Buses By Day; Energy Storage by Night

As part of the Reforming Energy Vision initiative, the New York State Department of Public Service, Con Edison, National Express, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority are participating in a demonstration project to operate five electric school buses throughout the White Plains public school district. The plan is for school buses to operate normally through the year and charge at night, while in the summer months they will be plugged into the grid and used as energy storage assets.

Many bus operators have not explored the possibility of switching to electric buses due to a lack of information and higher upfront costs. This demonstration will hopefully address these concerns if the operators see this plan in action, and generate a higher interest in electric school buses throughout New York and across the country.

The demonstration project outlines all of the positive impacts that this switch can have. Arguably the greatest benefit of this switch is the decrease in diesel tailpipe emissions. These types of emissions negatively affect everyone, but they are particularly harmful to children (who usually ride school buses five days a week in White Plains) and can cause asthma and other respiratory issues. According to the demonstration project, this switch would eliminate 185,000 tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, as well as reducing other harmful pollutants on ground level.

Further, the development of electric storage assets, also known as V2G grid connection, will send power back into the grid system for 6 hours of the day from June 15 – August 30 (when demand for electricity is highest), while charging at night. This will create revenue for the bus operators, offsetting the initial higher cost of purchasing electric vehicles. The lower operating costs, combined with the revenue generating V2G grid connection system should make this very appealing to the NYSDPS.

We are excited to see demonstration projects like this one and hope that the NYSDPS implements it. Our members have already taken action to encourage the use of electric school buses. As part of our Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign, we started a petition asking Governor Cuomo to allocate funding for electric school buses in environmental justice communities.

If this demonstration is put into action, it will set an example for the rest of New York and states across the country, making electric school buses grow in popularity, and give children across the nation a healthier environment.

To read about the full demonstration project, click here.