CITY OF PHILADELPHIA’S FIRST SOLAR PV INSTALLATION BREAKS GROUND

Philadelphia, December 13, 2010 The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) has broken ground on a 250 kW solar photovoltaic system at their Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant. The project is the City of Philadelphia’s first solar installation and will help meet the Greenworks Philadelphia goal to purchase or generate 20% of electricity used in Philadelphia from alternative energy sources by 2015. PWD, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability are confident that the project is paving the way for many more to follow.

“The City is pleased to be leading by example and showing Philadelphians that generating electricity from alternative energy sources is feasible and sustainable,” said Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler.

“Generating solar power to use at our water treatment facility is win-win,” stated Debra McCarty, Deputy Commissioner of Operations for PWD. “We reduce PWD’s energy bills which ultimately benefits our rate-payers.”

The system at the PWD’s Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant will be ground mounted and cover more than an acre of currently unused land. It will produce enough energy to power 28 homes. The treatment plant will use all of the solar power generated on-site.  PWD will own the Solar Renewable Energy Credits, and CETCO, selected through the public works bid process, is building the project.

The project is made possible by $850,000 from the City’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), leveraged PWD funds and technical assistance from DOE’s Solar America Cities program.

“A great team of funders and partners has collaborated to bring this project to life,” said Kristin Sullivan, Program Director of the Philadelphia Solar City Partnership. “The City looks forward to learning from this project and replicating it.”

A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for the Spring to celebrate the project’s completion.

About Solar America Cities:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has designated 25 major U.S. cities as Solar America Cities committed to accelerating the adoption of solar energy technologies. The Solar America Cities partnerships represent the foundation of DOE’s larger Solar America Communities program which is designed to increase the use and integration of solar energy in communities across the United States. Visit Solar America Communities online at http://www.solaramericacommunities.energy.gov.

MAYOR NUTTER ANNOUNCES PLAN TO TRANSFORM 500 ACRES INTO PUBLIC GREEN SPACE

Philadelphia, December 7, 2010- Building on Philadelphia’s commitment to become the greenest city in America, Mayor Michael A. Nutter today announced a bold action plan to transform 500 acres of empty or underused land into publicly accessible green space in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia over the next five years. The new plan, called Green 2015, pledges that the City will partner with communities, local institutions, foundations and the private sector to assemble acreage that “connects people to parks” in underserved neighborhoods throughout the City.  At the same time, the plan provides an innovative way to boost the City’s compliance with new federal stormwater regulations that require the City to reduce stormwater runoff into local rivers and streams.

The plan was announced at a press conference this morning at the Hank Gathers Recreation Center in North Philadelphia, where future greening initiatives will include a community garden, new street trees, and stormwater improvements and the partial greening of a paved recreation area.  City officials will use existing public funds to pay for the greening initiative at Gathers.  Later today, the Green 2015 plan will be presented to community leaders, horticulturalists, and other opinion leaders at a formal presentation held at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Center City.

“Green 2015 is a strategy for using green space to improve the lives of our fellow citizens, more than 200,000 of whom have no access to parks today,” Mayor Nutter said.  “At the same time, it works as an effective tool for economic development by improving quality of life in neighborhoods all across Philadelphia. “This plan also improves the City’s compliance with the federal stormwater regulations,” the Mayor said.  “But Green 2015 is more than just a way for us to meet this federal mandate.  The genius of Green 2015 is that it offers us a way to turn an obligation into an opportunity – a chance to make our City a more attractive place to live, work and play for those who live here now as well as those we seek to attract in years to come.”

While the City will look to reallocate existing public funds to acquire land parcels that “maximize opportunity,” the Green 2015 plan does not contemplate the City’s acquisition of the entire 500-acre commitment.  Instead, much of the land targeted for this initiative already is publicly owned and therefore requires no public funds to acquire.  The City also will rely on private partners like the University of Pennsylvania, which has pledged to make the new, 24-acre Penn Park accessible for public use, to help reach the 500-acre goal over the next five years.

