The proposed pilot program would support Maryland's Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022.  -  Image: Canva

The proposed pilot program would support Maryland's Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022.

Image: Canva

Potomac Edison, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., has submitted a proposal for a 5-year pilot program for electric school buses to the Maryland Public Service Commission.

If approved, the pilot would support Maryland’s Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, requiring that any new school buses bought or contracted by public school systems in the state be zero-emission vehicles.

"We believe the data collected during the pilot will allow us to better understand how we can help meet our school districts' evolving transportation and electrification needs and ultimately help the districts save money in the long run,” said Don McGettigan, acting president of FirstEnergy’s Maryland operations. “Our pilot program is also intended to help the state meet climate goals by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which will create cleaner air and improve overall health in local communities we serve."

To aid in the electric school bus transition process, the company expects to provide:

  • Financial incentives for school districts to acquire and deploy electric buses.
  • Reimbursements for EV charging infrastructure and information technology-related costs associated with the electric bus transition.
  • Assessments of grid capacity and other technical and administrative support.
  • Connection to the Potomac Edison grid, including coverage of all related costs.

Public school districts that opt into the pilot program will get funding that reduces the cost difference between an electric school bus and an equivalent diesel-fueled bus. Electric buses also will be equipped with lap and shoulder belts for students to comply with the new safety law.

"Approval of the initiative by the PSC also will enable us to explore opportunities to use the stored energy in electric school bus batteries to address electricity needs during grid emergencies, potentially yielding positive outcomes for all our customers in the future," McGettigan said.

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