Buildings and electric cars

Denver’s Alliance Center now linked with electric car batteries

At Denver’s Alliance Center, it will soon now possible to keep the lights on by tapping the battery of an electric car.

A bi-directional charger will be set up before the end of March in the small parking lot outside the 40,000-square-foot building, a red-brick structure originally built in 1908 and retrofitted with modern sustainability standards. The technology is sometimes called vehicle-to-building, or V2B.

This is from the Jan. 15, 2021, issue of Big Pivots, an e-magazine tracking the energy transition in Colorado and beyond. Subscribe at bigpivots.com

Boulder recently set up a Fermata bi-charger outside its North Broadway Recreation Center. In an experiment, the city wanted to figure out how much it could use the electricity from the car battery instead of the electricity delivered by Xcel. This matters during times of peak use, such as in late afternoon, when rates spike, reflecting increased demand. See story posted Dec. 8.

Because peak demands can still be met with electricity generated by natural gas peaker plants, there is a climate change component, too. Shaving the peak of demand reduces reliance on fossil fuels.

The Alliance Center is now home to many of Colorado’s conservation organizations. The Fermata Energy V2B System allows the building to draw on the energy of the car battery when it’s useful to do so, and the building’s electricity can in turn charge the car battery.

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Allen Best