By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
State grant to Storer will boost electric school bus fleet
Storer bus lot Modesto
As part of the state grant, Storer Transportation will help the state develop a blueprint to help other school bus fleets transition to electric buses while harnessing their stored energy to support essential services during natural disasters that can cause power outages. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Storer Transportation was picked to receive a $3 million state grant from the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Electric School Bus Bi-Directional Infrastructure funding to help Stanislaus County school districts transition from diesel-powered to electric school buses.

Storer is the first school bus contractor in California to receive grant funds to enable managed charging and bi-directional power flow for electric school buses and their associated infrastructure at this scale. The project also represents one of the largest deployments of vehicle-to-grid capabilities with school buses in the country.

Storer will install 37 bi-directional chargers, enabling electric school buses to serve as backup power to help keep the lights on during future emergencies. Storer conducted a study that shows existing facilities could be expanded to accommodate well over 150 electric school buses.    

Storer provides resources in passenger transportation operations and services within Stanislaus and other counties. In Stanislaus County, Storer has two full-service school bus facilities totaling 22 acres – one on the east side of Modesto and the other on the west side. The locations are centrally located within the county and prime locations for positioning vehicles closer to where their route originates, which is a solution enabled by the use of electric vehicles and bi-directional charging.

As part of the grant, Storer will help the state develop a blueprint to help other school bus fleets transition to electric buses while harnessing stored energy to support essential services during power outages caused by wildfires, earthquakes or heat waves.

“This project reflects our unwavering commitment to serving our community’s transportation needs for the past 72 years,” said Donald Storer, president and CEO of Storer. “We will move with the times and do our part to help find solutions, like we always have. It’s an honor to have Storer’s history of innovation and service recognized by the state. Our selection for this award underscores the need to have the necessary infrastructure to speed the transition to zero-emission school buses.”

Over the next three years, Storer expects this project will reduce carbon emissions by more than 70,000 tons. The 37 bi-directional chargers will provide the capability for electric buses to supply 4.4 MWh of backup power during emergencies.

The transportation sector contributes about half of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, 80 percent of nitrogen oxide pollution, and 90 percent of diesel particulate matter pollution. A study found one in eight California children rely on school bus transportation, which accounts for 33% of their daily exposure to some air pollutants.

Reducing diesel emissions from school buses benefits the health of residents, particularly those with respiratory conditions. This will be especially helpful in the Valley, an area where emissions get trapped by an inversion layer of warm air.

Across California, presently nearly three percent of school buses are powered by electricity. A new state law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom requires all newly purchased or contracted school buses to be zero-emission starting in 2035 with the state planning to provide $1.5 billion over the next three years to help school districts buy new busses.

Storer was founded in 1952 out of need for transportation services for special education students in Stanislaus County.