Mayor Nutter, Philadelphia Water Department Celebrate New Biogas Cogeneration Facility

November 22, 2013– Mayor Michael A. Nutter, EPA Region III Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, Philadelphia Water Department Commissioner Howard Neukrug, Ameresco, Inc., Bank of America and other federal, state and local officials cut the ribbon and toured the new Biogas Cogeneration Facility at the Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant.

“This new facility is another step in furthering the City’s sustainability goals in our Greenworks plan,” said Mayor Nutter. “We are becoming more energy efficient and reducing our use of non-renewable energy sources. We will continue to find innovative ways to use green power because it’s beneficial for the environment and our budget.”

The Biogas Cogeneration Project was designed to generate 5.6 MW of power for on-site use. As a natural byproduct of sewage treatment, biogas can be refined and utilized as fuel for generators and equipment. Carbon emissions are expected to be reduced by nearly 22,000 tons per year, which equates to the removal of 4,833 cars off the road or the planting of 5,390 acres of pine forest. On an annual basis, the project will produce about 85% of all the electrical energy used for plant operations.

“This project is an example of PWD’s commitment to develop waste recovery programs at all of our facilities as part of our pledge to be a sustainable and cost-conscious utility,” said Water Commissioner Neukrug. “Recovering the hidden fuel in our wastewater treatment processes helps to diversify our energy portfolio, while improving the environment through innovative, green technology. The Northeast Biogas Cogeneration Facility demonstrates PWD’s national leadership in transforming the traditional wastewater plant into the resource recovery facility of the future.”

Ameresco, Inc., which engineered, constructed and will oversee the facility, has developed an Economic Opportunity Plan that will bring green jobs to the city. The public-private partnership between the City of Philadelphia and Ameresco, Inc. qualified the project to obtain a grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Energy Services business unit of Bank of America Merrill Lynch agreed to provide the financing for the project.

About the Philadelphia Water Department
The Philadelphia Water Department serves the Greater Philadelphia region by providing integrated water, wastewater, and stormwater services. The utility’s primary mission is to plan for, operate, and maintain both the infrastructure and the organization necessary to purvey high quality drinking water, to provide an adequate and reliable water supply for all household, commercial, and community needs, and to sustain and enhance the region’s watersheds and quality of life by managing wastewater and stormwater effectively.

About Ameresco, Inc.
Founded in 2000, Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC) is a leading independent provider of comprehensive services, energy efficiency, infrastructure upgrades, and renewable energy solutions for facilities throughout North America. Ameresco’s services include upgrades to a facility’s energy infrastructure and the development, construction and operation of renewable energy plants. Ameresco has successfully completed energy saving, environmentally responsible projects with federal, state and local governments, healthcare and educational institutions, housing authorities, and commercial and industrial customers. With its corporate headquarters in Framingham, MA, Ameresco provides local expertise through its 59 offices in 34 states and five Canadian provinces. Ameresco has more than 850 employees. For more information, visit http://www.ameresco.com

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Mayor Nutter, U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announce $10 Million TIGER Grant for Philadelphia

Philadelphia, December 15, 2011 –Mayor Michael A. Nutter, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler announced that Philadelphia will receive a $10 million TIGER grant. This money will be used for the IMPaCT Philadelphia Project—Improving Mobility for Pedestrians, Cars and Transit. The project’s goals are to reduce congestion for transit and cars as well as improve reliability along capacity constrained arterials in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. It will also provide benefits in the form of reduced vehicle emissions and reduced fuel consumption.

“I am excited and thankful that the Secretary LaHood and the Obama Administration have granted Philadelphia $10 million to invest in its neighborhoods,” said Mayor Nutter. “The money for these upgrades will improve the commutes for 92,000 drivers, transit riders and pedestrians. Reinvesting in and maintaining our infrastructure is key to improving Philadelphia. The Administration understands that cities and municipalities cannot wait for Congress to get the job done.”

Secretary LaHood said, “The overwhelming demand for these grants clearly shows that communities across the country can’t afford to wait any longer for Congress to put Americans to work building the transportation projects that are critical to our economic future. That’s why we’ve taken action to get these grants out the door quickly, and that is why we will continue to ask Congress to make the targeted investments we need to create jobs, repair our nation’s transportation systems, better serve the traveling public and our nation’s businesses, factories and farms, and make sure our economy continues to grow.”

