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United States : $18.3M in energy-efficient tech approved by SEPTA.

The SEPTA board agreed to make the regional transit network more environmentally friendly with strategies that are budget friendly, too.

The transit agency will start installing $18.3 million in energy-efficient technology on SEPTA regional rail trains and subway cars, and at 5 facilities.

The plan includes installing LED lighting, water conservation, and a variety of capital improvements designed to decrease energy use. Baltimore energy company Constellation New Energy Inc. was contracted to do the upgrades.

The board sanctioned the plan together with a resolution to explore the possibility of installing a natural gas power plant near the Midvale bus garage in lower Germantown that has the potential to offer 50 to 60 percent of the power needs for that facility and portions of SEPTA's network that used to be part of the old Reading Railroad line. Noresco L.L.C. of Smyrna, Del., will perform the audit and design and, if approved, will construct the plant.

SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel said, "To use natural gas to fuel our railroad is cool .

SEPTA officials said that Peco has a larger carbon footprint than a natural gas plant would,. The natural gas plant is projected to offer a 15-percent reduction in greenhouse gases, officials said.

The project must be audited and designed to determine whether a natural gas plant would result in sufficient savings to be worth building. The natural gas plant would provide for all the power needs on the old Reading lines until peak travel hours, when Peco electricity would be used.

The projected plant would dwell in a 3,200-square-foot area on land already used by SEPTA.

The two initiatives won't cost SEPTA above they're paying now. That's due to a financing arrangement that structures debt, so the money SEPTA would have spent on power prior to the changes would instead cover the cost of improvements.

The energy efficiency upgrades will present almost $2 million in yearly savings, most of which will be used to pay for the costs of capital equipment. The natural gas plant, if sanctioned, would cost an estimated $26.8 million. SEPTA officials said that it is projected to save $1.9 million a year, an undetermined portion of which will be used to pay debt.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Oct 24, 2015
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