Bilbao (EFE).- Bilbao is going to launch this summer an initiative “unique in the world” in which the electrical network of the city’s metro will be used to recharge municipal buses.
This will make it possible to minimize investments in new electrical connections and optimize the use of the power contracted by the metro.
Bilbao City Council, Alsa (operator of the municipal Bilbobus service) and the partners of Medusa, the company created between the Basque Energy Agency (EVE), Repsol and Grupo Ase, have presented the first project developed by this company that seeks to promote sustainable mobility based on existing electrical infrastructures.
“It is about putting the power of existing electrical infrastructures at the service of fleets of electric vehicles for recharging”, as described by the general director of EVE, Iñigo Ansola.
In the case of Bilbao, the solution that Medusa is going to implement is to take advantage of the Metro Bilbao electrical network to power the smart charging infrastructure installed in the Bilbobus depots in Ribera del Elorrieta.
These bus depots are about 550 meters from the Lutxana electrical substation, which in turn is in charge of feeding the metro line that passes through the area.
Thus, an electrical connection has been designed between that metro substation and the depots, where a transformation center and a high-power recharging infrastructure have been set up that will initially serve to feed 8 new Bilbobus electric buses.
The system allows vehicles to be recharged without affecting rail service. In fact, it will be at night when there is no metro service when the recharging of the buses will be more intensive.
The electrical supply of the trains will always take precedence over the recharging of the buses if there is a metro service at that time, and the system will allow reducing the supply to the vehicles if a convoy passes at that moment.
“This solution is unique in the world. It is unprecedented that a transport company supplies energy to another ”in the sector, Ansola has described, who has also advanced that there are other cities that have already shown his interest in this initiative although he did not want to name them.
“This system can be used for everything that occurs to us. If we had a logistics distribution company with many vans that had a car park relatively close to a railway electrical network, we could consider” a similar solution, summarized the director of Development and Innovation at EVE, Enrique Monasterio.
Buses take advantage of the surplus electricity of the metro
Monasterio has specified that this project is about “taking advantage of idle electricity” from Metro Bilbao, which will result in cost savings, since, for example, you do not pay twice for the contracted power, although Bilbobus does will pay an amount for that energy that is going to receive.
He explained that buses “sleep” for a short time and that recharging is focused on those 5-6 hours that they are stopped. Monasterio has added that the power that will be available is very high (1 MW) and that the vehicles will be charged in that period.
This system is expected to come into operation in July of this year, with a total investment of 600,000 euros, including 140,000 euros from NEXT Funds for the electrical connection.
An “exportable” electricity saving model
Ansola has assured that this project began as a “dream” and has ended up being “a reality”. She has spoken of a “long-awaited” day and has insisted on EVE’s commitment to efficiency and energy savings.
From Metro Bilbao, its managing director, Eneko Arruebarrena, has assured that this initiative is an example of public-private collaboration to promote the electrification of public transport and a new step in the more rational use of electricity distribution. “It is a round project”, he has summarized.
The director of the North Zone of Alsa, Luis García, has highlighted the “exportability” of this initiative and has assured that his company is committed to renewable energies and that they will continue to advance in that direction with the objective that by 2035 all its urban “zero emissions”.
“We are facing a project in which we all win”, has described the Councilor for Mobility of the Bilbao City Council, Nora Abete.
Bilbobus currently has 13 electric vehicles that already have a charging infrastructure that will be maintained, to which 8 more will be added this year, which will be the ones that will use this new power system.