Dominion Energy moves forward with electric school buses

Updated: Jan. 16, 2020 at 8:32 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Electric school buses will soon be on the roads of Central Virginia, as well as other locations across the state.

Dominion Energy is moving forward with the nation’s largest deployment of electric school buses, which will include 50 buses in 16 localities.

The electric school buses will help enhance grid reliability, reduce emissions and help schools save money.

“We are excited to move forward with our commitment to bringing the benefits of electric school buses to the customers and communities we serve,” said Dominion Energy Chairman, President and CEO Thomas F. Farrell, II. “This is an innovative, sustainable solution that will help the environment, protect children’s health, make the electric grid stronger, and free up money for our schools.”

Richmond will get 4 buses and local counties that were chosen, like Powhatan and Chesterfield, are going to get 2 buses each.

“The air quality inside of a school bus is 5 to 6 times worse than standing outside of a school bus, so it is detrimental to students, as well as the driver," said Dan Weekley, Dominion Energy’s Vice President of Innovation Policy and Implementation.


He says the buses are easier to maintain, giving the districts some extra savings, about $600-700 dollars per month per bus.

Weekley adds that the first phase of the program covers the first 50 buses, but in order for Dominion to build up and operate the fleet past 50 buses, Senate Bill 988 would have to be signed by Governor Ralph Northam.

The following localities will have the electric buses in phase one:

  • Alexandria
  • Arlington
  • Charles City
  • Chesapeake
  • Chesterfield
  • Fairfax
  • Hampton
  • Louisa
  • Middlesex
  • Norfolk
  • Pittsylvania
  • Powhatan
  • Prince William
  • Richmond City
  • Virginia Beach
  • Waynesboro

In a statement, Richmond Public Schools superintendent Jason Kamras said in part that the district is “committed to making RPS a ‘greener’ and environmentally-conscious division and we are taking bold and important steps toward this goal.”

If phase two is approved by the state, the next step would be for at least 1,000 additional electric buses to be brought into service by 2025. Once completely implemented, the buses’ batteries could provide enough energy to power more than 10,000 homes.

“Phase three would set the goal to have 50 percent of all diesel bus replacements in Dominion Energy’s footprint be electric by 2025 and 100 percent by 2030,” Dominion Energy said.

Weekley says that the deployment of the first 50 buses will not impact any customers, but after 1,000 buses, customers may see an increase - under $1.00 - in their month electric bill.

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