Fairfax/Dominion Electric School Buses Initiative

Fairfax/Dominion Electric School Buses Initiative

Next year, Dominion will partner with local school districts and begin replacing diesel buses with electric in phases, starting with 50, then adding 200 per year for the next 5 years. This initiative will benefit the environment, communities, and schools. A Request for Proposal for electric manufacturers is underway and the application for school districts will open Sept. 5th, 2019.

Mothers Out Front Fairfax was pleased to be in attendance as a sweeping Electric School Bus initiative was announced by Dominion Energy, MOF Fairfax announced in a statement. The plan will put 50 electric school buses on the road in our state by next year and aims to have all diesel school bus replacements in Virginia be electric by 2030. Mothers Out Front Fairfax applauds Dominion’s initiative.

MOF Fairfax has set a goal of transitioning Fairfax County Public Schools to all electric school buses as soon as possible, so Dominion’s announcement is great news. This is an important, positive step toward giving our kids healthy air to breathe and a livable future in the face of climate change.

“With over 1,600 school buses, the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) system has the second-largest school bus fleet in the nation, after New York City. With the recent RFP (Request for Proposal) to put solar on 130 county buildings (the majority of these schools), the county is taking steps to clean up its electrons,” said Mothers Out Front.

“With this in mind, a group of FCPS mothers organized Mothers Out Front Fairfax County earlier this year and have made electrifying the FCPS bus fleet the centerpiece of their efforts. They met with FCPS facilities staff, School Board Members, and others (such as Dominion Energy staff involved in their projected electric charger program) in their effort to build momentum toward electrifying the FCPS bus fleet.”

Fairfax County Public Schools operates about 1,625 diesel school buses, making it the second largest fleet in the country. In total Virginia has about 17,000 buses. This transition to no-emission buses will have a huge impact on our state and will set a great example for other states to work with their utility companies to produce a similar plan.

Electric buses eliminate the toxic diesel fumes which include carcinogens and other particulates that cause asthma and other breathing issues. It’s a no-brainer for improving our kids’ health, since many of them are on the bus for up to an hour at a time and the fumes are concentrated inside.

Additionally, the 15-year lifespan of a diesel bus is too close to the UN Climate Panel’s 10-year cut-off limit to turn back greenhouse emissions so that we can avoid the worst effects of climate change. Replacing these diesel buses with electric is a concrete way to show our kids that we adults are taking this threat seriously and that we care about their future. They ride on the buses every day, so it will be an impactful change. It’s a perfect first step toward electrifying all transportation in Virginia, which is of course the ultimate goal.

Dominion Energy said they will select interested schools based on the value of the batteries to the local grid.