Electric school buses will soon be on the roads in Virginia as Dominion Energy moves forward with the nation’s largest electric school bus deployment.
Phase one will bring 50 electric school buses to 16 localities within Dominion Energy’s Virginia service area by the end of 2020. In December 2019, the company selected Thomas Built Buses as the vendor for the buses.
The electric school buses will 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 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. The buses also provide environmental and health benefits through reduced emissions and reduce operation and maintenance costs for schools by up to 60%, notes the company.
“We are excited to move forward with our commitment to bringing the benefits of electric school buses to the customers and communities we serve,” says Thomas F. Farell II, Dominion Energy’s chairman, president and CEO. “This is an innovative, sustainable solution that will help the environment, protect children’s health, make the electric grid stronger, and free up money for our schools.”
This initial deployment will bring electric school buses to each of the company’s operating regions. Localities were selected based on the benefit the batteries would bring to the grid.
This is just the first step in a larger initiative to replace diesel-powered buses with electric buses, the company says. Phase two of the project, with state approval, would expand the program to bring at least 1,000 additional electric school buses online by 2025. Phase three would set the goal to have 50% of all diesel bus replacements in Dominion Energy’s footprint be electric by 2025 and 100% by 2030.
Photo: A Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school bus