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Fairfax County’s electric vehicle goals clouded by rising infrastructure costs

An electric vehicle charging station at the Herrity Building in Fair Oaks (staff photo by David Taube)

Fairfax County hopes to rely entirely on electric and non-carbon-emitting vehicles by 2035, but projected costs could become an obstacle.

While the county government already has electric vehicle charging stations across several parking garages, future installations could require double or triple the current estimated cost of $75,000 per site, Kambiz Agazi, the director of the county’s Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination, reported on Tuesday (May 17).

“Cost estimates have been upended by the pandemic-related market disruptions” to construction, he told the Board of Supervisors during its environmental committee meeting, adding that staff are tracking Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grant possibilities.

According to the staff presentation, county sites slated to get electric vehicles or new charging stations within the next year include the Public Safety Headquarters, a maintenance facility on Jermantown Road, and the Herndon-Monroe parking garage.

County staff are also evaluating police stations for a pilot project that could start at two stations.

Fairfax County’s planned electric vehicle projects for 2022 (via Fairfax County)

Meanwhile, the county is finally starting to see some progress on the dozens of solar energy projects it has in the works.

Solar panels could be added to the Sully Community Center this summer. A third party could also install panels on the Lorton Community Center, but a lease wasn’t finalized at the time of the presentation.

In addition, the county is spending nearly $3.9 million on projects to improve energy efficiency at the Cub Run and South Run RECenters as well as the Fairfax City Library. Upgrades include lighting, electricity, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Construction is currently underway on those three projects and is expected to finish this year. The changes will reduce the facilities’ annual costs by $153,000 per year and reduce their carbon dioxide equivalent by approximately 1,245 tons, according to the county.

That translates to removing nearly 271 vehicles from the road per year.

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