FCPS to Implement Electric Buses Next School Year

FCPS to Implement Electric Buses Next School Year

Austin Burcham, Staff Writer

From removing plastic straws at lunch to introducing the use of solar panels, FCPS has become increasingly concerned about environmental issues. Recently, the school system has pledged to implement 50 electric buses by 2020 and have the entire fleet electric by 2024, according to the Tysons Reporter.

“I think overall this is a really great move, since FCPS is making sure their students are seeing that they’re on the road to sustainability,” senior Saahithi Achanta, leader of the environmental group Climate Strike VA, said. 

Not only is FCPS committed to the development of environmentally friendly programs, but Dominion Energy, the energy provider for FCPS, is too. Dominion Energy will pilot the program, footing the bill for any extra costs FCPS ensues, according to an article by Angela Woolsey of The Fairfax County Times .  

“This is putting Dominion Energy in check,” Achanta said. “[The program is] making sure they’re also playing a role in making sure the community is sustainable”. 

Some believe adding electric buses to the bus fleet won’t have a large enough impact on the environment for it to be worth execution. 

“FCPS needs to do more,” senior Emrullah Noyan said. “Switching over to electric buses will just cause an increase in the burning of coal and the creation of carbon to create electricity.” 

While the emission of fossil fuels is necessary to generate electricity for the new buses, less carbon will be emitted overall. 

“The amount of carbon dioxide being emitted [through creating electricity] is so much less, no matter if you burn coal or use nuclear power,” environmental science teacher Anne Fenton said. 

Yet, many questions arise regarding the realistic implementation of an entirely new fleet of FCPS buses. 

“Running electric buses will be a very high power draw,” Noyan said. “They’ll just have a bunch of non-recyclable batteries in their inventory. If the power goes out for a long time, what will FCPS do?” 

Many believe the implementation of electric buses is a major step toward sustainability, especially since FCPS, according to School Bus Fleet, has the eighth largest bus fleet in America.  

“Everything we can do [to limit emissions] is very positive,” Fenton said.

To some, an electric bus program is important not only because it reduces emissions, but also because it creates a precedent to be environmentally conscious going forward.  

“If the school takes a lead in converting to more sustainable sources of energy, then schools can do the same thing in the way they power the school, and communities around FCPS can also go with that same motive,” Achanta said. 

With the implementation of the new buses, FCPS is moving closer to the use of completely sustainable energy and has the potential to become a leader in environmentally friendly school systems.