Ridgeland became home to Entergy Mississippi’s electric vehicle fast charging station this last week – a pilot project and the first company-owned electric vehicle charging station of its kind in Entergy’s four-state service area.
Opening on January 5 at the Renaissance at Colony Park, the $200,000 fast charging station will serve residents in the area and electric vehicle (EV) drivers passing through on I-55 and I-20. Entergy has opened this station with the purpose of being able to study the impact of electric vehicles on the power grid while EV owners use the charging station. Insights on frequency, time of day and location can help the company prepare for improvements that may be needed as power use from electric vehicle drivers increases.
“The complexities of the power grid require us to plan years ahead of when we’ll need infrastructure in place to serve our customers,” President and CEO of Entergy Mississippi Haley Fisackerly said. “By proactively installing this fast charging EV station pilot project, we’ll be able to learn in real time the effects electric vehicle use has on our systems and implement technologies to help manage the demands we expect in the future.”
The charging station consists of two direct current fast chargers that provide up to 120 kilowatts of power and are compatible with many different electric vehicle models. Customers using the charging station pay $.30/kWh and, on average, an EV can be fully charged for $20-$30 within 30-45 minutes.
“It’s important for the public and private sectors to be studying the utilization of these systems now regarding potential growth of electric vehicles in our state and the infrastructure needed to support their use,” Mississippi Public Service Commission Central District Commissioner Brent Bailey said. “I appreciate the efforts of Entergy Mississippi as we all share the goal to better understand the electric vehicle market, infrastructure needs and consumer habits.”
Ridgeland’s Mayor Gene McGee had the goal of making it easier to own electric vehicles in the area and had expressed interest in these charging stations in the past. Now, Ridgeland becomes the home of this first pilot station.
“We strive to continue to offer a diversity of options for our residents and visitors,” McGee said. “The addition of EV Fast Charging at Renaissance will certainly help local EV owners as well as be very convenient for visitors traveling along Interstate 55. This location should aid in sales at Renaissance, which will benefit the retailers and have a positive effect on the sales tax we use to support our city.”
McGee said he does anticipate additional stations will be considered in Ridgeland over time based on the growth of the EV industry.
Madison’s Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler said Madison has not addressed the matter of EV charging stations at this time, and Gluckstadt’s Mayor Walter Morrison said he thinks EV charging stations are a great idea.
“We would certainly be interested, but we have not yet considered installing such stations,” Morrison said.
While this Ridgeland station is just a pilot project, Entergy Communications Manager Leyla Stamey said they are evaluating potential sites within their service area for additional future charging stations.
An estimated 26 million EVs are expected to be on America’s roads by 2030.
“Nissan has been a pioneer in electric vehicles, producing the first mass-market EV – the Nissan LEAF,” Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant vice president of manufacturing David Sliger said. “As we prepare to transform the Canton plant into a center for EV production with two all-new, all-electric EVs in 2025, Nissan applauds Entergy and its innovative efforts toward an electrified future.”
Pilot projects like this one can also help Mississippi towns and cities, as well as the state, understand how they can prepare to meet the demands of EV on their communities.
“Entergy Mississippi’s DC fast charging station pilot program will help us ultimately bridge the ‘charging gap’ on Mississippi roadways in (all areas) rural and urban,” Mississippi Department of Transportation Central District Commissioner Willie Simmons said. “Our hope is that one day, EV drivers will no longer have to bypass our state because of a lack of charging infrastructure which hurts tourism and economic activity. This public and private collaboration
investment will yield great returns for the public sector.”
Entergy Mississippi has supported other electric vehicle initiatives in addition to the direct current fast charging station pilot project. In 2011, through Entergy’s Environmental Initiatives Fund, the company funded electric vehicle charging station installations at universities across its footprint for use by students, faculty and staff, including stations at Jackson State University, University of Mississippi Medical Center and Mississippi State University.
“Now we’re expanding beyond our universities, and we’re grateful to the City of Ridgeland for granting us the permits to construct this charging station,” Fisackerly said. “The lessons we learn through this pilot will help us better advise municipalities and developers throughout our service area as they plan for future electric vehicle charging stations in their area.”
In 2021, Entergy became a founding member of the National Electrification Highway Coalition. Partner utilities in the organization are working to address gaps along major transportation corridors in their respective service areas. Coalition members currently consist of more than 60 investor-owned and municipal electric companies and electric cooperatives collectively serving more than 120 million U.S. electric customers across 48 states and the District of Columbia.