VTA will install a clean energy microgrid and charging system with Proterra and Scale Microgrid...

VTA will install a clean energy microgrid and charging system with Proterra and Scale Microgrid Solutions.

Photo: VTA

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) announced it will install a clean energy microgrid and EV fleet charging system with Proterra and Scale Microgrid Solutions to help power the agency’s transition to a 100% zero-emission bus fleet.

This news follows a grant that was awarded for the project by the California Energy Commission.

In the event of an extended power outage, such as a public safety power shutoff, electricity stored in the microgrid’s battery storage system can provide back-up power at VTA’s Cerone bus yard to allow the agency to continue operating battery-electric buses, serving riders, and providing emergency transport if needed.

“If the lights go out, transit agencies and fleet operators need to know that their electric vehicles will be there for the communities they serve,” said Chris Bailey, president of Proterra Powered & Energy. “We’re excited to bring local clean energy and EV fleet charging to help VTA power through outages to deliver essential transportation services as they transition to a zero-emission bus fleet.”

The solar PV and battery energy storage system will give VTA operational flexibility on when to purchase the utility power needed to charge its vehicle fleet. This will save the agency on its electricity costs and further reducing its total operating costs compared to continued diesel bus operations.

“California’s electric grid needs distributed energy resources in order to support fully electrifying its transportation sector,” said Tim Victor of Scale Microgrid Solutions. “The system we are deploying for VTA will set the example of how distributed energy will alleviate many of the risks associated with the energy transition and provide cleaner, cheaper and more reliable charging power.”

Expected to come online in late 2023, the project showcases how clean energy paired with fleet-scale EV charging can enable the adoption of fully-electric vehicle fleets and further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“This project combines several VTA goals. It shifts us toward greener sources of energy, saves VTA money that can be reallocated to other operating needs and provides the infrastructure to charge our next batch of zero-emission buses," said Adam Burger, senior transportation planner with VTA. "Our riders will benefit from a newer, quieter fleet and we will decrease our contribution toward climate change and poor air quality."