Boulder County Vehicle to Grid Program Initiates "Phase One"

By Eric Leech
October 27, 2008

Movement inside the bubble of plug-in vehicle technology known as “vehicle to
grid” has been noted in Colorado since this past March, 2008. Xcel Energy in
Boulder County has finally initiated their $150,000 funded Phase One of their
plan to put the theory of vehicle to grid in practice under the watchful guise
of four Toyota Prius plug-in hybrids.

Enthusiasts have been waiting a long time to see movement on this front. Vehicle
to grid for those who are not familiar with its term, is an idea of allowing the
grid to pull power from a plug-in vehicles battery peak periods of high energy
draw, such as during the mid day.

These energy companies will then pay the owners of these vehicles for the usage
of the energy stored in their batteries. There will be an automated system that
monitors the energy draw, making sure that the vehicle retains a certain amount
of energy for the owner to make it back home once they unplug and leave the station.

Boulder County will be testing its SmartGridCity, which will put Colorado's
notable sunny days to good use in harnessing the renewable energy of the sun to
help power the charging station located on their West Wing courthouse. The
prototype smart grid power stations will allow Xcel energy to note how the
overall system works and make any necessary changes before the larger scale,
Phase Two, is put into effect.

If Phase One is successful, Xcel energy plans to incorporate another 500 plug-in
hybrids (starting with 60 initially) into the system. They will also build solar
powered smart charging stations across Boulder from which to feed from. They are
currently seeking the funds for these later phases to the tune of about $6 million.

This prototype will allow local government to finally put the theory of “vehicle
to grid” into action and see for themselves the actual potential that such a
system could offer our cities.


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