Minn. Metro Transit runs on windpower

Posted on April 24, 2013

In recognition of Earth Day on Monday Minneapolis’ Metro Transit Hiawatha light rail trains were powered solely by wind energy.

Using Xcel Energy’s Windsource program, Metro Transit purchased approximately 71,000 kilowatt-hours of wind-generated electricity — about a day’s worth of the power required to operate the light rail line. Annual light rail ridership was the highest ever on the eight-year-old line in 2012 at 10.5 million.

Metro Transit and Xcel Energy officials commemorated Earth Day at a customer outreach and appreciation event at Xcel Energy’s headquarters adjacent the Nicollet Mall light rail station in downtown Minneapolis.

“Customers and communities recognize light rail as a clean transportation choice because there are no emissions from trains,” said Metro Transit GM Brian Lamb. “By teaming up with Xcel Energy this Earth Day, we are providing some 31,000 light rail customers with emissions-free transportation courtesy of Minnesota-farmed wind power.”

The “wind-powered train” is one component of Metro Transit’s six-year-old Go Greener initiative to conserve energy and reduce emissions. The Go Greener commitment includes the replacement of about 15% of Metro Transit’s bus fleet with hybrid-electric models and energy-saving capital investments at the agency’s six bus facilities. Together those efforts netted more than $4 million in fuel and utilities savings in 2012 as well as contributing to a cleaner, healthier Twin Cities environment.

Metro Transit and the Metropolitan Council were recognized with a Continuous Improvement Award by Governor Dayton last year for these and other energy- and cost-saving initiatives.

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