Maryland is taking significant steps to electrify its bus fleets. With the state’s recent Climate Solutions Now Act requiring all new school vehicles to be electric by 2025, many counties are already on a more sustainable road. In October 2022, Montgomery County deployed 61 new buses, adding to the 25 it purchased in 2021 for a total of 86, the single largest electric school fleet in the U.S.
In the same vein, the county — also in October — opened the Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot, a solar-powered microgrid energy storage location. The site will power 70 of the county’s electric buses.
Electric buses have 60% lower lifetime emissions than fossil-fueled powered vehicles, helping the Old Line State move closer toward a 50% zero-emission fleet by the end of this decade.
The depot integrates solar and electric charging stations with 4.14 megawatts of charging ability, keeping the buses powered sustainably at a lower cost. It is slowly moving off any fossil fuel source power and will operate on 100% renewable energy by 2035.
Vermont-based Dynapower provided the microgrid battery energy storage for the location, a type of storage that charges the buses and allows for full operational capacity in case of an outage. AlphaStruxure, one of the country’s top energy-as-service companies, broke ground on the site last year and will manage it, “providing a holistic solution for large-scale fleet electrification” designed for sustainability, resilience, and reliability.
“Decarbonizing the transportation sector is critical to mitigating climate change, making fleet electrification an utmost priority for local governments and transit agencies,” said Juan Macias, AlphaStruxure CEO.
With electric buses contributing 62% fewer lifetime emissions than their fossil-fuel-powered counterparts, the move toward a fully electric fleet is critical to meet the U.S.’s net-zero emissions goal.
In Brookville alone, turning 70 vehicles from diesel to electric will prevent more than 160,000 tons of greenhouse gasses from being released into the atmosphere over the next 25 years.
The depot is likely to set the standard for similar charging sites across the U.S. Additionally, the location will partner with Pepco to support power grid performance for businesses and homes in the area. Overall, the site not only improves public transportation options but also enhances the overall resilience of a community and its infrastructure.
“The Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot project falls in line with our ambitious climate action plan to reduce all carbon emissions,” said Marc Elrich, Montgomery county executive. “This bus depot is one component of many county projects that are making a difference for our environment, such as converting our fleets to electric and reducing harmful emissions. This infrastructure project will improve the county’s resilience, and we are proud to be at the forefront amongst local governments when it comes to projects like this.”