Longboat Key, Florida | October 24th, 2017 – There’s much to cheer about the recent installation of a public charging station for electric vehicles (EV) in the newly renovated Bayfront Park of Longboat Key.
A vision for the future rather than public demand sparked putting up the island’s first and only EV charging station, Town Manager Dave Bullock told the Observer recently. Dave said the town found it better to install the facility now, as it looks likely that in the future, the island will have more and more EVs.
The Long-term View
On a broader note, this Longboat Key initiative could be viewed as a new step towards better management of the town’s environmental footprint. Though modest at first glance, the charging facility should help advance broader measures to address climate change sure to profoundly affect the real estate sector in Florida’s Suncoast in the near future.
Significantly, Florida Power and Light (FPL) which installed the town’s charging station (and from which its power is drawn) has been increasingly utilizing cleaner solar energy to supply the state’s power grid. Notably, one of the big three solar energy centers that FPL completed and put into operation in 2016 is located in Manatee County. The two others are in Charlotte and De Soto counties, and more are coming—four this 2017 and another four centers in 2018.
What’s even more, the FPL is engaging local communities through its SolarNow program to create opportunities at tapping the sun’s energy using solar carports and “solar trees.” In Manatee County, close to 700 FPL customers have enrolled in this program and a solar carport built. This facility, in its six months of installation, has produced some 46 megawatts of energy which is enough to power more than 7,500 homes.
Kin Initiatives North and South
True, Longboat Key has yet to undertake similar solar-power generating initiatives. However, the town’s first electric vehicle charging station should be a worthy showcase on the values of green energy and the island’s participation toward sustainable development.
Significantly, three similar charging facilities are already operating north of Longboat Key at Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria (which incidentally takes pride in calling itself as a “green city”). South of our town, charging stations are located on St. Armands Key and at Thompson Parkway in Sarasota.
The best news for electric car owners on Longboat Key is that charging their vehicles at the Bayfront Park is completely free, a free fill-up that gasoline-powered cars surely can’t have. The town would be paying the electricity bill for the charger, and Town Manager Bullock said the cost “won’t break us.”
County Efforts and Incentives
The charger cost a total of $55,000, including its construction and installation, which is covered by the $3.5-million outlay for the Bayfront Park’s renovation. Sarasota County picked up half of the charger’s tab through a reimbursement program under its public electric charging stations. This falls under the county’s ChargeUp! program extending rebates to certain types of nonprofits, businesses and local governments to purchase and install electric car charging stations.
It’s indeed noteworthy that Sarasota County has been carving a leadership in electric vehicles in recent years not only through support resolutions but also in its education programs and establishment of local charging stations. The county now notably has Florida’s second largest number of electric vehicles per capita and holds the distinction of being the state’s first local government to adopt electric vehicles to its fleet.
Local initiatives on living sustainably and in harmony with the environment form part of the major factors shaping the real estate industry nowadays. Check with us at Judy Kepecz-Hays team if you’re selling or buying a property in Sarasota & her Islands for more in-depth analyses at how to clinch the best deals the market has to offer.