SEPTA energy pilot to reduce emissions, generate $500K

Posted on September 1, 2010

Viridity Energy, a Philadelphia-area smart grid company, received a $900,000 grant for its pilot project with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). Viridity Energy will deploy its software optimization system to allow SEPTA to recycle the energy created from the regenerative braking ability of trains and trolleys at a high-use propulsion substation in Philadelphia, which will in turn improve power quality, produce energy savings and generate revenues.

The State of Pennsylvania awarded the Viridity Energy "SEPTA Recycled Energy and Optimization Project" funding through the 2010 Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) grant program.

Mass transit systems across the country are striving to maintain high quality service while facing growing fiscal challenges, which are further compounded by rising energy costs. The pilot represents a large and untapped potential for transit systems to help meet these challenges and at the same time improve grid reliability in highly populated urban neighborhoods.

The project calls for Viridity Energy and SEPTA to install a large-scale battery to capture the energy from regenerative braking of trains along a portion of the Market-Frankford Line, the highest ridership line in SEPTA's system. The Viridity Energy-SEPTA project will result in numerous economic, operational and environmental benefits including:

  • Delivers Energy Savings - SEPTA will capture and use electric power that would be otherwise wasted while reducing its electricity consumption.
  • Realizes Economic Value - In addition to using less electricity and reducing operating costs, the project will generate significant revenues through participation in PJM's wholesale power markets.
  • Increases Operational Efficiency - SEPTA will increase operation and maintenance efficiencies through improved power quality and system management.
  • Achieves Sustainability and Carbon Footprint Goals - By reducing its use of electricity generated on the grid, the project will help SEPTA decrease its carbon emissions by 1,258 tons per year.
  • Enhances Grid Reliability - The stored energy will help balance electric generation and electric load on the PJM interconnection system while assisting PECO Energy Company in preserving the reliability of its electric distribution system.

As part of the pilot project, SEPTA expects to generate approximately $500,000 in economic value for the agency. A successful pilot could lead to potential deployment at all 38 SEPTA substations. It is estimated that this expansion could translate into significant savings from SEPTA's current electricity spend.

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