One Chittenden County school district will be rolling cleaner this year with four new electric school buses.
The South Burlington School District will start the school year with two electric buses and will receive two more later on.
“We are excited to be able to offer our students the opportunity to ride on emissions-free transportation for the first time in our District’s history,” said Communications Coordinator Corey Burdick in a statement for the South Burlington School District. “This initiative furthers the district’s goals around climate change mitigation and is in alignment with the ways we have been partnering with the city on renewable energy.”
Vermont has been systematically swapping out gas-guzzling buses for battery-powered ones a few at a time. South Burlington joins several districts across the state that have received electric school buses.
During the 2021 school year, the Champlain Valley School District which serves Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, St. George and Williston received two buses. The Franklin West Supervisory Union and the Barre Unified Union School District also received two each. These districts were part of a pilot program to evaluate whether electric school buses were feasible to deploy, maintain and would stand up to Vermont winters.
Burlington students who take public transportation to school through an arrangement with the school district also may ride one of the electric Green Mountain Transit buses.
The new South Burlington buses will include vehicle-to-grid bus chargers that can transfer stored energy into the electric grid during peak usage, reducing emissions and benefitting all Green Mountain Power customers.
To support the purchase of four electric school buses, the South Burlington School District received $965,000 from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation which included state funds from an environmental settlement from Volkswagen. Green Mountain Power is also provided $55,000 toward the partnership which allows the buses to generate energy for the power grid via the vehicle-to-grid chargers.
“Vehicle-to-grid is an important part of our growing network of stored energy which is delivering results now for Vermont by saving millions in costs for customers while cutting carbon and making communities more resilient,” said Mari McClure, Green Mountain Power president and CEO in a statement. “We’re so proud that Vermont is leading the way in this critical energy transition and that more Vermont students can travel to school with cleaner air.”
You can see the electric buses in person. Two of South Burlington’s buses will be on display at SoBu Nite Out, Thursday, Aug. 25 from 5 to 8 pm The event is at Veterans Park located at 1000 Dorset St. in South Burlington.
Contact reporter April Barton at [email protected] or 802-660-1854. Follow her on Twitter @aprildbarton.