.

In total, New Jersey has more than 600 public chargers at 250 locations.

Five New Jersey highways also have been federally designated as “Electric Vehicle Corridors,” where fast chargers allow for easy electric travel.

Interstates 95, 295, and sections of Interstates 80, 78 and 287 connect to electric vehicle corridors in neighboring states and throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

“Providing more opportunities for the public to charge electric vehicles with an expanded network of charging infrastructure will help New Jersey move toward a clean transportation future with zero-emission vehicles,” Paul Baldauf, Assistant Commissioner for Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability, said. “Transportation is the single largest source of both traditional air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the state.”

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