With CoBank's support, BEL joined with co-op and municipal utilities across the county to spur more than a billion dollars in electric school bus rebate applications to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean School Bus Program. In August 2022, nearly 2,000 applicants sought to participate in the first round of rebates. More than 40% of the applications were from rural school districts! As a result, brand new electric school buses are rolling out of factories and into their new school communities as the first buses funded by the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program rebates are delivered.
BEL is expecting the EPA to open the second round of rebate funding soon, and in November, the agency plans to announce grant program awards.
Over the past year, BEL has been at events discussing opportunities and challenges around electric bus deployment in Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma, and more, focusing on how electric providers can work to ensure that consumers have a good experience with electric buses as they are deployed across the country. Continuing the trend, BEL will join EPA Region 5 staff at Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services' and St. Croix Electric Cooperative’s Powered by Electricity Event in River Falls, Wisconsin, on September 23 as part of National Drive Electric Week and at the Ohio School Boards Association meeting September 13. As we do at many of our events, we plan to have a school bus at the Virginia Electrification Leadership Summit, announced below.
We will also be talking about electric school buses at the Rural Renaissance Road Show in Bentonville, Arkansas, October 25-27, and we will be announcing several other events over the course of the next month.
To address a key strategy for electric school bus deployment success, BEL recently created a one-page document to urge schools to speak with utility partners early and often as they decide whether to deploy electric school buses, and we are working with EPA and Edison
Electric Institute to create more in-depth resources on this topic.