United States power and energy company Dominion Energy has announced plans to develop the country’s largest electric school bus deployment, which will see 1,050 electric school busses deployed in its Virginia service territory by 2025, with an aim to replace all diesel school buses by 2030.
Dominion Energy Virginia announced the plans with the three-fold aim of reducing emissions, providing cost savings to school districts, and enhancing grid reliability.
The initial phase of the electric school bus deployment aims to see 50 buses operating within Dominion Energy’s Virginia service territory by the end of 2020 – without any changes in prices paid by customers. The second phase of the project, requiring state approval, would expand the program to bring an additional 1,000 buses online by 2025.
Additionally, when all 1,050 buses are operational, the buses batteries could provide enough energy to power more than 10,000 homes, serving as an additional grid resource to further support the company’s integration of distributed renewable energy resources such as wind and solar.
The “vehicle-to-grid” technology would leverage the bus batteries to store and inject energy onto the grid during periods of high demand when the buses are not otherwise being used for transport.
The third phase of the project is simply to completely replace all diesel-powered buses by 2030.
“We’re committed to lowering our carbon emissions, but we can’t do it alone,” said Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell, II.
“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.”
“Once again, Virginia is leading the way in promoting electric vehicle technology and improving our environment,” added Governor Ralph Northam.
“This innovative electric school bus program is one of many steps we are taking to make electric vehicles accessible to all Virginians, and we look forward to working with Dominion as they bring electric school buses to communities in all corners of our Commonwealth.”
Replacing Virginia’s diesel-powered school buses with electric versions would result in the equivalent carbon emissions reduction of taking 5.2 cars off the road. If Dominion Energy’s complete vision for 1,050 buses is fulfilled, it would result in the equivalent of taking over 5,000 cars off the road per year – reducing carbon emissions and creating cleaner and healthier air quality.
Dominion Energy will cover the excess costs, including charging infrastructure, above the standard cost for a diesel bus. However, operational and maintenance costs for electric buses are lower than those for diesel buses, and could end up providing a potential reduction of 60% each year for school districts.