California Takes Major Steps To Support Electric Service Reliability

In November the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) took action to support electric service reliability for the coming years while keeping the electricity sector on route to meet the state’s clean energy goals.

The decision addresses CPUC staff and stakeholder analysis of California’s potential electricity shortages and includes the expansion of the Emergency Load Reduction Program (ELRP), which credits vehicle-to-grid (V2G) for export at $2 per kilowatt-hour for 30 to 60 hours per year in 2022 and 2023, creating a first-time compensation structure for V2G in California. This has resulted in the acceleration of V2G adoption by traditional utilities and provides a more accessible platform for school transportation managers to electrify.

“It’s really exciting to see that entities are recognizing vehicles as being able to participate in this type of opportunity,” said Global cleantech company Nuvve’s Director of Automotive Partnerships Russell Vare. “You can see that’s thousands of dollars per school bus that are now available for the school to offset those costs. That is significant money now available through vehicle to grid.”

The need for system resource adequacy and renewable integration resources begins in 2021 and will extend through 2023 and beyond, as more renewable resources are added to meet California’s clean energy goals. 

Some fleets are already using V2G to help electrify thanks to forward thinking energy providers. Nuvve and its partners deployed the first vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capable electric school bus and DC fast charger in the state of Colorado at Durango School District 9-R.

“Our software platform can do the energy management for charging and discharging of vehicles, earn revenue from the batteries while they’re parked, which then helps reduce the total cost of ownership for a fleet,” Vare explained. “We see our technology platform as a way to really enable fleet electrification. We’re bringing all the tools necessary to do that.”

Colorado/West Equipment, Inc., a Blue Bird Corporation dealership, delivered the first V2G-capable electric bus in Colorado through an Alt Fuels Colorado grant allocating funds from the $68.7 million Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Settlement aimed at reducing air pollution.

The member-owned cooperative La Plata Energy Association (LPEA) co-wrote the grant and donated funds towards the Blue Bird electric bus and Nuvve V2G DC 60kW charging station.

All Blue Bird Vision Type C and All-American Type D buses have been integrated with Nuvve’s V2G technology in order to enable bidirectional charging and utilization of stored energy in the bus batteries to provide power back to the grid. 

According to Nuvve, the company has continued to work closely with LPEA to provide grid flexibility, take advantage of low-cost renewables, and save on operating costs. 

“The utility has actually been the one who is driving the interest in the vehicle to grid functionality, so they have been closely coordinating with the school district,” Vare said. “What they want to do is test the technology, understand the technology, and then see how they can expand, leverage and grow it. They really see that as the key enabler to reduce peak energy costs.”

Developed over 20 years, Nuuve’s intelligent energy platform leverages vehicle to grid technology to transform electric vehicles (EVs) into energy storage on wheels, enabling the return of stored capacity from EV batteries back onto the grid when most needed. 

According to Nuuve, the district’s plans for their new electric bus include a daily route traveling about 75 miles per day. When not in route, the bus will be parked and provide energy back to the grid between 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., when energy demand is high, and will charge at night, when rates are lower.

“These types of programs are enabling a lot of growth,” Vare said. “We see that as really helping kickstart this industry for school buses and electrification for these fleets. We see it expanding beyond school buses as well. It’s exciting to see that there has been such commitment from a lot of the players in the school bus industry to enable this technology and a lot of awareness and funding going towards it.”

Nuvve and Colorado/West are also partnering to provide V2G electric buses and DC 60kW V2G charging solutions to additional school districts in Colorado, including Steamboat Springs and
Buena Vista.

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