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The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program


Photograph of school buses parked and lined up with green trees in the background

Electric school buses are becoming an increasingly popular topic in the transportation industry, especially with the rise of electric vehicles and the push for more sustainable modes of transportation. This has led to the federal government taking notice and offering funding opportunities for electric school buses through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.


Government and education organizations can list their properties (land, rooftops, parking lots) for lease for clean energy (solar, wind, EV charging, energy storage) on LandGate's marketplace for free to contribute to sustainability initiatives and the fight against climate change. A unique network of renewable energy developers actively use LandGate's platform to plan new projects and submit lease offers to education property owners across the country. By listing your property for lease for free on LandGate's competitive marketplace, you can ensure that you're getting the best offers and the most value for your property. Contact us to learn more, or get a free property report below to learn about your property's renewable energy potential:



About the Clean School Bus Program

With funding from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the EPA’s Clean School Bus Program provides $5 billion over five years (FY 2022-2026) to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models that operate on alternative fuels. For eligible applicants, the EPA awards up to 100% of the cost of the replacement bus, charging equipment, or fueling infrastructure. Alternative fuels include electricity, natural gas, hydrogen, or propane.


Following the overwhelming demand from local communities for electric school bus funding under the 2022 Clean School Bus Rebates and 2023 Clean School Bus Grants, the EPA announced the third round of funding through the Clean School Bus Program (CSBP) in September 2023, a $500 million rebate program with applications due February 14, 2024. With nearly $1 billion in awards, the grant program represents a historic step toward clean rides for kids.


Benefits of the Clean School Bus Program

Electric school buses hold the promise of transforming the way students are transported to and from school every day, offering a handful of different benefits that extend beyond just environmental impact. These innovative vehicles can play a pivotal role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thereby contributing to cleaner air and a healthier environment for our communities. Additionally, electric school buses are known for their efficiency and lower operating costs, saving school districts money on fuel and maintenance in the long run.


Improves Air Quality

Children are particularly vulnerable to respiratory illnesses triggered by diesel particulates, so electrifying school bus fleets not only safeguards kids' health, but also secures a healthier future for them. According to Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington, the benefits of the program are already making noticeable differences in kids' health. He said that "we’ve seen tremendous benefits to our kids’ physical and mental health. Not only do we see fewer asthma attacks because of electric buses, we also see calmer, happier kids because they no longer have to shout to hear each other over noisy diesel engines.”


Combats Climate Change

The EPA says the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from all of these new buses will also help to ‘address the outsized role of the transportation sector in fueling the climate crisis’. In fact, the EPA claims that if half of all school buses in the country switched from diesel to electric, about 2.1 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) could be reduced annually (even when accounting for emissions from electricity generation), effectively accelerating the push towards decarbonization. With diesel buses contributing to air pollution and carbon emissions, transitioning to electric school buses will greatly reduce the environmental impact of student transportation. This is a crucial step in combating climate change and creating a more sustainable future for generations to come.


Cost Savings

Although initial costs may be higher, electric buses have lower operating and maintenance costs than diesel buses. For example, electric bus brakes wear down slower than traditional diesel buses due to regenerative braking. Additionally, with less need for oil changes, fuel, and engine repairs, school districts can save money on transportation expenses and free up these resources for schools.


Potential Contributions to Power Grid Resiliency

Electric school buses may be able to supply power to the power grid and the broader community when off duty. Electric school buses, when not transporting students, double as mobile power sources with their battery storage. A school bus often sits idle when renewable energy production exceeds the need for power—like during midday and hot summers when the sun is shining, making them perfect mediums for energy storage. Innovations in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies are being explored, utilizing bidirectional batteries to store excess energy and feed it back into the grid during peak demand.


This function of battery storage facilities becomes crucial with the integration of more renewable energy sources into the grid, because renewable energy is intermittent—the wind blows and the sun shines, generating power through solar panels and wind turbines, but not always when consumers need electricity. As more renewable energy sources are added to the grid, energy storage technologies, like V2G batteries, can store surplus energy, and then send it back to the grid when it is needed most.


Upfront costs for electric school buses are high—a new electric bus can cost two to three times as much as a conventional diesel school bus. However, compensation for supplying power back to the grid could help offset the upfront costs of going electric while making the grid more reliable and resilient—a significant win for school districts, electric utilities, and the planet.


Additional Opportunities for the Education System Contribute to Sustainability Initiatives

Schools and Universities can contribute to sustainability initiatives and clean energy generation by leasing education-owned property for solar or wind energy. Property owners and government organizations can list their properties (land, rooftops, parking lots) for lease for clean energy (solar, wind, EV charging, energy storage) on LandGate's marketplace for free. A unique network of nationwide renewable energy developers actively use LandGate's platform to plan new projects and submit lease offers to education property owners across the country. By listing your organization's property for lease for free on LandGate's competitive marketplace, you can ensure that you're getting the best offers and the most value for your property. Contact us to learn more, or get started below:



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