Largest Transit Bus Charging Station in U.S. Opens in Maryland
The largest transit bus charging station and microgrid in the country has just opened in Montgomery County, Maryland, home of the largest fleet of electric school buses in the U.S. The new charging station and microgrid, called the Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot, will be especially beneficial as the county prepares to electrify all of the buses in its transit system by 2026. The project is part of the county’s goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2035.
The depot includes solar canopies, battery energy storage, electric bus chargers and microgrid software and controls by AlphaStruxture as well as 1.8 MW of natural gas via on-site generation. The goal is to keep the fleet of electric buses in operation continuously, even if there are utility disruptions. The county is home to over 1.1 million residents, and about 38,070 people rode the buses on an average weekday in 2018, according to Montgomery County’s Office of Legislative Oversight.
“Tackling transportation emissions makes up a significant portion of Montgomery County’s bold climate action,” said Linda Toth, associate sustainability consultant at Arup, a partner on the project. “By opening this pioneering transit center and microgrid, the County with AlphaStruxure is embarking to make a real impact while signaling future opportunities for cities across the United States.”
The Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot is free to the county and paid for by AlphaStruxture through an Energy as a Service (EaaS) model, where the county pays AlphaStruxture monthly for the energy services rather than paying for the upfront costs to install the charging stations and microgrid.
The depot will provide charging stations for up to 70 buses and saves over 160,000 tons of carbon emissions over the life of the project, according to AlphaStruxture. Arup also noted that there will be a 62% decrease in carbon emissions for buses charged by the microgrid.
“The transportation infrastructure of tomorrow is up and running today in Montgomery County,” said Juan Macias, CEO of AlphaStruxure. “We are thrilled to partner with Montgomery County on this holistic solution that delivers improved, cleaner services to County constituents. This benchmark project serves as a national model for municipalities and private fleet owners across the county to efficiently deploy the charging infrastructure and distributed energy resources that the energy transition requires, accelerating the electrification of medium and heavy-duty vehicle fleets.”