HomeGreen BusFederal Resources Available to Help Fleets Plan for School Bus Electrification

Federal Resources Available to Help Fleets Plan for School Bus Electrification

A new $5 million federal program aims to assist school districts with planning for the deployment of electric school buses across their fleets.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation announced the Clean Bus Planning Awards for school buses and transit buses on Feb. 20.

State and local governments, public school districts and charter schools that operate school buses, and tribal governments, private bus contractors and national non-profit associations are eligible. But they don’t win funding. Instead, they will receive technical assistance resources from electrification experts.

“CBPA leverages federal funding to tackle the most challenging aspects of a fleet’s electrification transition and provides direct support to those who need it most,” added program lead Mike Jones in a statement.

Plans can include existing fleet baseline analysis, vehicle electrification feasibility analysis, infrastructure assessment and optimization strategy, procurement and project staging, financial analysis, emissions modeling, stakeholder analysis, workforce considerations, and a recommendation for next steps. The program also strives to set up student transporters for success in applying for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean School Bus Program funds and other federal programs.

Selected applicants can also receive up to three years of assistance with actual electric school bus deployment.

The Clean Bus Planning Awards have a four-pronged approach to electrification. The program seeks to create a vision for deployment and rally unified support from decision makers, stakeholders, and constituents; coordinate internal and external project teams while reducing burden on overloaded fleet managers; establish realistic short-term and long-term targets that are supported by sound technical analysis; and serve as a foundation and reference point for day-to-day operations and zero-emission bus deployment.

Priority will be given to fleets that are recognized by the EPA Clean School Bus Program as domiciled or operating in disadvantaged communities or on tribal land recognized by and eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Also eligible are fleets that are classified as domiciled or operating in disadvantaged community according to the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool.

Online applications are being accepted on a rolling basis.

Related: Report Finds Challenges to California Vehicle Electrification Plans
Related: (STN Podcast E50) New School Bus Rules: Nuances of Mask Mandates & Bus Electrification Plans
Related: School District Superintendents Dive into Fleet Electrification

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