Wednesday February 28th, 2024 2:07PM

Tallulah Gorge first of six state parks to unveil EV charging stations

By Joy Holmes Multimedia Journalist

Gov. Brian Kemp was the first to plug-in Thursday at Tallulah Gorge State Park’s unveiling of its new Rivian Waypoints electric vehicle charging stations.

“This is really, you know, all part of the big picture for us to be the E-mobility capital of the world and I think we’re doing that better than any state in the country,” Gov. Brain Kemp said at Thursday’s event.

Fort Yargo, Cloudland Canyon, High Falls, Skidaway Island and Wormsloe are among five other state parks and historic sites in line to receive EV charging stations, according to Commissioner Mark Williams with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  

“Last year, those sites had a combined visitation of over 2.5 million visitors,” Williams said. “Offering electric vehicle chargers at these locations will reduce vehicle emissions while bringing visitors to our most beautiful parts of the state,” he said.

Georgia’s EV charging station project was made possible through a partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Power and Rivian Electric Adventure Vehicles, the American automaker behind the $5 billion EV factory located east of Atlanta that was said to bring 7,500 jobs to Georgians, according to its chief legal officer.

“Through this partnership, Rivian is overseeing the installation of these chargers in six of your beautiful state parks and committing to cover the equipment service and maintenance for five years. We’re offering this at no cost to the state or taxpayers of Georgia,” CLO Mike Callahan said at Thursday’s event.

Rivian’s Waypoints chargers are powered by 100 percent renewable energy and are compatible with most electric vehicles, Callahan said.

 Georgia Power President and CEO Kim Greene also spoke at Thursday’s event. She shared that programs like the EV charging station project were made possible under the Georgia Power Make Ready Initiative approved by Georgia Public Service Commission.

Georgia Power’s Make Ready initiative has helped programs by providing construction funds, owning and maintaining infrastructure between the existing electrical grid and new charging stations, and offering rebates and special rates to customers who drive electric vehicles, she said.

The power giant has also partnered with state universities to help train and inspire the workforce of the future for electric transportation.

“We want to make sure that Rivian and others have the workforce they need,” Greene said. “I think about how these chargers will serve thousands of drivers visiting the park in the coming years and the commitment Rivian has made to match the energy used here with renewable credits, and I’m excited about investments we’re making in the state’s electrical grid.”

Gov. Brian Kemp concluded the event with closing remarks on the state’s economic development and growth in part from companies like Rivian and Georgia Power. He has planned to continue to nudge Georgia into the future of technology and automotives to further the economy and attract people to the state, he said.

“People are moving here for good opportunities economically but also for quality of life and that’s what today’s event and commitments both Georgia Power and Rivian are part of,” Kemp said. “It’s also about our environment and [Tallulah Gorge] state park is a way to preserve our natural resources, protect our water and air quality, but also contribute to a great quality of life for our citizens.”

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  • Associated Tags: Brian Kemp, Georgia Power, Tallulah Gorge State Park, EV, Charging Station, Rivian Automotives
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