Delaware Taps DNREC Fund to Replace Diesel-Guzzling School Buses

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has awarded $177,674 to The Warehouse, a teen-led co-working space and after-school center in Wilmington, to replace its diesel bus with an all-electric, zero emissions vehicle and purchase charging equipment., according to a news release.

Officials say that the award is the latest investment of the Environmental Mitigation Trust that resulted from state’s plan to use $9.6 million from the negotiated settlement between Volkswagen and the federal government.

“Exhaust from vehicles is a major source of air pollution, and big diesel vehicles like buses are particularly big contributors,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Replacing school buses helps us all breathe better, including children gathering near idling buses during school arrival or dismissal in non-COVID times. At the same time, programs like the one at The Warehouse will help students learn more about the technology driving the school buses and inspire future clean energy leaders in Delaware.”

The electric bus supports the nonprofit’s “Energize the Warehouse” initiative to provide local teens with hands-on opportunities to learn about clean energy, electric transportation, and sustainable farming and agriculture.

“The Energize the Warehouse initiative has been a success due to the collaborative efforts of many community partnerships and, through these efforts, The Warehouse will become a place where young people can learn about clean energy and electric transportation,” said CEO Logan Herring. “The V2G bus also serves to decrease transportation barriers for the teens we serve, which is a critical component for greater equity and increased access to opportunities.”

The new electric bus can connect back to the grid to achieve enhanced energy savings and energy conservation. The bus is expected to be delivered in early 2021.

The Delaware Department of Education has also leveraged the Environmental Mitigation Trust to replace 81 state-owned diesel school buses with new, cleaner- fueled school buses that operate on clean diesel or propane.

“Since 2016, districts have added 81 clean school buses throughout the state with another 34 that could potentially be added next academic year,” said DOE Secretary Susan Bunting. “While it’s still a small portion of Delaware’s total school bus fleet, we’re pleased to make this progress and to see initiatives such as this one expand.”

The plan for the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust is focused on actions that can produce the greatest air quality benefit in terms of nitrogen oxides emission reductions, reduce public exposure, and promote clean vehicle technologies.

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