EVs Provide Supplementary Power During Colorado Floods

In case you haven’t been paying attention to the news, it rained in Colorado last weekend. Normally, this isn’t a newsworthy event, but it just so happens that we got about 3 months worth of rain in 48 hours. Rain that fell on mountain forests still scorched and bare from this summer’s wildfires. The result was catastrophic flooding along the Front Range.

Emergency personnel were deployed from Fort Carson to many of the affected areas, meanwhile the military base itself got a boost from an unusual supplementary backup source: a small fleet of electric vehicles.

image via Shutterstock

image via Shutterstock

Just before the torrential rains arrived in Colorado, San Antonio-bsed Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) announced that it had deployed the first electric vehicle aggregation system that would control five DC fast-charge stations at the Fort Carson Army Base in Colorado Springs.

The system uses the new Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard for bidirectional power using DC fast charging, and is meant to provide a system of independent backup power to supplement the base’s electricity needs.

“Aggregating the fleet of vehicles using software control algorithms allows the microgrid to see the electric vehicles as a single energy resource,” said Sean Mitchem, project manager and a principal analyst in SwRI’s Automation and Data Systems Division, in a press release. “Reactive power management allows chargers to absorb or inject power to better manage energy resources, particularly variable energy produced by a solar energy array at the base. Using this new technology, electric vehicles can use or store this green energy more efficiently than previously was possible.”

The aggregation system features a distributed architecture with a dynamic capacity for self-recovery to ensure maximum reliability and redundancy in the military environment. Cyber security components meet military requirements, and variable charge and discharge controls precisely manage EV energy consumption or generation in real time.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog