USDOT announces initiative to use buses to generate power during natural disasters

© Shutterstock

In an effort to build resilience during natural disasters, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced Tuesday it would make available funding for organizations and partnerships interested in developing systems to generate power from electric buses.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity would provide $1 million to develop power-sharing standards to help communities grapple with supplying electricity to community buildings, emergency shelters, and hospitals during power disruptions. The Bus Exportable Power Systems (BEPS) Program would be the first step in building community resilience through transit.

“Communities and states often need options for generating power immediately after natural disasters,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “Under this program, we will advance the development of standards for exportable power systems so that communities can take advantage of the power stored by high-tech transit buses to keep the lights on during natural disasters and other emergencies.”

Previously, the FTA has supported research for transforming hybrid, electric, and fuel cell buses into mobile power generators. The BEPS funding opportunity will go to an organization that can develop interoperable national standards for power generation, allowing a variety of manufacturers’ systems to use the same technology.

Congress identified the BEPS program as a strategy to help communities and states during disasters and other emergencies as part of the 2021 Appropriations Bill.