San Diego Electric School Buses Shuttling Electricity Into The Grid Now

What’s cooler than an electric school bus? An electric school bus with vehicle-to-grid capability. And that’s what some schools in San Diego, California, now have.

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the Cajon Valley Union School District, an Nuvve have just kicked off a vehicle-to-grid trial with 8 electric school buses. Naturally, the plan is to help stabilize the grid and lower costs when there’s high demand for electricity and natural electricity supply might have a hard time handling that. Then, when there’s plenty of electricity being generated, the electric school buses can charge up a bit.

Courtesy of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).

The pilot project will go for 5 years. For the project, “SDG&E installed six 60-kilowatt bi-directional DC fast chargers at the Cajon Valley Union bus yard, located in the city of El Cajon.”

The utility notes something that not many people realize — our cars are sitting parked 95% of the time. It’s similar for school buses, too. When those vehicles are packed with large batteries, that presents an enormous energy storage opportunity. “Electric fleets represent a vast and innovative energy storage resource and have enormous potential to benefit our customers and the community not only environmentally, but also financially and economically,” SDG&E concludes.

“Now that the two-way chargers are up and running, Cajon Valley Union can participate in SDG&E’s new Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP) , which pays business customers $2 per kilowatt hour if they can export power to the power grid or reduce your power consumption when there is a power grid emergency.”

Courtesy of San Diego Gas & Electric

Courtesy of San Diego Gas & Electric

The program looks fun and fascinating. However, what needs to be shown for all parties is that this kind of thing can make good financial sense. Will this kind of partnership pay off for school districts, utilities, and everyone else? We’ll see what they conclude.

“We jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this pilot project because of its potential to help us build a healthier community and better serve our students,” said Scott Buxbaum, Assistant Superintendent for the Cajon Valley Union School District. “If we can reduce our energy and vehicle maintenance costs as a result of this project, it will free up more resources for our schools and students to use.”

The Cajon Valley Union School District pilot program isn’t the only V2G electric school bus pilot, and not even the only one SDG&E is engaged in. The utility has similar projects in the San Diego and Ramona Unified School Districts.

Overall, it’s exciting to see not just electric school buses hitting the road, or vehicle-to-grid trials with electric cars, but to actually see electric school buses act as large energy storage batteries.

San Diego is keen to lead on electric vehicles in various ways, and this is a big step in leadership. I expect more announcements from others as pilots like this get more enticing, and presuming that SDG&E does well.

“This V2G project is part of SDG&E’s broad portfolio of clean transportation and fleet electrification initiatives. For more information on SDG&E’s Power Your Drive for Fleet programs, visit sdge.com/fleets,” the company states in closing.

Courtesy of San Diego Gas & Electric.

Related (sort of): Sunrun V2G Charger Works With Ford F-150 Lightning To Power Your Home


 

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