By - Jim Vess

Dominion Energy launches a program to swap diesel school buses for electric ones

Energize Weekly, September 4, 2019

Dominion Energy has launched a program to replace diesel school buses in Virginia with electric buses starting with 50 vehicles in 2020 and then a second phase – adding 200 buses each year through 2025 – with the ultimate goal of replacing all diesel buses by 2030.

The price tag on the first phase of the program is an estimated $13.5 million, and the cost will not be passed on to customers in their bills, the company said.

“Transportation is the number one source of carbon emissions in the U.S., and by partnering with this industry, we can expedite the development of innovative, cleaner, more sustainable solutions,” Dominion Energy CEO Thomas F. Farrell II said in a statement. “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.”

Replacing a diesel bus with an electric bus is the equivalent of taking 5.2 cars off the road, the company said. The first 50 buses would reduce emissions by 2.7 million pounds.

A fully implemented 2025 program would be the equivalent of removing more than 5,000 cars from the road per year. 

Under the program, Dominion Energy will offset the costs for the electric buses and charging stations above the standard cost for a diesel bus. The company said that since the operation and maintenance of electric buses are lower than those for diesel, school districts could save as much as 60 percent a year on their bus fleets.

The electric school buses could also serve an electric battery storage for the grid. “The electric school buses will also serve as a grid resource by creating additional energy storage technology to support the company’s integration of distributed renewables such as solar and wind,” the company said. “The ‘vehicle-to-grid’ technology leverages the bus batteries to store and inject energy onto the grid during periods of high demand when the buses are not needed for transport.”

Bus manufacturers are being invited to submit bids and school district interested in participating in the program could receive school buses as early as next year, the company said.

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