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Beaumont Enterprise (Opinion): Texas Schools Need Electric Buses

Posted by Suzanne Bertin on Apr 12, 2021

Beaumont Enterprise published a guest column by TAEBA's Suzanne Bertin highlighting the many benefits of school bus electrification, and urging support for related companion bills (SB 1303 by Cesar Blanco / HB 4120 by Joe Deshotel) in Texas. Read excerpts below and the full piece here (sub. req). 

Still reeling from the winter storm emergency in February, Texas now needs to figure out how to protect our state from similar disasters in the future. Here’s one way: Fully integrate distributed energy resources (DERs) like rooftop solar, battery storage and demand response. These technologies, which are located in homes, businesses and institutions all over the state, are capable of producing power, managing electricity demand, and delivering benefits to the energy grid, helping to keep the lights on. But here’s one particularly valuable DER that comes in a surprising package — a simple school bus...

Electric buses provide more than immediate savings. The vehicles are a major investment in resilience, even emergency management. Electric vehicles double as mobile batteries, which can be deployed for backup power — a huge benefit for school buildings that serve as emergency command centers during inclement weather or other disasters. Just drive up the school bus and plug it in…

But more than anything else, school buses are about kids — and electric school buses benefit them most of all. Students spend more than 120 hours a year on buses going to and from school...

How do we get electric buses into school transportation fleets? By helping to reduce the up-front costs of purchasing them. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality currently operates a Clean Bus Program aimed at retrofitting and replacing diesel buses. In this year’s legislative session, a bill package (Senate Bill 1303 by Cesar Blanco / House Bill 4120 by Joe Deshotel) would change the program to prioritize replacing these buses with electrics and enable public-private partnerships to give schools more ways to acquire electric buses at low cost. The legislation would also boost funding options for installing charging infrastructure…

Read the full story here (sub req).

Topics: AEE In The News