Electric School Buses Put Power Back Into Grid

A “vehicle to grid” pilot program in a Southern California school district has school buses doing double-duty as electricity storage.

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July 31, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Yellow electric Blue Bird school bus

UniversityRailroad / Electric Blue Bird school bus

“A fleet of electric-powered school buses in El Cajon can send electricity back to California's grid, thanks to first-of-its kind technology developed by a local company and a partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric,” reports Rob Nikolewski for The San Diego Union-Tribune and republished in Governing. The concept is called “vehicle to grid,” making the buses multi-task as energy storage.

Nicknamed V2G for short, the bi-directional technology allows electric vehicle batteries that charge during the day when solar energy is abundant on California's power system to then discharge emissions-free energy back to the electric grid when it is needed the most.

The El Cajon project, deployed earlier this month, is the first of its kind in the United States. “Scott Buxbaum, the school district's assistant superintendent of business services, said the buses typically charge overnight when electricity prices are low. After the buses pick up and drop off students and drivers complete other chores, the batteries quickly get recharged and can then send electricity back to the grid.” The buses charge fully in two to three hours.

The school district could even create revenue by participating in San Diego Gas & Electric’s Emergency Load Reduction Program, which “pays business customers $2 per kilowatt-hour if they are able to export power to the grid or reduce their usage during energy emergencies.”

Thursday, July 28, 2022 in Governing

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