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SEPTA unveils ‘energy action plan’

Posted on November 13, 2012

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) released its first-ever "Energy Action Plan," a comprehensive initiative aimed at reducing costs through increased efficiencies, while preserving the sustainable environmental benefits of public transit to the region. These measures could save SEPTA over $2 million a year through reductions in energy usage alone, with additional benefits expected.

The plan's release comes amid a time of significant budget challenges for SEPTA. For the third straight year, SEPTA has been forced to defer dozens of critical improvement projects due to funding cuts. The agency's capital budget of approximately $300 million represents a 25% reduction compared to funding levels of three years ago.

These cuts have forced SEPTA to do more with less, and to pursue alternative approaches of investing in infrastructure. Energy offers one such pathway.

The Energy Action Plan builds on existing energy-saving initiatives already implemented through SEPTA's overall Sustainability Program. A no-cost switch to daytime cleaning at its headquarters building has reduced energy consumption in the building by 10%, saving SEPTA over a quarter-million dollars a year. A first of its kind wayside energy storage device, funded by a state grant and installed at a power substation on the Market-Frankford Line, is projected to save SEPTA up to $190,000 a year on energy costs and generate thousands more in new revenue as the stored power is resold on the energy market. A newly installed propulsion control system on the Broad Street Line has made subway operations more efficient, and cut power costs by nearly 13%.

The Energy Action Plan will expand upon these successful initiatives with a series of new energy saving measures to reduce SEPTA's overall power consumption, saving an estimated $2.2 million a year. The plan also aims to leverage these savings to help finance much-needed capital improvements, many of which are on hold indefinitely due to funding cuts.

"The benefits of advancing these plans will benefit SEPTA in the short- and long-term," said SEPTA GM Joseph M. Casey. "The steps outlined in the Energy Action Plan will help ensure SEPTA is prepared to serve customers now and for generations to come."

To read the full Energy Action Plan, click here.

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