Portland General Electric announced six winners of the 2021 Electric School Bus Fund, paving the way for seven additional electric school buses to be on the road serving Oregon students in 2022.
Using funding from the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, the Beaverton, Centennial, Gresham-Barlow, Hillsboro, Portland and Salem-Keizer school districts were chosen based on their commitments to meet the needs of underserved communities and incorporate the buses more broadly into student education around climate science.
“Electrifying transportation is a key driver of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and an important step toward reaching our goal of 100 percent clean energy for all Oregonians,” said Maria Pope, president and CEO of Portland General Electric. “Seeing kids of all ages, our future, traveling to and from school in electric buses is a moment of pride for all of us at PGE, and we are excited to partner with school districts across the state.”
The six districts will each receive funding to purchase an electric school bus, install charging infrastructure, and receive technical and training support. This is the second year of electric school bus competitive grant awards. Last year, PGE awarded buses to five school districts, several of which are now on the road.
The Electric School Bus Fund is covering the incremental cost of the electric school buses (the difference in cost between a standard diesel bus and an electric bus) and the total installation of charging infrastructure. PGE is also providing technical assistance to school districts throughout the process, including site assessments, cost-benefit analysis, vehicle and charger selection support, and driver and mechanic support. In return, participating school districts will work with PGE to share their insights and learnings with other school districts interested in electrifying their bus fleets. For the second year, PGE is working in partnership with Pacific Power to support the Portland Public Schools’ electric school bus and related infrastructure.
Transportation is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon and a major source of other air pollutants. Benefits of the electric school buses include:
• Electric school buses reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than half compared to a diesel school bus
• Electric school buses have zero tailpipe emissions and reduce carbon monoxide emissions and nitrogen oxide emissions—which have significant negative health impacts, including asthma—by more than 80% than a diesel school bus
Safety and comfort
• Electric school buses are quiet, reducing noise pollution in neighborhoods
• Drivers and students are better able to communicate with each other
• Electricity is less expensive than diesel, and prices are more stable over time
• Electric school buses have far fewer moving parts and are expected to reduce maintenance costs by as much as 50%