Green 2015 was commissioned by the Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the City Planning Commission, under a grant from the William Penn and Lenfest Foundations.  Other project partners include PennPraxis, a unit within the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, and the Philadelphia Water Department.  City officials also are in early conversations with the School District of Philadelphia about the possibility of greening some public schoolyards.  If successful, these concepts could be expanded across the system as part of the District’s facilities master plan, which could provide new green space for citizens while also reducing stormwater runoff.

“Our goal is to focus on parks and green space as a long-term investment in Philadelphia’s future,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis.  “Green 2015 charts a course for action that will make our city more equitable, livable, and competitive. “We can improve the air we breathe, protect the water we drink, provide children and families with places for recreation, and increase the attractiveness of our neighborhoods – all by taking affordable steps to transform existing land into publicly accessible green space,” DiBerardinis said.  “By any standard, Green 2015 makes sense for Philadelphia, and we look forward to engaging with many partners to advance this work.”

Green2015 offers a set of criteria to guide decision making about adding new parks, while at the same time maintaining and improving our existing parks.  These criteria include ensuring that new parks serve residents without current access to parks; meeting the requirements of the Philadelphia Water Department’s Green City, Clean Waters program and the Planning Commission’s comprehensive plan, Philadelphia2035; and addressing environmental, public health and economic objectives.  In collaboration with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Green2015 offers a long-range vision for a city-wide trail and greenway network to connect all Philadelphia neighborhoods with our great waterfront parks and regional trails along on- and off-road dedicated bike and pedestrian paths.

Green 2015 provides a variety of short-term “greening” goals that can be achieved without major new sources of public funds: paved recreation centers that already are budgeted for green improvements, for example; or the large stock of publicly- owned vacant lands; or paved public schoolyards. These sites are located in every Philadelphia neighborhood, and they present attractive opportunities for low-cost, high-impact greening that can create viable parks in areas that currently lack them.

“The plan’s recommendations offer a way for us to make a dramatic start in improving the look and feel of the City,” said Penn Praxis Executive Director Harris Steinberg.  “By contrast, it’s time to look at the cost of doing nothing.  There are more than 40,000 public and private vacant parcels in Philadelphia that cost taxpayers more than $21 million a year. “We are effectively subsidizing blight in Philadelphia when we could be using those funds in ways that improve the lives of our citizens, make our city more attractive for economic development, and preserve and protect our water supply,” Steinberg said.  “Green 2015 recommends a new course of action, one that provides a sensible new way to address these issues and build a world-class city in the process.”

 

 

SECRETARY CHU APPOINTS MAYOR MICHAEL A. NUTTER TO DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Mayor Nutter to serve on the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advisory Committee

Philadelphia, November 29, 2010 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter has been appointed to serve on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advisory Committee (ERAC) by U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu.  The Committee’s role is to advise the Secretary of Energy on issues related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, and to provide recommendations on long-term planning, priorities, strategy and funding.

“We have a plan to make Philadelphia America’s number one green city and I am proud that we are becoming a leader in the creation of a new green economy,” said Mayor Nutter.  “By encouraging clean tech businesses to locate in Philadelphia and supporting the creation of new green technologies we are creating jobs and helping small businesses today, saving homeowners money today, but also investing in the future and keeping America competitive for the next 100 years.”

The City of Philadelphia is fast becoming one of America’s leading clean tech cities.  Earlier this year the federal government, including the Department of Energy, awarded a $129 million grant to the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC) for the establishment of a national Energy Innovation Hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard for the creation and commercialization of energy efficiency technologies.  In October 2010, Mayor Nutter announced that The Mark Group, a home energy efficiency firm based in the United Kingdom, will establish its U.S. Headquarters at the Philadelphia Navy Yard creating around 250 new jobs in Philadelphia.  And earlier this month Mayor Nutter and the Metropolitan Caucus launched EnergyWorks, a program funded with a $25 million grant from the Department of Energy to provide a range of services and financing mechanisms to homeowners and businesses to help them finance improvements and save money on their energy bills.

Mayor Nutter is the only elected official to serve on the Committee and was asked by Secretary Chu to serve as a “representative of local governments engaged in accelerating the incorporation of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies into the existing energy portfolio.”  The Committee is expected to meet twice per year with the first meeting taking place on Tuesday November 30, 2010, in Washington, D.C.

A list of the other members of the Committee can be found here: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/eere_advisory_committee/members.html