The school bus that could power your community…..

I remember seeing that ad for the electric truck that you could use to power your house if you needed to….but this is even better.

In Beverly, Massachusetts, an electric school bus delivered power back to the electricity grid for more than 50 hours over the course of the summar. It’s the first time the regional utility, National Grid, in New England, has done this – and it’s one of the first times it’s happened in the US.

Proterra photo

The bus discharged nearly three megawatt-hours of electricity stored in the bus to the regional electric grid over the course of 30 events this summer, says Proterra, which made the bus battery system.

Highland Electric Fleets, which provides the bus, chargers, and all electricity to Beverly Public Schools under a mileage-based subscription, worked with National Grid’s Connected Solutions Daily Dispatch program. By sending electricity back to the grid when demand for electricity was at its highest and most expensive, the school bus helped reduce local emissions and decreased the need to fire up costly fossil fuel “peaker” plants. 

Participation in National Grid’s program helps close the up-front cost of buying electric school buses as opposed to traditional diesel school buses, as revenue from vehicle-to-grid (V2G) programs offer a unique means to improve the economics of electric school bus ownership.

The average school bus transports students for about six hours a day, 200 days annually, and are otherwise parked or idled when not in operation. This is particularly true during summer months, when demand for electricity is often at its highest and clean energy stored in idled electric school buses can provide an energy resource to the grid.

“Beverly is proud to lead in electrifying our school bus fleet and to be at the forefront nationally, to successfully discharge battery stored electricity back to the grid,” says Beverly mayor Mike Cahill. “We look forward to taking full advantage of the economic, environmental and operational benefits that V2G technology offers. We truly appreciate our valuable partners – Highland Electric Fleets, National Grid and Proterra – whose collaboration has made this project a huge success.”

“Highland is thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking program as the integrator of industry-leading technology, forward thinking energy policy, and tremendous community leadership to solve some of the country’s toughest challenges,” says Highland CEO Duncan McIntyre. ‘We’re so honored to support those on the ground making amazing stories like this come to reality every day.”

“By delivering stored clean energy back to the grid when it’s needed most, electric school buses can help create a more resilient local power system and reduce the dependence on expensive fossil fuel power plants,” said Proterra president Gareth Joyce. “Switching to zero-emission, electric school buses signals a transformational shift towards clean transportation and clean energy to help protect the health of our children and the communities they live in.”