Smart grid comes to Philadelphia train stations


Joe Casey,
General Manager,
Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — June 29, 2012 – The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has unveiled its recycled energy and optimization project, in which the braking energy of trains is captured for integration into the regional electric grid.

The new technology demonstrates what is believed to be a world first for the smart grid.

When trains brake at each stop to load and unload passengers, the kinetic energy of the train is converted into electricity. However, without a method to capture that excess electricity, it could not be stored for use at a later time. Energy storage has proven to be a solution for capturing regenerative braking to provide supply savings. It has also been proven that energy storage can provide support to the electric grid through the frequency regulation market. SEPTA’s solution brings these two approaches together to capture the regenerative braking energy of the trains through a large scale battery storage system and to deploy that energy as virtual power into PJM’s wholesale power frequency regulation and energy markets.

“We’ve made our system cleaner, greener and more efficient in recent years – things like replacing traditional diesel buses with diesel-electric hybrids and installing energy efficient lighting at stations, facilities and offices,” said Joe Casey, general manager at SEPTA. “Through this pilot project, SEPTA will become even more energy efficient.”

SEPTA is undertaking the pilot project in partnership with Viridity Energy, which is providing its VPower™ software optimization system. Saft was selected to provide the design, manufacturing and commissioning of its Intensium Max20 P System, a battery energy storage system (ESS). Envitech Energy is providing power controls, power conversion and system integration using its ENVISTORETM System.

The project is being funded in part through a 2010 Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) grant program as well as support from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, to demonstrate that energy storage can satisfy multiple value streams by accepting regenerative energy from train braking while simultaneously providing a revenue source by participating in the PJM frequency regulation marketplace.