The Beneficial Electrification League (BEL) recently announced a new initiative to accelerate the deployment of electric school buses (ESBs) in electric cooperative service territories across the country.
BEL launched this coalition effort in advance of federal funds targeted to electric school buses in the Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs act passed by Congress in 2021.
Of the nation’s 13,185 unified school districts, rural electric co-ops serve more than 50 percent of the territory in 5,881 districts. Of these, 3,177 districts report that 15 percent or more of the student population is below the poverty line.
The effort brings together cooperative organizations representing more than 300 local utilities in more than 20 states with the aim of facilitating coordination between utilities and school districts on electric school bus programs.
“The aim of this program is straightforward: no school district or utility should miss out on that opportunity simply because they lack access to information or resources to participate in this valuable federal program,” said Keith Dennis, president of the Beneficial Electrification League.
“We want to help our member communities modernize their transportation fleets with higher performance, lower maintenance and cleaner electric school buses,” said Brian Callnan, vice president of Power Resources and Access at the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, which serves 118 communities, including communities in remote areas.
Rural electric co-ops serve more than 50 percent of the territory in 5,881 of the nation’s school districts.
“Our pilot battery electric school bus project has been successful in our cold climate with longer suburban routes and is beloved by the driver, students, transportation provider, and community,” said David Ranallo, director of Culture, Communications, Marketing & Member Services. “Great River Energy is eager and ready to join the nationwide cooperative network to make this project replicable and equally successful for students everywhere.”
“Colorado’s rural electric cooperatives are excited to partner with our schools to bring the benefits of electric school buses to communities all across the state,” said Kent Singer, executive director of the Colorado Rural Electric Association. “We believe these buses can bring a lot of benefits to students, the school systems, and the electric cooperative community.”
Cooperatives participating in the electric school bus initiative are listed below, and include four NCBA CLUSA members: Hoosier Energy, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative and Roanoke Electric Cooperative.
Generation and Transmission Cooperatives
Dairyland Power Cooperative (representing 24 electric cooperatives)
East River Electric (representing 24 electric cooperatives)
Golden Spread Electric Cooperative (representing 16 electric cooperatives)
Great River Energy (representing 28 electric cooperatives)
Hoosier Energy (representing 18 electric cooperatives)
Northwest Iowa Power Corporation (representing 7 electric cooperatives)
Oglethorpe Power Corporation (representing 38 electric cooperatives)
Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (representing 11 electric cooperatives)
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. (representing 42 electric cooperatives)
Western Farmers (representing 21 electric cooperatives and an air force base)
Colorado Rural Electric Association (representing 22 electric cooperatives)
Minnesota Rural Electric Association (representing 50 electric cooperatives)
North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives (representing 26 electric cooperatives)
Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association (representing 25 electric cooperatives)
Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (representing co-op consumer-members in Virginia)
Anza Electric Cooperative, Inc. (representing California co-op consumer-members)
Beltrami Electric Cooperative (representing Minnesota co-op consumer-members)
Cherryland Electric Cooperative (representing Michigan co-op consumer-members)
Dakota Electric Association (representing Minnesota co-op consumer-members)
Flint Energies (representing Georgia co-op consumer-members)
Mountain Parks Electric, Inc. (representing Colorado co-op consumer-members)
La Plata Electric Association (representing Colorado co-op consumer-members)
New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (representing New Hampshire co-op consumer-members)
Roanoke Electric Cooperative (representing North Carolina co-op consumer-members)
Sioux Valley Energy (representing South Dakota co-op consumer-members)
Trico Electric Cooperative, Inc. (representing Arizona co-op consumer-members)
Winneshiek Energy District (an energy district in Iowa)
Yampa Valley Electric Association (representing Colorado co-op consumer-members)