An Interesting Way to Add More Renewable Power to the Grid
Imagine if someone found a way to bring more renewable energy to the grid. Imagine if it would increase grid reliability. Imagine if all that power came from garbage trucks, postal trucks, and school buses.
PJM Interconnection is working on making all that imagination a reality. PJM is a regional electricity transmission organization (RTO) that provides electricity to 13 states and Washington D.C. They have developed a plan to convert fleets of garbage trucks, postal trucks, and school buses into all-electric vehicles. By doing this, they believe the vehicles could store grid energy in their batteries during off-peak hours.
Right now, for the grid to work, electricity generation and usage must occur at the same time. Unfortunately, this has made it rather difficult to incorporate more renewable power, since solar and wind power happen at random. However, by using EV-to-grid technology, the vehicle’s battery is used to store power and that power is then transferred to the grid when the vehicle is not in use. If this idea was applied to all of America’s garbage trucks, postal trucks, and school buses while they were in parking lots during off-hours, it could bring a massive amount of renewable energy only, plus balance load and generation.
Even better, it would also help out the postal system itself. How? Well, RTOs and utilities pay for the vehicle’s power that’s sold back to the grid. So, if every USPS vehicle (about 144,000) plugged in for 12 hours per day, the postal service could earn an extra $237 million to $378 million per year. Not only that, but by switching at least 3,000 USPS vehicles to EVs, it would also save the government $1,500 per vehicle in gas costs every year!
Funding is still needed to replace all of these vehicles with EVs and while the transition will most likely happen over time, there is some hope that a new bill will be passed. This bill would require the Department of Energy to work with the USPS to manufacture, test and deliver 20,000 EVs for their fleet. It certainly is an interesting idea and I’m curious to see what will come of it.
By Heidi Marshall