A project funded by $2 million from the California Energy Commission grant aims to integrate electric buses with grid services to reduce grid impacts and generate revenue.

The grant to Prospect Silicon Valley and a collaborative including the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will be used to research, develop, and demonstrate an advanced energy management and grid services system for electric transit bus fleets.

The project will apply integrated systems to reduce charging costs through demand management, demand response, and wholesale ancillary services such as frequency regulation through unidirectional charging control. These features will be integrated with commercial fleet management tools for one of the first fully integrated energy management systems in a heavy-duty fleet.

As public transit agencies across the country move toward adoption of zero emission vehicles, this project is intended to optimize performance of the new technology and minimize stress on the state electric grid.

The project partners say that developing vehicle-grid integration (VGI) strategies will advance the state’s goal of reaching 1.5 million zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2025, as well as its goal of having 50% of state electricity generated from renewable resources by 2030.

The energy management system that will be developed with this funding is hoped to reduce costs for charging electric buses, minimize the impact of bus charging on the grid, and provide services that help to integrate intermittent renewables like solar and wind.

Prospect Silicon Valley and VTA are partnering with Proterra, Kisensum, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Lab, Cisco Systems, CALSTART, Energy Solutions, EV Alliance, and NOVA Workforce Development.

Currently, VTA plans to start using five electric buses in revenue service in late 2017, expanding the fleet to 35 over the next two years. VTA has acquired smart networked charging stations, which will provide the foundation for the Advanced Transit Bus VGI project. VTA will provide engineering services, fleet management requirements, in field testing, and collection of charging/energy usage data from the fleet.

Working with its Cleaver Devices VTA dispatch software provider, VTA will update the dispatch software to improve EV fleet management, and coordinating with Pacific Gas & Electric on rate usage and interaction with the VTA 1 megawatt solar installation.

The project partners say that single commercial electric bus batteries have a capacity of as much as 660 kWh and are charged at least 100 kW. California has over 21,000 public transit buses and full electrification of the public transit bus fleet could yield 10 GWh of capacity and over 2 GW of possible grid serving power.