- New York on Thursday announced it will make $100 million available to support schools that want to purchase emissions-free buses. The New York School Bus Incentive Program, or NYSBIP, will allow bus manufacturers and dealers to offer point of sale purchase incentives to reduce costs, as well as provide funding for charging infrastructure.
- Through the program, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, and utility providers will provide technical assistance to support school districts and fleet operators in transitioning to zero-emission buses.
- This is the first tranche of $500 million in funds provided for electric school buses and charging infrastructure through New York’s Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022. The application process will open Nov. 29.
All new school buses sold in New York must be zero emission by 2027, and by 2035 the state requires all school buses in use to be emissions free.
“The commitment of public funds and guidance released today puts New York State schools and bus operators on a trajectory to embrace clean transportation and the benefits that it will bring,” Gov. Kathy Hochul, D, said in a statement. Zero-emission buses “will become a hallmark” of the state’s commitment to a low-carbon future, she said.
The funding through the environmental bond act “creates a pivotal opportunity that brings zero-emission school buses to the forefront of New York State’s clean energy and climate future,” NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen Harris said.
The bond act requires that disadvantaged communities receive at least 35% of the legislation’s benefits.
“In line with this goal, NYSERDA will aim to ensure at least 40 percent of the NYSBIP benefits disadvantaged communities,” according to the announcement. “Buses domiciled in or serving disadvantaged communities and/or high-need school districts will receive consideration for higher incentive amounts.”
NYSERDA has planned an Oct. 11 webinar to discuss the program and application process.
NYSBIP will provide rebates for school bus fleet operators that purchase zero-emission battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell electric school buses and associated charging infrastructure.
According to the state’s announcement, purchase incentives will be provided directly to dealers and manufacturers to offset some or all of the difference in price between zero-emission and diesel- or gas-powered buses. Charging infrastructure incentives will also be issued directly to the fleet owner — either the school district or their contractor.
A spokesperson for NYSERDA said the state’s utilities will provide “fleet advisory services” to help districts understand the upgrades necessary to charge buses. Those utilities include Central Hudson, Consolidated Edison, National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas, Rochester Gas & Electric, Orange and Rockland and PSEG-Long Island
“Studies undertaken through this program typically assess the electrical capacity of a site, how much electricity would be needed to electrify the fleet, and options for any needed upgrades,” according to NYSERDA.
Most of the utilities will also provide funding to help cover some or all of the utility-side grid upgrades necessary for charging.
New York and other states, as well as territories and tribes, can also access federal funds for zero-emissions school buses.
On Thursday, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that $500 million in funding is available from its Clean School Bus rebate competition to support school districts purchasing electric, propane and compressed natural gas buses. The funds build on a previous $1 billion commitment from the EPA, and are a part of the $5 billion Clean School Bus Program included in the bipartisan infrastructure law.