Dominion Energy Virginia plans largest electric school bus rollout in the US

Published on September 03, 2019 by Chris Galford

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Dominion Energy Virginia wants to deploy 50 zero-emission electric school buses in their territory by 2020 and 1,000 by 2025, which would mark the largest electric school bus deployment yet in the United States.

The company notes that the introduction of these buses will achieve several ends: emissions reduction and air quality improvement, along with cost savings for school districts — who will pay no additional cost for the buses, coupled with reduced maintenance and operational costs. Further, they see the batteries installed in these vehicles as a potential boon for the grid, with the capability to be tapped to enhance grid reliability.

“We’re committed to lowering our carbon emissions, but we can’t do it alone,” Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell, II said. “Transportation is the number one source of carbon emissions in the US, and by partnering with this industry, we can expedite the development of innovative, cleaner, more sustainable solutions. We think that electric school buses will provide a wide range of benefits for the customers and communities we serve, including cleaner air, cost savings for school districts, and enhanced grid reliability.”

The project will be divided into three phases: the 50 bus focus, followed by the push to reach 1,000, then to begin replacing diesel buses with electric buses until their complete elimination by 2030. The company noted that once fully implemented, these buses’ batteries will have the ability to power more than 10,000 homes, if need be, when the buses are not otherwise in use. Customers will face no price shifts along the way, either, since Dominion Energy will offset the additional costs of an electric school bus, including charging infrastructure, above the standard cost for a diesel bus.

Manufacturers will be able to submit bids through a request for proposal process over the next few weeks, and school districts will be able to flag their interest in the program next year. Meanwhile, a tele-town hall meeting will be conducted on Sept. 4, 2019, will provide information about the program to curious schools.