Rising demand paired with increasing extreme weather events has put additional stress on power grids. Consequently, utilities organizations need innovative solutions to put power back onto grids to prevent failures and outages.
In September 2022, a record-shattering heat wave scorched California and pushed its power grid to a breaking point. The soaring temperatures on September 6 pushed Californians to use 52,061 MW of energy, far exceeding any previous peak load. Only swift action from the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the state’s power grid operator, pulled the grid back from the abyss when it issued a Stage 3 emergency declaration and urgently directed residents to reduce their energy consumption to prevent blackouts. Among the ways residents could cut back: by unplugging their electric vehicles (EVs).
EVs may be part of a solution for bolstering grids worldwide. Some experts have proposed harnessing the power of EVs through vehicle-to-grid (V2G) initiatives that use vehicle batteries to return electricity to grids when the car is not in use. The benefits of V2G are numerous since EVs would become a distributed energy resource that could put power back into the grid during peak periods. Yet there are challenges in aggregation and scale.
To solve these challenges, operators should look beyond passenger vehicles to another kind of EV: Fleets of electric school buses (ESBs) could deliver on the promise of V2G.