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 www.bouldercolorado.gov/evinnovation.
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.