Bennet, Hickenlooper, Crow Introduce BIDIRECTIONAL Act to Deploy Two-Way Charging Technology for Electric School Buses, Back-up Grid

Legislation Would Allow Electric School Buses To Send Power Back To The Grid When Not In Use

Washington, D.C. — Today, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and Colorado U.S. Representative Jason Crow introduced the Bus Integration Dedicated to Improving Resilience, Eliminating Congestion, and Triggering Innovation Over Numerous Applications and Localities (BIDIRECTIONAL) Act. The legislation would create a program within the Department of Energy to equip electric school buses with bidirectional energy flow capability for school districts across the country.

Bidirectional energy flow, also known as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, refers to vehicles with the ability to use their batteries to power the electrical grid when not being driven. Electric school buses are ideal for V2G applications because they have large batteries, sit idle for long, predictable periods, and operate in fleets.

“With this new technology, electric school buses can not only keep our air clean, but also put power back into the electric grid,” said Bennet. “Our bill will help schools around the country follow Durango’s lead to implement innovative vehicle-to-grid systems that accelerate clean energy, cut pollution, and fight climate change.”

“V2G buses help back up our grid, require less maintenance, and ensure cleaner air for our kids,” said Hickenlooper. “This is how we power the future!”

“Colorado was among the first in the nation to lead a successful pilot program that returns energy from electric school buses back to our power grid. Now is the time to bring our homegrown innovation to scale,” said Crow. “I look forward to advancing this legislation to save energy, reduce costs, and expand access to clean, renewable energy that will protect our environment for generations to come.”

Bidirectionality opens up a number of new opportunities on the grid. It can serve as a means of powering community centers or homes during prolonged grid outages. It can also act like energy storage, allowing grid operators to smooth out variable sources of power generation like wind and solar, or fill in for natural gas, coal, and nuclear if facilities are unable to show up when called upon, as happened in both Winter Storms Uri and Elliott. 

The legislation is supported by Accelera by Cummins, Advanced Energy United, Blue Bird, bp Pulse Fleet (formerly Amply), Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, Community Organization for Resource Efficiency (CORE), EDF, Electrification Coalition, Environment America, Highland Electric Fleets, Lion Electric, La Plata Electric Association, NRECA, Nuvve, PIRG, Proterra, RMI, Xcel Energy.

In addition to Bennet, Hickenlooper, and Crow, the legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and by U.S. Representative Annie Kuster (D-N.H.).

The text of the bill is available HERE.