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HOLYOKE — Holyoke Public Schools will soon use state clean energy funds to purchase electric school buses.

The announcement comes from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, or MassCEC, which awarded more than $4.2 million to help electrify school buses in five school districts. Holyoke Public Schools, in partnership with Highland Electric Transportation, was awarded $850,000 to fund the purchase of the school buses.

“This funding will allow Highland Electric to start building a fleet of electric school buses for Holyoke Public Schools,” said HPS Director of Enrollment Services and Transportation Rebecca Lamb. “Over time, we anticipate adding more electrified buses, which will help support better air quality in our city and provide other environmental benefits.”

MassCEC is a state economic development agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of the clean energy and climate-tech sector across the state to spur job creation, deliver statewide environmental benefits and secure long-term economic opportunities for the people of Massachusetts. In addition to Holyoke, districts in Boston, Fall River, New Bedford and Worcester will also receive funding and or technical assistance through these awards.

Currently the district’s transportation operation is contracted through Durham School Services. HPS, Durham and Highland Electric will work to use the $850,000 in funding to help support the purchase of five type D electric school buses, as well as five chargers, which will be used to transport HPS students.

MassCEC’s ACT School Bus Fleet Deployment Program which is intended to provide fleets with hands-on technical assistance and funding during initial planning and procurement that will enable school districts to continue to electrify future portions of their fleet autonomously or with scaled back assistance. This was the second round of its funding.

“The Healey-Driscoll administration frequently hears from school districts that want to reduce their carbon footprints and electrify their school bus fleets. MassCEC’s ACT School Bus Program provides the funding and technical assistance these districts need to accelerate this transition and put electric buses on the road,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rebecca Tepper. Tepper also serves as chair of MassCEC’s Board of Directors.

The funding is made possible by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs through the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Climate Protection and Mitigation Expendable Trust. Since 2022, MassDEP has contributed nearly $28.3 million toward MassCEC’s ACT School Bus Program.

MassCEC has also previously received an additional $5 million in supplemental funding from ARPA funding and other agency resources.

“When communities electrify their school bus fleets, they make air quality safer for students and entire neighborhoods,” said MassCEC CEO Dr. Emily Reichert.

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