EPA Releases Details on Electric School Bus Fund Application Process

May 2, 2022—The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Clean School Bus Program includes an unprecedented $5 billion to help prompt school districts and their contractors to transition to clean and zero-emission school buses, and the first phase of distribution of those dollars is set to begin.

The first funding opportunity under this program is the $500 million 2022 Clean School Bus Rebate program. On Wednesday, April 27, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced some details of how this program will work.

The EPA is expected to open the application process as early as next week. School districts will have three months to submit applications for funds covering the purchase of up to 25 new buses.

Rebate winners will then be selected by lottery from the districts that apply and will receive funds ranging from $15,000 to $395,000 for the purchase of electric or hybrid buses to replace diesel-fueled buses, and the charging infrastructure.

High-need and low-income school districts, such as those with 20 percent or more students living in poverty, will get priority, as well as rural and remote school districts.

“This is an excellent opportunity to leverage significant federal funds while introducing your members and communities to the benefits of electrification,” said Keith Dennis of the Beneficial Electrification League (BEL).

The federal Infrastructure Law passed late last year provides $5 billion over five years for the replacement of existing school buses with clean school buses and zero-emission school buses that produce either zero or low tailpipe emissions.

For more information about electric school buses, check out this video provided by the Beneficial Electrification League, and for more info regarding the rebate application process, visit www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus .

Energy Leaders Gather in Madison for Electrify Wisconsin Event

(left) Steve Freese, WECA president and CEO, and (right) Keith Dennis, president of the Beneficial Electrification League

April 21, 2022—Energy leaders from cooperative and investor-owned utilities as well as state and local leaders, and others working to electrify sectors of the economy gathered in Madison Thursday for a full-day event dedicated to beneficial electrification. The forum was designed to advance cost-effective electrification measures that save consumers money, reduce emissions, and improve the electric grid.

Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association (WECA) President and CEO Stephen Freese kicked off the “Electrify Wisconsin!” event.

Keith Dennis, president of the Beneficial Electrification League, which co-sponsored the forum with WECA, gave a presentation highlighting the many new economic opportunities in electrification including billions in federal funding for electric school buses, upgrading school buildings, and more.

“This doesn’t mean electrify everything at all costs,” Dennis said. “If it’s not saving money, and it’s not good for the environment, it’s not beneficial.”

Nate Boettcher, president and CEO of Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services, talked about the transition to electric vehicle use and the launch of CHARGE, which promotes and streamlines the installation of residential and public-facing charging stations in co-op areas, and now has 90 participating cooperatives.


Focus on Future at WECA 2022 Education & Lobby Days


February 4, 2022—Electric cooperative leaders from across the state gathered in Madison in person this week to meet with state legislators about the issues facing the industry, and for a conference that included presentations and panels of people addressing key topics.


Urban vs. Rural

The two-day event kicked off with UW-Madison Professor of Political Science Dr. Katherine Kramer presenting about her experience researching the urban and rural divide in Wisconsin, and the impact on the political climate.


New Plan to Help Bring Electric School Buses to Cooperative-Served Districts

February 4, 2022—WECA has signed on to a national effort to help rural school districts expedite a transition to electric school buses. The Beneficial Electrification League (BEL) has launched the coalition effort in advance of the release of $5 billion in federal funds designated for electric school buses, which was included in the Infrastructure and Jobs Act passed by Congress last year.

The effort brings together cooperative organizations representing more than 300 local utilities in more than 20 states and will guide coordination between utilities and school districts on electric school bus programs.

“The aim of this program is straightforward: No school district or utility should miss out on that opportunity simply because they lack access to information or resources to participate in this valuable federal program,” says Keith Dennis, president of BEL.


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CO-OP DIFFERENCE

June Dairy Month, Live and In Person
Steve Freese, WECA President and CEO

With June arriving, it is time for us to continue getting back to normal activities. Hopefully, the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is in the rear-view mirror. June is Dairy Month, and it is time for us to celebrate Wisconsin as America’s Dairyland once again.

It is worthy to note that 57% of all dairy farms in Wisconsin get their electricity from an electric cooperative.

Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News
 

The Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News  serves as the voice of the state’s rural electric cooperatives. Founded in 1940, the publication focuses on statewide issues that affect electric cooperatives, promoting the general welfare of Wisconsin’s electric cooperatives, their member-owners, and the areas they serve.

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