Six school districts in Massachusetts were awarded Accelerating Clean Transportation (ACT) grants by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a state economic development agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of clean energy.

As part of the ACT School Bus Fleet Deployment program, the grants of up to $2 million per fleet include technical assistance and will help the districts overcome barriers to the electrification of school bus fleets, enabling reliable and emission-free transportation for students. 

Arup, a global sustainable development consultancy, and CALSTART, a national nonprofit advancing clean transportation technology, have partnered with Eastern Research Group (ERG), a consulting firm dedicated to protecting public health and the environment, to deliver the technical assistance that is packaged with the ACT grants. Initial funding for the deployment program came from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and is helping to support approximately 80 electric school buses. 

“The transportation sector serves a critical role in helping Massachusetts achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050,” said Geoff Gunn, Associate Principal, Americas East Energy Leader. “MassCEC is leading a crucial initiative in a crucial sector. We’re proud to contribute our expertise and services to support them in accelerating the state’s school districts’ progress to a more sustainable future.” The initial group of six school districts in the grant program include Fall River, Quincy, Lawrence, New Bedford, Lower Pioneer Valley, and Upper Cape Tech. As each school district has varying needs and resources, Arup looks to apply its wide range of expertise to develop flexible, tailored approaches and ensure the delivery of the benefits for human health and the environment that come with fleet electrification. Arup is working closely with each school district to help analyze energy needs for their electric fleet and provide technical direction and support as they plan and install charging infrastructure, design new charging sites, and purchase their electric fleet.

The team will engage in a range of services from conducting technical and financial electrification analyses that inform decision-making to leading energy assessments to right-size equipment and managing construction, equipment testing and technical training. Particularly in larger districts, the team will advise on logistical considerations and phasing requirements as the new EVs integrate into the existing electrical system. 

With several rounds of funding, the program will aim for full fleet electrification in 2025.