State awards grant to group for electric, zero emissions bus

DOVER — The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has awarded $177,674 to The Warehouse, a teen-led co-working space and after-school center in Wilmington, to replace its diesel bus with an all-electric, zero emissions vehicle and purchase charging equipment.

The award is the latest investment of the Environmental Mitigation Trust that resulted from state’s plan to use $9.6 million from the negotiated settlement between Volkswagen and the federal government.

“Exhaust from vehicles is a major source of air pollution, and big diesel vehicles like buses are particularly big contributors,” DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin said in a statement. “Replacing school buses helps us all breathe better, including children gathering near idling buses during school arrival or dismissal in non-COVID times. At the same time, programs like the one at The Warehouse will help students learn more about the technology driving the school buses and inspire future clean energy leaders in Delaware.”

The electric bus supports the nonprofit’s “Energize the Warehouse” initiative to provide local teens with hands-on opportunities to learn about clean energy, electric transportation, and sustainable farming and agriculture.

The new electric bus can connect back to the grid to achieve enhanced energy savings and energy conservation. It is expected to be delivered in early 2021.

The Delaware Department of Education has also leveraged the Environmental Mitigation Trust to replace 81 state-owned diesel school buses with new school buses that operate on clean diesel or propane. The agency could add another 34 next year.

The plan for the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust is focused on actions that can produce the greatest air quality benefit in terms of nitrogen oxides emission reductions, reduce public exposure, and promote clean vehicle technologies. As funding opportunities are finalized and awarded, details on recipients, funding amounts, and project types will be listed on de.gov/vwmitigation.