Cootamundra Library was one of the locations identified.

The local council approved a submission for grant funding for an Electric Vehicle (EV) destination charging site at the Cootamundra Library during Tuesday night’s ordinary council meeting held in Cootamundra. The council also approved a submission for an Expression of Interest (EOI) for an EV fast-charging site at Albert Park. The charging site at the Cootamundra Library would include the installation of four destination chargers so that tourists and locals could charge their electric vehicles while visiting shops, cafes and parklands in central Cootamundra. Councillors were presented with a comprehensive feasibility study regarding the installation of the EV charging stations. In a report to the council, manager regional services Cootamundra Wayne Bennett said the objective of the feasibility study was to evaluate the economic, environmental, and social viability of implementing such stations, considering the potential benefits they can bring to the community.

“The findings suggest that installing EV charging stations in Cootamundra is a feasible and forward-thinking initiative that aligns with the council’s sustainable development goals and commitment to renewable energy adoption,” Mr Bennett said. “The rapid growth of electric vehicles globally has necessitated the integration of charging infrastructure to facilitate EV adoption and address the associated energy demands. Cootamundra has a unique opportunity to embrace this transition, ensuring residents and visitors have access to convenient, sustainable transportation options.” Mr Bennett said the demand for EV charging stations in Cootamundra is expected to increase steadily in the coming years due to the growing popularity of electric vehicles. He outlined the benefits of installing the charging stations, including:

* Encouraging residents to switch to electric vehicles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions; * Attracting eco-conscious visitors and tourists to the town; * Supporting local businesses by increasing foot traffic and dwell time; * Enhancing Cootamundra’s reputation as a progressive and sustainable community; * Generating jobs and stimulating the local economy through installation, maintenance and operation; and * Improved travel planning and extended length of visits.

“As of 2023, it was identified through the charger locator platform that there are currently no EV chargers in the Cootamundra region. EV’s travelling through Cootamundra currently rely on chargers in neighbouring towns and need to plan their trips accordingly,” Mr Bennett said. “The library carpark is a candidate for four 7kW wall mounted destination chargers to service four car parking spaces. This site should be considered a high priority for a round 2 destination charging grant application. It is centrally located close to a range of local shops, restaurants and businesses. “This is an attractive location for visitors to park whilst they visit Cootamundra. EV drivers could be expected to park here for 30 minutes or up to a few hours and would also suit future council-owned electric vehicles to charge at this location.” Mr Bennett said an analysis of the economic feasibility indicates that the installation of four destination EV charging stations at the Cootamundra Library is viable. The initial capital cost, including equipment, installation, 1 year of software usage and associated infrastructure is estimated at $19,656, with the council contributing $4,914. Mr Bennett said a vehicle charging at this location will consume approximately $1.50 per hour of charging. One 7kW charger that is used for an average of four hours per day will cost approximately $2,000 per annum in electricity to operate, resulting in approximately $8,000 per annum for this site.

“A possible way of minimising if not remove any operational costs would be to install appropriate solar power generation and battery storage, with panels to be located on the library and council building roofs,” Mr Bennett said. “The capital costs for the capital infrastructure would be sought from grant opportunities.” The proposed Albert Park site for four ultra-fast chargers would require a new substation to be installed. Mr Bennett said that for this type of charging, the council would need to undertake an Expression of Interest and enter a leasing arrangement with a fast-charging provider. “Fast charging sites have the potential to generate revenue from ongoing lease agreements. All capital costs and operational costs will be paid by the fast-charging provider,” he said. “Depending on the agreement, council may need to invest partially in the initial civil works.” The council also approved the seeking of grant funding to cover the capital costs associated with the installation of solar panels and installation of battery storage to help offset the EV charging stations annual operating costs and to remove any carbon footprint.