Electric School Buses Used To Support Maryland Energy Grid

We already know that a widespread adoption of electric vehicles with V2G technology can help, rather than hurt the nation’s energy grids – but the Montgomery County Public School district in Maryland has taken the idea from theory into practice by using its electric school bus fleet to provide synchronized power reserves and support the PJM electric grid.

Together with Voltus, a leading developer of distributed energy resource (DER) software, our friends at Highland Electric announced a partnership to enhance grid reliability to the PJM wholesale electricity market using the energy stored in the Montgomery County Public School District’s (MCPS) electric school bus fleet when the buses were idle.

“By connecting Highland’s customers to electricity markets that value them, Voltus is unlocking the power of electric vehicle fleets,” explains Dana Guernsey, Voltus’ Chief Product Officer. “Transitioning the entire US school bus fleet from diesel to electric will represent about 29 GW of new electric demand across 480,000 buses [and] we’re thrilled to demonstrate the value that electric school buses can provide to support grid reliability.”

The Highland Electric team, too, is eager to show off the ways their electric school buses can help support local energy grids. “School districts like MCPS are leading the way in fleet electrification, delivering not only healthier transportation for students but also providing support for local and regional electric grid reliability. Partnering with Voltus allows us to offer another value stream to school districts, further lowering the cost of upgrading to electric and also supporting increased renewable energy penetration by making the bus batteries available to utilities and wholesale electricity markets when they’re not being used to transport students,” said Ben Schutzman, vice president of fleet operations at Highland. “Together with Voltus, we are strengthening the economic and environmental use case for school districts to go electric.”

The MCPS is the second district to put a program like this into practice, and it’s believed to be the first to do so on its own.

I had a chance to talk with Highland Electric founder, Duncan McIntyre, about what Highland’s all about, how it helps municipalities stabilize their costs, and switch to electric school buses quickly, and more affordably than before. You can check out that conversation, below, then let us know what you think of MCPS showing the rest of the grid how it’s done in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

CleanTech Talk: Highland Electric & Electrifying School Bus Fleets

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Source: Highland Electric.


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