Alyeska’s EV Charging Station
By Marc Donadieu
Glacier City Gazette
Alyeska Resort and Chugach Electric Association (CE) have partnered to offer guests an electric vehicle charging station. Located in the VIP lot just below the tram, the station can charge two vehicles at once.
Alyeska is the first participant in CE’s Electric Vehicle Charger Research Program, which is seeking up to five commercial members to install charging stations to obtain usage data to support future installations. CE offsets the initial installation cost with $7,500 in exchange for the partner owning, operating, maintaining, paying the electric bill for, and sharing the energy usage data for at least three years.
In a Sept. 16 Alyeska press release, CE’s CEO Lee Thibert states, “We are pleased to be partnering with Alyeska Resort on this electric vehicle charger. Having a public charger in Girdwood is one step toward providing more charging stations in communities around Southcentral Alaska. It will also provide us with needed information that will support future charging developments.”
A short ribbon cutting was held on Sept. 19 to mark the occasion. In attendance for Alyeska were Larry Daniels, Director of Facilities and Security, and Ben Napolitano, Director of Marketing. Representing Chugach Electric Board of Directors were Executive Vice President of Employee Services and Communication Tyler Andrews; Directors Susan Reeves, Rachel Morse, Jim Henderson; and Senior Manager of Corporate Communications, Julie Hasquet. National Car Charging’s Director of Business Development Andrea Tousignant, was present and oversaw the installation days before.
In opening comments, Alyeska’s Daniels said, “We make our living off of the environment. Without an appropriate winter or summer environment, our business model falls apart. We are in the early phases of adjusting our carbon footprint. We’ve implemented an environmentally-sensitive room cleaning program to reduce our footprint there.”
Alyeska generates its own power to a large degree with two natural gas-powered micro turbines, with the heat generated used to warm the hotel. Aging boilers were replaced a few years ago by micro turbines, which run much more efficiently and have the capacity to keep operations running smoothly if the power grid is out.
Alyeska’s Napolitano said its Green Stay Initiative seeks to reduce chemical, energy and water usage. The charging station is part of that program to offer this extra service to EV customers visiting the resort.
Alyeska Resort General Manager Mandy Hawes, stated other benefits in the release: “Along with encouraging EVs to visit Alyeska, we are also offering hotel guests a $5/day food and beverage voucher or a donation to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center as part of our Green Stay Initiative for guests who waive housekeeping on multi-day stay overs. These programs are helping us reduce our carbon footprint as well as our water and chemical usage.”
Andrews explained CE’s involvement saying, “This whole program is made possible by our board’s sustainability point of view. It lets them consider things other than a hard bottom line when they’re looking at projects. While we’ve contributed $7,500 to the installation, we’d like to get five more partners to do this. I’d love to see more of these throughout our service territory.”
Though the application deadline to partner with Chugach for an EV station expired the day of the ribbon cutting, Andrews said it was likely the deadline will be extended with the hope that other area businesses would be interested in the project. CE is hoping the data leads to significantly improving the public charging infrastructure in its service area. Additional stations provide assurance to potential electric vehicle buyers that there are multiple places to charge other than at home.
The cost for EVs to charge at Alyeska’s station is $5 per hour at a five hour maximum. The station is a Chargepoint, and drivers can access it and pay using the Chargepoint app.
The ribbon cutting coincides with National Drive Electric Week, September 14-22. The week is a nationwide celebration to heighten awareness of the widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks and other vehicles.