IMPaCT Philadelphia is a cooperative effort between the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, Philadelphia Streets Department, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Improvements will take place along transit corridors in Northeast Philadelphia and West Philadelphia.

“We have a fabulous team of partners who over the past few years has successfully brought tens of millions of dollars of competitive grant funds to Philadelphia. Today is one more win for Philly.”

The project will upgrade nearly 100 existing traffic controllers to solid state controllers and connect them through fiber-optic cable. It will also provide infrastructure for the transit signal prioritization, which will extend the green light when a bus or trolley is detected. Other intersection improvements include ADA ramp upgrades, pedestrian countdown signals and improvements in safety and access for pedestrians and people with disabilities.

TIGER grants are awarded to transportation projects that have a significant national or regional impact. Projects are chosen for their ability to contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and enhance the quality of living and working environments of communities through increased transportation choices and connections. The Department also gives priority to projects that are expected to create and preserve jobs quickly and stimulate increases in economic activity.

The continuing demand for TIGER grants highlights the need for further investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure that could be provided by President Obama’s American Jobs Act. The American Jobs Act would provide $50 billion to improve 150,000 miles of road, replace 4,000 miles of track, and restore 150 miles of runways, creating jobs for American workers and building a safer, more efficient transportation network. It would also provide $10 billion for the creation of a bipartisan National Infrastructure bank.

Philadelphia Intervenes in Defense of EPA Air Pollution Rule to Reduce Harmful Emissions from Power Plants

City files to protect Philadelphia residents’ health and to oppose efforts to delay Cross State Air Pollution Rule

Philadelphia, October 25, 2011 – The City filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday to intervene in defense of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). CSAPR, when implemented, will reduce the transport of harmful air pollutants from coal-fired power plants in upwind states to downwind regions such as Philadelphia.

Mayor Michael A. Nutter said, “Studies have shown that the benefits of CSAPR far exceed the cost of compliance, and the longer polluters delay implementation of this vital rule, the longer Philadelphia residents—particularly sensitive groups such as children, seniors, and those with health issues—will be denied the tremendous health and economic benefits of cleaner air.”

Operators of coal-fired power plants that are major contributors to downwind air pollution and the upwind states that they call home have challenged CSAPR on the grounds that they will be unable to comply with the regulation in the required timeframe. However, CSAPR’s challengers have long been aware of the required reductions and have had time to prepare. Several power plants in upwind states have already installed necessary pollution control devices to reduce airborne emissions and aid in CSAPR compliance.

Promulgated under the Clean Air Act, CSAPR establishes a market-based, emissions trading system that will limit the release of air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, that travel long distances through the air and contribute to harmful levels of smog (ozone) and soot (fine particulates). The emission of these pollutants from coal-fired power plants and other sources located in upwind states currently make it difficult, if not impossible, for the Philadelphia region to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone and fine particulates.

Area residents will enjoy improved air quality and substantial health care savings as a result of CSAPR’s implementation. Exposure to high airborne concentrations of ozone and fine particulates are scientifically linked to widespread illnesses and premature deaths. In particular, more than one in five children in Philadelphia suffer from asthma, a respiratory disease that is aggravated by Ozone and Fine Particulate pollution.

Nitrogen oxides, fine particulate, and sulfur dioxide emissions in Pennsylvania will fall by 11, 54, and 75 percent respectively in 2014 with the timely implementation of CSAPR. The airborne concentration of fine particulates in Philadelphia alone is projected to drop by 9 percent over the same period. EPA has calculated that the improvement in air quality attributable to CSAPR will prevent up to 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 non-fatal heart attacks and 400,000 cases of aggravated asthma nationwide every year. It is estimated that Pennsylvania’s share of these national health benefits will be worth billions of dollars annually.

City Solicitor Shelley R. Smith said, “By reducing the amount of air pollutants transported from other states into ours, EPA’s rule will deliver substantial health and economic benefits to the people of Philadelphia and the region.”

