Dominion Energy Pushing Electric School Bus Plan

bus photoDominion Photo

Many people think electric school buses would be a good replacement for the noisy, polluting diesel buses that now haul Virginia school children to and from school. Dominion Energy thinks so too, which isn’t surprising since it’s the region’s biggest provider of electricity.

Dominion and Gov. Ralph Northam yesterday unveiled what they say will be the nation’s largest electric school bus deployment, aiming to reduce emissions, provide cost savings to school districts and enhance grid reliability.

In the coming weeks, bus manufacturers will be able to submit bids through an RFP process and school districts can express their interest in participating in the program to receive the buses as soon as next year.

The initial phase aims to have 50 buses operating within Dominion Energy’s Virginia service territory by the end of 2020. Phase two of the project, with state approval, would expand the program to bring 1,000 electric school buses online by 2025. Once phase two is fully implemented, the buses’ batteries could provide enough energy to power more than 10,000 homes. Phase three would set the goal to have 50 percent of all diesel bus replacements be electric by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030.

“We’re committed to lowering our carbon emissions, but we can’t do it alone. 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,” said Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell, II. “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.”

Zero emissions

Replacing diesel-powered school buses with electric school buses will have a positive impact on the environment and improve air quality, according to Dominion. An electric school bus produces zero emissions. Replacing a diesel bus with an electric bus is the equivalent of taking 5.2 cars off the road. If fully implemented, by 2025, the program would be the equivalent of removing more than 5,000 cars from the road per year. That means lower carbon dioxide emissions and cleaner, healthier air for everyone, especially children, the company said.

“Once again, Virginia is leading the way in promoting electric vehicle technology and improving our environment,” said Gov.  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.”

Under the program, Dominion Energy will offset the additional costs of an electric school bus, including charging infrastructure, above the standard cost for a diesel bus. Operational and maintenance costs are also lower with electric school buses, providing a potential reduction of 60 percent per year for localities.

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 “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.

For more information about the program, please visit