Electric vehicles take center stage in Kingston


Hein mingles at Saturday’s event

KINGSTON – Dozens of electric cars were on public display this weekend, at the Ulster County Office Building parking lot in Uptown Kingston, part of the Sustainable Saturday program highlighting alternative energy options. Monday starts Climate Week, aimed at raising energy awareness.
Other exhibits included solar farms, pipeline activists, composting collectives, and electric powered bicycle demonstrations.
During the outdoor event, Ulster County Executive Michael Hein accepted a Bronze Climate Smart certification for all of its accomplishments toward sustainable energy from acting DEC Regional Director Kelly Tuturro. Ulster County is New York’s third bronze certified government entity, following Kingston and the Village of Dobbs Ferry.
“It pleases me to say that Ulster County is the most environmentally friendly county in the State of New York; 100 percent of our electricity comes from renewable resources and we are the only net carbon neutral county in the entire state,” Hein said. “But, we can do better,” he said. “Huge portions of our fleet are now moving to alternative fleet vehicles and we are going to do more.”
Tuturro challenged Hein to achieve the state’s first silver certification. Kingston Mayor Steven Noble vowed to give Hein a run for his money.
“Mike and the county staff are going to be in for a little bit of fight, on that silver certification,” Noble warned.  “The city was getting a little lonely in their bronze certified category; we’re really glad to have a partner in this. The county has done so much to be able to lead by example. It’s something that’s reasonable, prudent and the right thing to do,” he said of the initiative.
Just last week, Noble said, the city council approved purchase of two new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicles for the city fleet. “For each of our cars, were saving $4,700 off the purchase price, by participating with other communities,” he said. An additional grant of $5,000 each brings the total price tag down to $23,000 per car.
“It’s really wonderful for our taxpayers, because we are now going to own vehicles that will continue to give us savings, year after year after year,” Noble said.  “Now we need to work on increasing our electrical charging stations. The county executive has done an amazing job electrifying Uptown Kingston. Anyone coming off the Thruway can plug in, stop and shop at one of our restaurants.”
Noble noted the spaces are getting full, making it harder for him to park and recharge his own personal family EV.
“We have to make sure that Downtown and Midtown have the same type of infrastructure,” Noble said of the electrical vehicle charging stations provided free of charge by the county.
Existing stations include the County Office Building, the County Courthouse, the County Jail, Social Services, Health Department at Golden Hill, and the SUNY Ulster campus at Sofie Finn on Marys Avenue. Thruway rest area also features high-speed EV charging stations. See interactive map http://www.plugshare.com
Hein extended kudos to County Legislator Manna Jo Greene, chair of the Ulster County Climate Smart Committee, who was joined by Rosendale Town Councilwoman Jen Metzger, and members of the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition.
“It pleases me to be able to say that Ulster County is the most environmentally friendly county in the State of New York,” Hein said. One 100 percent of electricity is renewable, and the municipality is net carbon neutral, he said.