SEPTA Wins State Environmental Award

The agency's battery-storage program earned it the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence.
A program that captures power generated by braking trains and feeds it to batteries via the third rail has earned SEPTA the state's highest award for environmental excellence. | Photo: Mturch from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

A program that captures power generated by braking trains and feeds it to batteries via the third rail has earned SEPTA the state’s highest award for environmental excellence. | Photo: Mturch from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

An innovative program to save energy and produce revenue by capturing the power generated by rapid transit trains as they brake has earned SEPTA the state’s highest honor for commitment to the environment.

At yesterday’s SEPTA board meeting, the state Department of Environmental Protection bestowed the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence t0 the agency for its wayside energy storage project at the Griscom substation on the Market-Frankford Line. The Griscom storage facility was the second such battery installation on the line; the success of this facility and an earlier one at Letterly substation led SEPTA to expand the program systemwide and add a revenue-producing power management component to it in partnership with Viridity Energy, which sells excess storage capacity to the PJM Interconnection power pool when needed.

“SEPTA is committed to an authority-wide sustainability program, and we are pleased to be making important ‘green’ investments on behalf of our customers and the region,” SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel said in a news release. “We will continue using new technologies and innovation to develop projects such as the wayside energy initiative.”

Pennsylvania Environmental Council Chair Carol McCabe said the award was the highest statewide honor that the state gives out for innovative solutions to environmental issues. “The award recognizes practical solutions to Pennsylvania’s toughest environmental challenges, and SEPTA’s wayside energy initiative is just that – a practical solution that uses cutting-edge technology with a bottom-line oriented approach to the reduction of energy consumption.”

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