Nuvve is exporting excess electricity in eight electric school bus batteries in the rural Ramona Unified School District in eastern San Diego County to the grid during emergencies.  -  Photo: Nuvve Holding Corp.

Nuvve is exporting excess electricity in eight electric school bus batteries in the rural Ramona Unified School District in eastern San Diego County to the grid during emergencies.

Photo: Nuvve Holding Corp.

The Ramona Unified School District in California's San Diego County has eight new zero-emission electric school buses. And, working with Nuvve and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE), the district is qualified to use the Blue Bird buses to generate revenue by selling energy stored in the batteries back to the grid through the utility's Emergency Load Reduction Program.

The Ramona V2G Project

The school district uses DC fast chargers supplied by Nuvve and enabled with the company's vehicle-to-grid (V2G) energy aggregation platform.

This particular program represents Blue Bird's largest commercial V2G project for a school district to date, according to a news release. By participating in the ELRP, SDG&E customers such as the Ramona district can receive $2 per kWh, which equates to a potential savings of up to $7,200 per bus per year, for verified export and load reduction.

The availability of grants, along with the Biden-Harris Administration's recent announcement of the nearly $1 billion Clean School Bus Rebate program, are facilitating the transition to zero-emission fleets for districts like Ramona.

"The introduction of electric school buses helps put Ramona on the map by showing that even small communities are playing important roles in the creation of a safer, cleaner future for our children and the planet," said Rena Seifts, assistant superintendent of Ramona Unified School District. "The data speaks for itself: if we don't reduce our dependence on fossil fuels sooner than later, the younger generations here in Ramona and beyond will be stuck paying a hefty price."

Since ESBs run on electricity only, they produce zero harmful carbon emissions and particulate matter that's typically emitted by traditional, combustion-fueled buses. In addition, ESBs can produce valuable grid service revenue streams that benefit school districts any time the buses are parked and plugged in through Nuvve's V2G technology.

"When a V2G interconnection occurs, the bus, charger, and grid are essentially talking to each other," said Gregory Poilasne, founder and CEO of Nuvve. "This communication through our GIVe platform is essential: it monitors the amount of energy being sent to the grid, while ensuring there's enough energy necessary for drivers to complete their routes the next day."

"Electric school buses are a perfect match for V2G technology because of their large onboard batteries," said SDG&E Clean Transportation Director Jeni Reynolds. "These zero-emissions vehicles not only help improve air quality, they can also help meet our community's energy needs by putting electricity back on the grid when parked."

Blue Bird, whose electric fleet is fully compatible with Nuvve's V2G technology, has delivered more than 700 ESBs to customers across the United States and Canada since 2018. With diesel prices at elevated levels, districts are seeking new ways to begin switching to ESBs while maintaining reliable student transportation for students in low-income or disadvantaged communities, in particular.

"Introducing Blue Bird zero-emission electric school buses into Ramona means that the school district puts student and community health first," said Albert Burleigh, executive director of EV business development for Blue Bird Corporation. "We're happy to see how Ramona is utilizing grant funding to transition to clean, next-generation student transportation. With literally millions of dollars in grant funding currently available, it's vital for other districts to look into ways they can electrify their fleets today."

How It Works

In 2020, Nuvve and Blue Bird announced a collaboration to introduce V2G-compatible electric buses to the U.S. market and thereby intelligently integrate electric vehicles (EVs) into the grid using Nuvve's V2G platform. All Blue Bird Type C and D electric buses come standard with Nuvve's V2G integration capabilities which, when combined with a Nuvve-supplied V2G charging station, can store and discharge energy. The excess, stored energy across multiple buses can be combined to form virtual power plants that offer valuable grid services which also generate revenue. 

By using Nuvve's V2G platform, districts like Ramona USD can realize cost benefits by intelligently charging ESBs when rates are low, allowing the district to sell the excess energy in their ESBs back to the grid, when needed. Proceeds can help offset the upfront costs of charging infrastructure, allow districts to afford more electric school buses, put money back into the classroom, and more.  

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