Appalachian Power is administering a program to provide grants towards the purchase of electric school buses across southwest and central Virginia. To date, they have awarded $2.1 million in grants to support 9 electric buses and their infrastructure across five school districts. Four of these districts, Amherst, Campbell, Montgomery, and Washington county schools each received grants to purchase two electric buses, and one district, Bedford county, has received funds to purchase one electric school bus.
Through this program, schools were eligible to receive $250,000 to put towards the cost of the electric school bus, and an additional $4,175 to aid in the cost of the charging equipment and installation. This grant program is part of a settlement agreement between American Electric Power and the Environmental Protection Agency over Clean Air Act Violations. As a result, to be eligible, the awarded school districts had to agree to scrap an existing diesel bus. This replacement requirement encourages school districts to get old dirty diesel buses off the road while replacing them with electric school buses that have zero tailpipe emissions.
In addition to reducing children’s exposure to harmful diesel exhaust fumes and particulate pollution, electric school buses can provide school districts and their communities with several other benefits. The buses are quieter and less expensive to maintain because their motors have fewer moving parts than internal combustion engines, and electricity is a less-expensive fuel than gasoline or diesel.