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Electricity from School Bus Batteries Will Support Con Edison Grid Reliability

In an NYS First, Power to Flow from Vehicles to Grid

Con Edison will use electricity stored in batteries on electric-powered school buses to support its grid during the hot summer months when the buses are not taking students to classes, the first project of its kind in New York State.

The company will get 75 kilowatts of power during the summer months from the batteries on five buses. The company will charge the batteries at times when demand for power is low and then discharge the power into the grid when demand is high – which usually occurs on weekday afternoons when customers’ use of air conditioners is significant.

During the school year, the White Plains school district will use the buses to bring students to classes to learn reading, writing and arithmetic.

“We think school buses have unique potential to help us keep our service reliable and contribute to a clean environment,” said John Shipman, department manager of Demonstration Projects for Con Edison. “These buses will provide clean transportation for students during the school year and be available to us for grid support during the summer. There’s a nice fit between the school schedule and our customers’ need for power.”

“The White Plains School District is very excited at the prospect of using electric school buses,” said Dr. Joseph Ricca, superintendent of schools in White Plains. “With Lion Electric providing five buses to our contractor, National Express, and the services of Con Edison, our children will experience the most technologically advanced means of transportation and our community will benefit from the positive environmental impact. We’re anxious to roll out the buses in September and continue working to identify innovative and sustainable measures throughout our district.”

The demonstration project is one of several initiatives by Con Edison to support the development of a robust electric vehicle market in New York City and Westchester County. If the project is successful, Con Edison could seek to work with other school districts to electrify their fleets and gain more benefits for its grid.

Under the proposal before the New York State Public Service Commission, the district would put five buses on the road starting with the 2018-2019 school year. Con Edison is in ongoing discussions with the Commission about the proposed program.

The buses are manufactured by Lion Electric and would be operated for the school district by National Express. National Express will pay the energy costs during the school year. Con Edison will pay National for the right to use the buses as a grid asset during the summer months when they’d be parked at National’s northern White Plains depot. First Priority Green-Fleet is coordinating the project.

Con Edison, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and National Express will share the costs of paying for the buses. Con Edison and National will pay for the chargers.

The buses were purchased, in part, using rebates offered through the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program, which supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

The Truck Voucher Incentive Program, administered by NYSERDA, provides point of sale rebates to reduce the cost for businesses and municipalities that want to purchase new clean vehicles or retrofit commercial vehicles and buses into hybrids, natural gas vehicles or zero-emission vehicles.

Since 2013, it has provided almost 600 rebates for trucks and buses throughout the State. The rebate reduces the incremental costs of purchasing advanced alternative fuel technology heavy-duty trucks and buses by up to 80 percent.

“This demonstration project underscores the priority the state is placing on public-private partnerships that are working on innovative approaches in meeting Governor Cuomo’s clean energy goals to reduce harmful emissions from the transportation sector by ensuring cleaner alternatives of transportation are accessible to consumers. We applaud the White Plains School District and its partners on this project for advancing environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility,” said Adam Ruder, Program Manager, Clean Transportation, NYSERDA.

Con Edison believes electric vehicle adoption is going to increase in the coming years as battery prices drop and the economics make electric power more viable for passenger cars, buses, delivery trucks and other vehicles.

Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation's largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $12 billion in annual revenues and $49 billion in assets. The utility provides electric, gas and steam service to more than three million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York.