“CSAPR will ensure the air we breathe is cleaner, which means less illness and lower health care costs,” said Health Commissioner Donald F. Schwarz.

City of Philadelphia Receives Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant from Pennsylvania DEP to Add Electric Vehicles to Local Car Share Fleets

Philadelphia, November 16, 2010 – Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced today that the City of Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Office of Sustainability will receive a $140,000 Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) to purchase and install chargers for 20 electric vehicles (EV) in Philadelphia.  The chargers will serve 18 EVs that PhillyCarShare and Zipcar will add to their fleets and provide two parking spaces with charging services available the public.  By displacing 18 traditional car share vehicles, the project is expected to cut CO2 emissions by 61,000 pounds per year.

Greenworks Philadelphia sets a goal to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2015,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “Adding electric vehicles to Philadelphia’s successful car share programs will give thousands of Philadelphia drivers an affordable opportunity to experience new EV technology and help the City reach our ambitious sustainability goals.”

Electric vehicle technology is well suited for car share use because the average car share trip is between 30 and 40 miles long, well within the range of one battery charge.  Using EVs in high-mileage fleet settings such as car share programs also increases the environmental benefit of the vehicles by replacing a large number of traditional fuel vehicle miles driven.

The project is an important first step in strengthening Philadelphia’s EV infrastructure.  It will help the City understand and improve EV charger installation permitting, give PECO valuable information about how chargers interact with the existing grid, and provide data on how electric vehicles perform in Philadelphia’s weather and traffic conditions.

“This project starts solving the chicken and egg problem by creating an electric car public charging infrastructure that will then encourage people to purchase and use electric cars,” said DEP Secretary John Hanger. “The project also shows that Philadelphia can be a leader in the electric car revolution that will create enormous health, environmental and economic benefits.”

Further information on the City of Philadelphia’s Greenworks Philadelphia sustainability plan and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability can be found at www.phila.gov/green.

For more information on PA DEP’s AFIG program, visit: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/alternative_fuels_incentive_grant-move_to_grants/10492

 

 

City Unveils Green Philly, Grow Philly Tree Campaign

On April 24, Mayor Nutter, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis, and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society President-elect Drew Becher kicked-off the first phase of Philadelphia’s comprehensive tree-planting campaign in the city’s Francisville neighborhood.

“This kick-off event with Francisville exemplifies the new tree planting model which leverages community partnerships to increase the number of trees planted,” said Mayor Nutter. “With the help of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, corporate partners, local non-profit organizations, and other institutions, I have no doubt that Philadelphia will become the greenest big city in America.”

Greenworks sets a goal of planting 300,000 new trees in the city by 2015. The increased tree canopy will bring a multitude of benefits: decreased air pollution, reduced stormwater runoff, energy savings, increased property values, and an overall improvement of quality of life in the City.

The newly-merged Department of Parks and Recreation, led by Commissioner DiBerardinis, will organize and implement a tree-planting campaign to advance this tree work and promote a premiere Parks and Recreation system, which is safe, clean, ready to use, and green. As part of the new tree planting model, the University of Pennsylvania has signed on as one of the first institutional partners.  The Parks and Recreation Department will announce details of other exciting institutional and corporate partnerships prior to the fall launch.

Health Department Receives Funding for Food Access and Tobacco Prevention

On March 22, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health was awarded cooperative agreements totaling $25.4 million over two years for prevention and wellness initiatives. The two awards are from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The first award, totaling $10.4 million, will fund work to decrease smoking and secondhand smoke exposure among city residents. The second award, totaling $15 million, will fund promotion of healthy nutrition and increased physical activity.
Health Commissioner Don Schwarz said, “The Philadelphia Department of Public Health will use this new federal funding to begin the process of creating an infrastructure for healthy living in Philadelphia. We will make tobacco cessation resources more accessible to Philadelphia smokers, further restricting youth access to cigarettes, and changing the norms about smoking throughout the city. These resources will also help combat chronic disease by making healthy foods more available to Philadelphians, decreasing the availability and consumption of unhealthy foods, and promoting physical activity.”
The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability will coordinate with the Department of Public Health to meet both the healthy food access goals of the Health Department’s project and the Greenworks Philadelphia goal of creating 86 fresh food outlets by 2015.