With interest in electric vehicles continuing to grow, the Nebraska Public Power District is aiming to assist in the addition of charging stations in its service territory.

At the same time, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy is taking applications for its grant program for electric vehicle (EV) charging, called “Charge Up Nebraska,” for businesses, federal, state, local or tribal organizations, transportation planning organizations and nonprofits.

The grant would pay 80 percent of the costs of purchasing and installing a Level 3 DC fast-charging station and a Level 2 charging station at 50 percent.

A DC fast-charging station would allow a vehicle to be charged up 80 percent in a 30-40 minute session. Level 2 charging stations typically take between four and eight hours to charge to full. That’s where NPPD is offering its assistance — helping to make up the difference by several thousand dollars.

“With an 80 percent grant on a Fast Charger, there remains 20 percent of the costs that still must be covered,” said NPPD marketing manager Chad Podolak. “The program NPPD is offering would match the commitment by the organization that is applying. For example, it would be 10 percent commitment with NPPD matching that 10 percent.”

The program would be available to those who are retail customers of NPPD or are served by most wholesale customers of NPPD. The program also will provide grant money for a Level 2 charging station capping at 50 percent. If the organization commits 25 percent, NPPD will match that amount.

“This is an opportunity for a business such as a hotel or local government to provide a charging unit without having to cover the full cost, only a small percentage,” Podolak added. “We believe that within the next four years, there will be multiple electric vehicle model options that Nebraskans desire, particularly various models of trucks and SUVs, that will need charging locations.

“One of the man focuses for electric utilities, such as NPPD and its wholesale customers, is to promote and invest where prudent to build this public charging infrastructure. As the majority of EV charging is done at home at night, new EV electrical load allows better utilization of existing generation, transmission and distribution outages,” Podolak said.

Funds for the state program come from the $12.25 million allocation from the Volkswagen Diesel Emission Environmental Mitigation Trust for state beneficiaries. Up to $1.2 million in rebates are available to install charging equipment at qualified locations. Information and applications on the program can be found at with the application deadline of Nov. 15.

Businesses, local government or other organizations interested in finding out about the matching funds should contact NPPD at 1-877-275-6773 or their local electricity supplier.

In other news

Walter "Ted" Carter, the priority candidate for the vacant position of University of Nebraska president, was in Norfolk Monday to meet residents of the state and share his vision for the university system.

HONG KONG (AP) — Following a day of violence in which one person was shot by police and another set on fire, Hong Kong’s leader pledged Monday to “spare no effort” to halt anti-government protests that have wracked the city for more than five months.

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan man whose hobbies include ritualized combat with replica weapons from the Middle Ages says he wielded a battle ax he calls “my baby” to fend off an intruder.