Vermont Electric School Buses to Help Prevent Grid Blackouts

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Originally published in the New York Times, November 8, 2023

Four electric school buses in South Burlington, Vermont represent a test of the idea that electric vehicles could be a buffer that soaks up power when there is too much and provides it when demand for electricity surges. While buses sit idle during school hours the local utility, Green Mountain Power, puts their batteries to work storing excess renewable energy so it can be pumped back into the grid when needed. Any suitably equipped EV can be used to store surplus electricity, but school buses work especially well because they have big batteries and spend much of the day parked. Tethered together with the help of software, the collective capacity of such devices to generate and store energy can be more than enough to avoid a blackout when power plants falter or strong winds take down a transmission line. In total, Green Mountain Power has access to 50 megawatts of battery storage from school buses, home batteries, and other sources.  


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