How New York City Transit's reimagined Cathedral Pkwy (110 St) station looks following five months of repair and renovation work. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

How New York City Transit's reimagined Cathedral Pkwy (110 St) station looks following five months of repair and renovation work. Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) unveiled plans to pilot technology that would use a “value stack approach” in managing power supply at a subway power substation beginning next year.

This approach utilizes the electricity produced by the subway’s regenerative braking. It is expected to achieve cost savings by executing a strategy of daily peak shaving, and generating revenues through participation in both Con Edison and New York Independent System Operator demand-response programs.

ABB Group and Viridity have partnered with the MTA on the groundbreaking pilot that, if eventually brought to scale, could achieve widespread savings and serve as an innovative approach to reducing peak energy consumption for the nation’s largest rail system.

Smart Battery is a wayside energy management system that has the capability to store and return braking energy. Currently, when a train brakes, most of the regenerative braking energy is not used and is instead dissipated as heat through the third rail resistors. With the ENVILINE Energy Storage System, supplied by ABB (Smart Battery), this energy can be saved and strategically released during peak consumption hours when the electricity from the grid is most expensive and demand on the Con Edison distribution system is at its highest.

The battery is operated by Viridity’s VPower DR program control module, a proprietary software package that is fully integrated with wholesale power markets and is utilizing best in class peak shaving algorithms. Peak shaving will allow not just the ability to achieve savings with regards to energy costs, but also the ability to generate revenue through participating in demand response programs. These are programs that actually compensate customers for reducing their energy consumption during peak hours. Practically speaking, this means that New York City Transit could eventually achieve significant cost savings by using less energy from the grid during peak hours than it currently does.

The pilot is being funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

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