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The US EPA recently announced the Clean School Bus Rebate Program and will be accepting applications from eligible entities between May and August 2022. The Agency is providing $500 million dollars in rebates to replace older diesel and other internal combustion engine school buses with clean buses, such as electric vehicles. A total of $5 billion will be made available over a five year period (2022-2026) and may be provided via additional rebates, grants or other incentives.
Entities that are eligible to apply include public school districts, nonprofit school transportation associations, eligible contractors, and various tribal entities. Applicants can apply for replacement rebates for up to 25 buses, and school districts that do not own their buses can partner with a Third-party contractor to apply.
If selected, the applicant will receive the rebate in advance of bus purchase, making the process easier for school districts and other eligible entities. Selection prioritizes applicants in rural areas classified as 43- Rural-Remote and 42-Rural-Distant by the National Center for Education Statistics. Additional priorities include high-need and tribal schools. The Agency will use a lottery system to select winners.
In a recent webinar, EPA emphasized the importance of reaching out as soon as possible to the local utility (who’s participation is critical) and registering the organizational applicant via Sam.gov. Further guidance from EPA is expected by late April or early May. Information can be found at https://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/prepare-clean-school-bus-funding
Williamsfield Schools, a founding member of the Bus-to-Grid Initiative (B2G), is beginning to transition its fleet using an electric school bus + solar + storage approach that will allow Williamsfield to produce clean energy, store it in electric school bus batteries, and use this clean energy in classrooms during times of peak demand and grid outages. Tim Farquer, Superintendent at Williamfield has big plans for both his school and his community, “We are not just planning for electrification of our school bus fleet, we are planning to electrify in a way that benefits our entire community.” He emphasized, “Now is the time to start planning and to take advantage of these generous incentives. Don’t wait!”
“This is an amazing opportunity for Illinois school districts to save money, provide cleaner air to students, bus drivers and the community, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And like Williamfield’s program, it can be part of a larger integrated plan,” said Kim Knowles, Energy Specialist at Prairie Rivers Network.
At Prairie Rivers Network (PRN), we protect water, heal land, and inspire change. Using the creative power of science, law, and collective action, we protect and restore our rivers, return healthy soils and diverse wildlife to our lands, and transform how we care for the earth and for each other. PRN is the Illinois affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation.