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City of Boulder working with Fermata Energy to test V2B technology

The City of Boulder is partnering with Fermata Energy to test the ability to reduce the city’s building energy costs with an innovative pilot at the North Boulder Recreation Center. The city and Fermata Energy have installed a charging station that enables two-way electricity: from the building to the car and from the car back to the building.

This vehicle-to-building (V2B) technology can provide the city new ways to manage its energy load, and to reduce energy costs.

Fermata Energy’s bidirectional charging system for EVs allows vehicle batteries to transfer energy from the battery back to a commercial building in order to support the building’s electric loads.

In the pilot, Boulder will connect one of its electric fleet vehicles to the V2B charging system, which also connects to the recreation center’s electricity system. Fermata Energy will continuously monitor the recreation center’s electrical loads. The city will have access to this information and data will be shared via the project website at


The fleet car will charge at night, when building energy demand is low, and discharge the battery to the recreation center during the day, when the building’s demand peaks. The goal is to reduce peak demand which in turn can reduce the monthly bill.

We look forward to testing this new technology and seeing the data to understand the potential of technology like this. If we can reduce our peak demand and save money through this project, it might unlock new use cases for expanding the city’s electric vehicle fleet. Not only can electric vehicles help meet our climate goals and reduce air pollution, they might be a strategy to reduce operation costs and enhance resilience.

—Matt Lehrman, the city’s Energy Strategy Advisor

The city expects to begin receiving data from the pilot in early 2021. Currently, the city owns or leases 21 all-electric vehicles in its fleet and seeks to replace gasoline and diesel vehicles with EVs as vehicles come up for replacement.

In September, Boulder City Council adopted the GoEV City resolution, declaring support for transportation electrification across the community and testing innovative electric vehicle technology such as this pilot project. Boulder residents interested in purchasing an electric vehicle can connect with EnergySmart electric vehicle advisors for tips and information.

Earlier this week, Fermata announced a new partnership with the Roanoke Electric Cooperative to pilot the first electric vehicle (EV) charging system equipment to meet the North American standard for two-way current, as verified by Underwriters Laboratories.

Also, Green Mountain Power has now become the first utility to use stored energy from an electric vehicle’s battery to help reduce peak demand on the grid. Last week, Bigelow Tea announced that it is now using V2X technology to offset its energy use and reduce its carbon footprint.



Using batteries to buffer energy usage is a good idea. The question is - what is the best way to do it - should you use car batteries, or local stationary batteries or grid level stationary batteries.
Using car batteries is tempting - charging them at night is the obvious thing to do (for everyone). The problem is - will the car be plugged in at peak usage time? If it is off on a run at the time, it nullifies the idea.
Local storage obviously requires a second battery set, but should be available all the time. However, it can only be used to buffer one plant's power usage. ON the other hand, it should reduce maximum power load, and if the electricity bill is based on this, you may save some money.
Grid storage can be used across the grid to smooth loads and chop off the peaks if there is enough, or allow peakers to be brought up in a more leisurely manner (if this is a big deal).

What this suggests to me is that if you had lots of grid connected vehicles (parked at home or in places of work), you could buffer quite a bit.
Lots of people use their cars once or twice a day and could be used for buffering.
Lots of people park their cars in work and don't use them for 8-9 hours in the middle of the day. So what you need are:
Lots of V2G connections in work and homes.
Ways of monitizing this for the benefit of the car owners (and avoid over using their batteries). You might be able to time shift 20 kWh of power from 20c / unit to 6c / unit. This is only $2.80 per day for quite a bit of additional battery use.
You might have to give people little green badges so they could wear their goodness as well as profit (slightly) from it.
What is needed here is a set of standards to allow people to hook these things up and not have to reprogram the system for each new country / county / workplace.


@ mahonj:
"Using batteries to buffer energy usage is a good idea."
Principally, I'd endorse that but on second thought I'd feel a bit uneasy about it. How far would a battery be discharged and recharged again? How many of these cycles would occur in daily succession? At any rate, these cycles definitely have an effect on the total life of a battery. Every cycle detracts from life expectancy. Who reimburses for financial losses? Is the battery owner contributing "good will" at his own expense? Maybe not such a good idea after all.


@Yoat, absolutely: - I do say " (and avoid over using their batteries)."
IMO, keep it less than 60%. This should have little effect on the battery capacity.
+ it depends how often you do it and how far you go.
You might go to 50% for 90% of the time, 60% for 5% and 70% for the final 5%.

So you must respect the lifetime of the battery, especially if it is someone else's battery.
This now makes the system programming much more complicated - each battery would be expected to know it's discharge characteristics and be able to communicate them with the V2G system in a standard way.

So, it is not a simple thing.

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