California School District Creates Roadmap to an Electric Bus Fleet

(Credit: ENGIE Impact)

by | Dec 17, 2021

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(Credit: ENGIE Impact)

A California school district recently completed a roadmap that supports a transition to a completely electric school bus fleet over the next 20 years.

Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) in El Cajon made the transition plan with the help of ENGIE Impact to fully move the district’s current supply of 67 diesel school buses to an electric fleet. ENGIE Impact is also helping GUHSD secure funding for the electric fleet, including pursuing state and federal grants.

Among those was one from the California Energy Commission that supports the development of the electric fleet roadmap. The school district says the effort also helped it secure eight of its 17 new electric buses through a grant from the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District.

The GUHSD roadmap looked at charging platforms and an optimal mix of energy from the grid and onsite power generation to help with costs and maximize emissions reductions. A study produced by ENGIE Impact found that the electrification of GUHSD’s school buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 86%.

The company will also explore the expansion of school bus routes and the integration of vehicle-to-grid capabilities for GUHSD.

“As a public school district with multiple competing priorities, GUHSD has limited resources to devote to fleet electrification,” says GUHSD Energy Manager Lindsey Danner. “These accomplishments work toward our overall goal to support our community’s educational and environmental needs.”

Currently there are more than 480,000 diesel school buses in the United States, with around 1,000 electric buses already put into service, according to the World Resource Institute. A 2019 study by VEIC Research shows that transitioning to electric school buses can save a district more than $100,000 in fuel and maintenance costs over the life of one bus.

As electrification becomes more of a priority, school bus manufacturer Blue Bird recently said it had more than 400 electric buses ordered or delivered over the past three years. Overall, the electric bus market is said to grow to more than $31 billion by 2027, especially as the cost of batteries declines and incentives increase making them a more practical investment.

School districts have been busy making sustainable transitions in other areas, too, including improving the energy use in their buildings and adding solar projects.

 

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