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Clean Bus Planning Awards

Federal Agency


Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office)


To provide school and transit bus fleets with free technical assistance to develop comprehensive and customized fleet electrification transition plans.

Applicant and/or Project Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants include 1) State and local governmental entities providing bus service, including public school districts and charter schools; 2) Private school bus fleets with an active contractual agreement to serve a public school district; 3) Nonprofit school transportation associations; 4) Tribes, tribal organizations, or tribally controlled schools responsible for the purchase of school buses or providing school bus service for a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)-funded school; and 5) Direct or designated recipients of FTA grants, including state and local governmental authorities, and tribes.

Decarbonization Considerations

Establishing a zero-emission transition plan is the first step in creating an economically and environmentally sound fleet for school districts and transit agencies. The planning process helps to serve as a foundation and reference point for zero-emission bus deployment and prepare fleets for electrification. The program may also help fleets pursue federal funding for bus electrification, including the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA’s) Clean School Bus Program and the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA’s) Low or No Emission (Low-No) Grant Program.

Equity Considerations

NREL strongly encourages applications from fleets that meet one or more of the following prioritization criteria: 1) (School bus) fleets domiciled or operated in a prioritized school district as recognized under EPA's Clean School Bus Program; 2) Fleets domiciled or operates in a rural (non-urbanized) area as defined by FTA's Low-No Grant Program; 3) Fleets operated by tribal entities recognized by and eligible for funding and services from the BIA; 4) Fleets domiciled or operated in a disadvantaged community, as designated in the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST).

Helpful Tips

Active program participants are generally expected to include (but are not limited to) fleet managers; representatives responsible for fleet budget decisions, procurement of vehicles, and/or sustainability; facilities managers at potential charging locations; and other key leadership/subject matter experts and decision makers.

Other Notes

CBPA is not an incentive program, and fleets do not receive direct funding—rather, selected applicants will be allocated technical assistance resources by NREL. NREL anticipates that final electrification transition plans and presentation of those plans will occur within 6 months from the selection date. Fleets receiving a transition plan also have the option to request deployment assistance. Approved deployment assistance will begin after the final plan and presentation. The deployment assistance will be available for a period not to exceed 3 years.

Deadline (Announced or Anticipated)


Funding Available


Max Award Amount


Expected Allocations


Average Award (Estimated)


Matching Funds

Not required

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