A program administered by Appalachian Power is helping Virginia school systems purchase buses powered by electricity. To date, the company has awarded $2.1 million in grants to five school systems across southwest and central Virginia toward the purchase of nine energy efficient buses.
Amherst, Campbell, Montgomery, and Washington county schools each received grants toward the purchase of two electric buses. Bedford County received funds to aid with the purchase of one bus powered by electricity.
Schools were eligible to receive $250,000 per-bus, plus an additional $4,175 to aid with the cost of charging equipment and installation. To qualify, the school system had to agree to disable or scrap a conventional diesel bus and replace it with a new electric model. About $300,000 in grant funds remains available for school systems in Appalachian Power’s Virginia and West Virginia service area.
“This is an exciting time for schools,” said Chris Beam, Appalachian Power president and chief operating officer. “Electric school buses are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than traditional diesel buses, and we’re honored to partner with our communities on this project.”
With electric school buses, children’s exposure to harmful diesel exhaust fumes and particles plummets, according to a release from the company. The buses are quieter and less expensive to maintain because their motors have fewer moving parts than internal combustion engines, and electricity is a less-expensive fuel than gasoline or diesel, the release stated.
The grant program is part of a settlement agreement between American Electric Power and the Environmental Protection Agency over Clean Air Act violations.
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is part of American Electric Power, which is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions. AEP’s approximately 16,800 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 223,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.5 million customers in 11 states. AEP is also one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 30,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 5,500 megawatts of renewable energy.