On August 29, 2019, Dominion Energy announced a new commitment to help school districts in their service territories replace diesel school buses with electric models. The initiative will lead to the replacement of 50 buses in the first phase and Dominion will add another 200 electric school buses every year for the next five years. Dominion serves customers across eight states including Idaho, North Carolina, Wyoming, West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, Ohio, and Utah. The utility has issued an RFP to select a bus manufacturer and applications for school districts will open September 5, 2019.
Dominion expects the program to generate significant emissions reductions and improve air quality for school districts and the students they serve. In addition to this, the buses will offer up to 60 percent operation and maintenance cost savings potential to the school districts. The buses will also serve as flexible demand response and energy storage resources for Dominion, which will use the program to advance vehicle-to-grid applications. This can add stability to the grid and lower the cost of operation for the utility.
This represents one of the largest commitments to school bus electrification from any electric utility so far. All three of the major utilities in California have been approved to invest more than $367 million in programs that include a focus on school bus electrification. On the public side, the California Energy Commission announced a $70 million award for electric school buses on July 17, 2019, bringing the total program investment in electric school buses under the California Clean Energy Jobs Act to $90 million. Electric utilities in New York, Michigan, and Arizona have also been approved to invest in school bus electrification. Dominion’s program would fall entirely in states that have not yet invested public or utility funds in this technology.