The demand for electric vehicles is rising in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions. With its current limited electric vehicle chargers, Ithaca College is looking to increase those numbers to support the rising demand and keep up with its sustainability goals. EV chargers on campus have no fee when used, yet the college has to take care of electricity bills and the installation of chargers, and that cost will increase with the expansion and installation of more chargers. The college will need financial support to advance its environmentally-friendly resources. Furthermore, the most ironic part is that the financial support will be coming from NYSEG — one of the largest natural gas suppliers in New York.
NYSEG supplies power and gas to more than 40% of upstate New York’s land mass, which contributes to greenhouse gas emission. While it is understandable that natural gas is currently the leading utility supply in the U.S. and people need it for their homes, it does not justify the fact that NYSEG wants to expand its pipelines. NYSEG is also seeking a rate increase from state regulators, which will allow it to charge its utility customers a higher rate than now. These moves by NYSEG seem to prove that it is simply trying to keep the community on natural gas for its own profit. Even though the college will be using NYSEG’s help for sustainable reasons, it does not undermine the fact that the college will indirectly support the emission problem.
It is important to note that sustainable resources are questionable as well. EV chargers seem environmentally friendly at first sight, however, in reality, they are connected to the power grid. The grid is powered by natural gas, which wears away most of the environmental friendliness of electric vehicles.
Expanding EV charges is a half step toward sustainability goals, but it is not enough. The college should not halt on the installation of more EV chargers but should be mindful of the effects that EV chargers have on the environment.