S.D. utilities passing on electric vehicle station grant dollars
Through two rounds of rebate funding to incentivize build-out of EV infrastructure, more than half of dollars awarded haven't been used
A state-run program to incentivize the buildout of electric vehicle infrastructure in South Dakota isn't being embraced by the energy industry in the Mount Rushmore State.
The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) opened up applications this month for the third round of funding through the Volkswagen Electric Vehicle Charging Station rebate program. The program was created following a 2016 settlement between the automaker and the U.S. government. South Dakota’s share of the settlement funds was $8.1 million, with $1.2 million of those dollars being earmarked for the VW Electric Vehicle Charging Station program.
But after the first two rounds of disbursements, which began in 2021, less than half of the funds — $607,000 — have been used, and of the 15 awards made through the program so far, more than half ended up being withdrawn by the recipients, according to an analysis of state data by The Dakota Scout.
DANR officials won’t answer questions about why so many awardees didn’t use the funds — a spokesperson for the state says DANR doesn’t assess why awarded organizations withdrew, but representatives with the organizations who once pursued the dollars say bureaucratic red tape, rapidly advancing EV technology, supply and demand, and private sector investments have cooled interest in the program.
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