The Energy District Aims to Change the Climate of Clayton County’s EV Charging Station Desert

Located in the heart of the lush Driftless Region, Clayton County is an electric vehicle (EV) public charging station desert. Exactly one station exists in Clayton County, located between the service bays at Brown’s Sales and Leasing in Elkader. 

While Brown’s offers a no cost, single port charging service it is not necessarily a handy location for visiting EV owners. And it is the only place in this whole, touristy county to charge.

Focused on its mission to strengthen Clayton County communities by leading the inclusive, local and clean energy transition; the Clayton County Energy District (CCED) understands, for Clayton County, tourism is a significant economic driver. The CCED qualified to apply for a 2020 Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation Grant and is proposing a project which would lead to the construction of (4) electric vehicle charging stations to be located in four Clayton County communities.

By building EV charging infrastructure in Clayton County, tourist destination towns will appear on the EV charging station maps, automatically attracting new visitors to local tourist destinations. While waiting to charge their vehicle at 25 miles range/hr these visitors will explore the community, likely spending time shopping, dining and engaging in other entertainment & recreational opportunities.

Jansen explains, 

“EV Owners plan trips based on the location of EV charging stations.” She comments based on personal experience,“We own an all electric Chevy Bolt and we are often looking at the charging station apps to decide where we might tour next. If they have charging stations, we will check out that specific town while waiting for our car to charge.”

According to, by 2025 EV’s will account for one third of global auto sales and by 2030, there will be more EV sales than traditional internal combustion engine vehicle sales. 

Board chairperson, Jim Osterhaus, says

“This is quite a low budget marketing plan to attract new visitors to the county and the full potential is yet to be determined. The future will have more and more EV ownership and not less and less.” 

The project’s proposed EV stations will be dual port, pedestal Level 2 chargers with 7.2kWh of electric output, in which an EV can charge at the rate of 25 miles of range/hr. The CCED is analyzing quotes from EV charging station companies and conditioning these to include a 5 year warranty & 5 year member services plans.

Board member, Tom Klingman (Volga),  is excited about the potential bump to Clayton County’s tourism industry,

“This will be quite a win for the selected towns. They will be getting nearly $16,000 in installed infrastructure for a fraction of the cost. But the big opportunity lies in the added draw of EV owning visitors in search of places to charge vehicles and the subsequent shopping and dining they will do while waiting to charge their vehicle.”

This project will develop an EV charging station in (4) Clayton County communities. A commercial, Level 2, dual port, pedestal charging station will be located in a designated public space determined by the host town. Awarded host communities will also provide a 25% cash cost share. According to Alliant Energy, average power costs to run a charging station is $1000 – $2000/yr.  The hosting communities will set the kWh price for the charging stations. Typical cost for a fully charged vehicle ranges from $4-$8.

“Aside from the draw of getting new people to our towns, the on board LCD displays at each station are added value marketing tools for local events,”  

During July, CCED representatives will attend town council meetings throughout the county answering questions and learning about each town’s interest in hosting a Level 2 EV charging station. In early August, the Energy District’s board of directors will review the letter of intentions to host the EV station. Then, based on the letters, the CCED will determine the location of the proposed stations.