SEPTA Receives Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence

SEPTA Receives Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence

Prestigious Honor Recognizes Cutting-Edge Program to Capture, Store and Reuse Energy Generated by Braking Trains

SEPTA’s successful efforts to reduce power consumption by using cutting-edge technology to capture, store and reuse the energy generated by braking trains has been recognized with a prestigious honor from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

SEPTA has received the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence — the highest statewide honor bestowed upon businesses and organizations for environmental performance — for its wayside energy initiative at the Griscom Substation on the Market-Frankford Line. The Griscom project followed the successful launch of the program at Letterly Substation, which also powers the Market-Frankford Line.

The award is given each year by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to highlight the best in environmental innovation and expertise. The award was presented to SEPTA during the April 2016 monthly SEPTA Board meeting.

“SEPTA is proud to receive this award, which recognizes an effort that is a major part of our overall sustainability program,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. “Innovative, cutting-edge projects such as the wayside storage program are delivering real economic and environmental benefits for SEPTA, the Philadelphia Region and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Carol F. McCabe, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, presented the award to Chairman Deon and the SEPTA Board.

“This award is the highest statewide honor bestowed by the governor and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, to highlight the best in environmental innovation and expertise throughout the Commonwealth,” McCabe said. “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.”

SEPTA was also honored with a Philadelphia City Council Citation, sponsored by Council President Darrell Clarke and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Chair of the Committee on the Environment, recognizing this distinctive achievement in support of environmental sustainability.

“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,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “We will continue using new technologies and innovation to develop projects such as the wayside energy initiative.”

SEPTA has taken an innovative approach to reducing electricity costs and consumption by partnering with Philadelphia-based Viridity Energy to develop a pioneering Wayside Energy Storage System that captures, stores and reuses regenerative energy created by braking trains. The program was first deployed at the Letterly and Griscom substations, where it has proven to be effective at reducing energy consumption. In addition, it has created opportunities for SEPTA to generate revenue by providing frequency regulation services to the local Regional Transmission Organization.

The successes at Letterly and Griscom have prompted an expansion of the program, with seven new wayside energy storage devices set to be installed at substations serving the Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line subway. This will create the first fully-commercial deployment of energy storage in a transit operation, allowing SEPTA to further reduce operating costs, ensure energy resiliency and support the stability of the electrical grid.

These efforts are part of the authority’s system-wide Sustainability Program Plan, which was adopted by the SEPTA Board in January 2011. The plan formalizes SEPTA’s commitment to environmental stewardship, and has placed SEPTA as an industry leader in advancing a comprehensive environmental, social and economic sustainability agenda.

For more information about SEPTA’s Sustainability Program Plan, visit