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Wolf Creek Lodge adds electric vehicle charging stations

By Bob Branstrom | Special to The Union

Wolf Creek Lodge Cohousing is celebrating Earth Day 2021 by further reducing its carbon emissions with electric vehicles.

After two years of planning and installation, the lodge recently activated individual charging stations for all 30 households. This major project is in keeping with the community’s core value of living in environmentally sustainable ways. It follows an earlier project in which the lodge installed 55 photovoltaic solar panels to produce more environmentally friendly electricity.

The electric vehicle project was inspired by the early adoption of plug-in vehicles by several residents, beginning in 2015.



“Electric vehicles are the future of personal transportation because of their simplicity of design and low maintenance costs,“ said Richard Carter, the lodge’s first electric vehicle owner. He has traveled in his electric vehicle to Los Angeles; Vancouver, Canada; and the Midwest. He added, “And they are fun to drive!”

As more residents became interested in electric vehicles, the potential number of individual charging stations was limited by the existing electrical infrastructure. A lodge team researched a PG&E pilot program that was installing charging stations at commercial properties and multi-family residences. After a community discussion, the lodge applied for the PG&E program.



After acceptance into the pilot program, planning began with PG&E and its program vendors. Construction began in summer 2020. Several hundred feet of trenching was required and over 1,000 feet of conduit was installed to bring power to a control station and all 30 homeowner parking spaces. To ensure an ample power supply for all chargers, a new high capacity transformer was installed. Work was completed in December and the system was activated in January.

Geoff Pollard, a Wolf Creek Lodge resident and member of the EV Charging Project Team, acknowledged the community’s appreciation for PG&E’s investment in this project, “PG&E’s willingness to upgrade infrastructure for the charging system made this possible. We could not have done this without their help, so we are extremely grateful for their support of this project.”

When the project began, three homeowners had electric vehicles. Anticipating the charging stations, three more joined their ranks during the project. Since project completion, two more households have purchased plug-in vehicles. Over time, more residents are expected to switch to electric vehicles because of the availability of charging stations.

Project Lead Bob Miller said, “The PG&E Program is leading to rapid adoption of electric vehicles at Wolf Creek Lodge. We are proud to be among those setting the pace in Grass Valley for electric vehicle use and the resulting reduction in carbon emissions.”

Bob Branstrom is a resident of Wolf Creek Lodge and a Grass Valley City Council member.

Crews install a transformer. To ensure an ample power supply for all chargers, a new high capacity transformer was installed. Work was completed in December and the system was activated in January.
Bob Branstrom
One of 30 charging ports installed during the project. When the project began, three homeowners had electric vehicles. Anticipating the charging stations, three more joined their ranks during the project. Since project completion, two more households have purchased plug-in vehicles.
Susan Pollard

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