Central Valley company Storer Transportation will receive a $3 million state grant that will allow it to play a leading role in helping Stanislaus County school districts transition from diesel-powered to electric buses.
The grant from the California Energy Commission’s Electric School Bus Bi-Directional Infrastructure funding means the Modesto-based company, founded in 1952 to provide transportation for special education programs in Stanislaus County, will help the state develop a blueprint for other school bus fleets to transition to electric buses while harnessing their stored energy to support essential services during power outages.
Storer Transportation, based in Modesto, California, today announced it will receive a $3 million state grant to help the state develop a blueprint for school bus fleets to transition to electric buses while harnessing their stored energy to support essential services during power outages.
The California Energy Commission’s Electric School Bus Bi-Directional Infrastructure awarded the grant to the Central Valley company, founded in 1952 to provide transportation for special education programs in Stanislaus County,
Storer is the first school bus contractor in California to receive grant funds to enable managed charging and bi-directional power flow for electric school buses and their associated infrastructure at this scale.
Providing emergency backup power
The project also is one of the largest deployments of vehicle-to-grid capabilities with school buses in the country. The funds will support the installation of 37 bi-directional chargers, enabling electric school buses to supply 4.4 MWh of backup power during power outages. Storer conducted a study that showed existing facilities could be expanded to accommodate more than 150 electric school buses.
Storer provides resources in every aspect of passenger transportation operations in Stanislaus County and other locations throughout the state, including two full-service school bus facilities in Modesto totaling 22 acres.
“We will move with the times and do our part to help find solutions, like we always have,” said Donald Storer, President and CEO of Storer. “It’s an honor to have Storer’s history of innovation and service recognized by the state. Our selection for this award underscores the need to have the necessary infrastructure to speed the transition to zero-emission school buses.”
Cutting carbon emissions
Over the next three years, Storer expects this project will reduce its carbon emissions by more than 70,000 tons. The transportation sector contributes about half of California’s greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change, 80 percent of nitrogen oxide pollution, and 90 percent of diesel particulate matter pollution. A study found one in eight California children rely on school bus transportation, which accounts for 33% of their daily exposure to some air pollutants.
The elimination of diesel emissions from school buses benefits the health of students, drivers, and residents, particularly those with respiratory conditions. This will be especially helpful in the Central Valley, an area where emissions get trapped by an inversion layer of warm air.
Across California, nearly 3 percent of school buses are powered by electricity. A state law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last year requires all newly purchased or contracted school buses to be zero-emission starting in 2035, and the state plans to provide $1.5 billion over the next three years to help school districts with new bus costs.