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50 battery-powered buses expected to come to the commonwealth by the end of 2020

Dominion Energy is partnering with school districts that want zero-emission buses.

FAIRFAX, Va. — Fifty battery-powered buses are coming to the commonwealth by the end of 2020, Dominion Energy said Thursday in Herndon.

It's partnering with school districts that want zero-emission buses, which can cost three times a normal, diesel bus.

But Dominion Energy will pay the difference to districts that apply. 

Fairfax County Public Schools is eyeing this program. This district has the second-largest fleet of school buses in the country.

"Not only is it right for our students and right for our children, it’s right for our communities, it’s cost-effective, it’s efficient, and it reduces our carbon footprint," Jeff Platenberg, who works with Fairfax County Public School's Transportation Services, said.

RELATED: Electric school buses are getting a jolt in Fairfax County thanks to a group of moms

Bus makers stress that electric buses are much better for the environment. Replacing one diesel bus with an electric bus is like taking more than five cars off the road, and there are hopes to expand this program to replace all school buses in the state.

But that needs the approval of state lawmakers. The goal is to put 50 of them on the road by the end of next year.

"It really feels like this is going to happen," Bobby Monacella, with Mothers Out Front Fairfax, said.

Monacella has been pushing for this. She has two kids in Fairfax County Public Schools.

While Dominion's program will pay schools the difference, there’s a benefit to the power company. Dominion can back-fill extra electricity from buses that are charging and onto its grid.

RELATED: How is security changing at schools in Virginia?

"This is the largest program in the country by far -- and I hope this is going to jump start this across the country," Thomas Farrell, the CEO of Dominion Energy, said.

But for now, its local school districts that are energized. Fairfax County has the second-largest school bus fleet in the country, and its eye on electric buses.

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