Bidirectional electric school buses are such a good idea, they almost sound too good to be true. School buses represent a perfect use case for V2G technology, revenue from providing grid services can help defray the costs for school districts, and protecting schoolchildren from diesel fumes is a worthy goal that should be popular on all sides of the political divide (as long as school boards make sure the pitchfork-and-torches crowd understands what “bidirectional” means).
US Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has introduced legislation that aims to promote electric school buses and V2G technology. The Bidirectional Act would create a DOE program dedicated to deploying electric school buses with bidirectional V2G capability. It would also “require DOE to provide a report on the existing V2G school bus pilot programs, and would require states’ public utility commissions to consider measures to promote V2G integration.”
The future for bi buses already seems bright—the Inflation Reduction Act includes a billion bucks worth of grants for heavy-duty EVs including school buses, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes five billion in funding for e-buses over five years. So many school districts have applied for funding that the EPA recently announced that it will increase funding for the clean school bus program to $965 million in its initial round. State governments, notably Virginia, are also getting on the electric school bus.
As far as we know at this point, the Bidirectional Act includes no mandates or additional funding—it would just create another office within the DOE and generate some additional reports—but if it increases awareness of the benefits of going bi, then it can’t hurt.
A raft of stakeholders, including bus manufacturers, providers of V2G infrastructure, utilities and environmental groups, have issued statements in support of the bill.
“Vehicle-to-grid school buses are another common-sense tool that can help to create a reliable grid, promote clean energy, and cut costs for local towns and school districts,” said Senator King. “Combined with electric bus investments in the Inflation Reduction Act, this will be an important step towards unlocking America’s clean energy future. It’s a simple, win-win bill and I hope it can get bipartisan support across Congress.”