Richmond, Va. -- Dominion Energy announced an initiative that will begin transitioning school buses across Virginia from diesel fuel to electric power. Citing benefits to air pollution, climate emissions and school operating budgets, Virginia’s largest utility outlined what it called the largest school bus electrification initiative in the nation. The first phase will provide 50 electric buses to school districts in Northern Virginia, Central Virginia and Hampton Roads. Dominion will pay the price differential between an electric school bus and it’s diesel counterpart as well as the cost of charging infrastructure. In subsequent phases, Dominion plans to make the program available for up to 1,000 buses after five years and all school buses beginning in 2030, pending state approval.
Elly Boehmer, state director of Environment Virginia, released the following statement:
“Dominion’s announcement is an important part of addressing climate change and protecting the health of thousands of school children across the commonwealth. Transportation accounts for nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in Virginia and school buses are some of the dirtiest vehicles on the road. They compound the climate crisis and pollute the air our children breathe everyday on their way to and from school. Programs like the one unveiled today are essential if we want to chart a path to cleaning up our air and fighting climate change.
“Addressing emissions from cars, trucks and buses must be at the center of Virginia’s work to combat climate change. Electric school buses help immediately as they produce no tailpipe emissions and they help our future by reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions. As Virginia gets more of its energy from clean sources like wind and solar, the climate impact of electric school buses will continue to decline.
“With lower fuel and maintenance costs, electric school buses have a lower lifetime cost than the dirty buses on the road today. Dominion’s program helps schools offset the upfront costs of electric school buses and makes the transition financially feasible for school districts.
“We encourage school districts across the Commonwealth to take advantage of this opportunity by applying for this program. We encourage our state legislators to facilitate the full expansion of this program as quickly as possible. And we call on Dominion to work with stakeholders to design and introduce more creative programs like this. The transition to electric transportation can’t end with school bus fleets. We must transition transit buses, police vehicles and heavy duty vehicles across Virginia.
“We talk often about the "future generations" that will be affected by climate change. Those future generations will be boarding school buses across the commonwealth five days a week for the next nine months. We’re thrilled that the buses they board will soon not only protect them on the ride to and from school, but will also protect the climate and the world they are bound to inherit.“
Environment Virginia is a statewide, citizen based environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water and open space.