Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities Releases 5-Year Accomplishment Report

Report highlights improved infrastructure, sustainability practices, increased safety and grant money won.

Philadelphia, October 22, 2013 – The Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) released a report on the progress and accomplishments of the office during the past five years. The office, led by Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler, is charged with building a shared vision and coordinating decision-making among the energy and utility sectors as well as transportation and infrastructure sectors in order to save money and improve conditions throughout the City. Mayor Michael A. Nutter established MOTU after he assumed office in 2008.

“Because of this team’s great work during the past five years, the City has benefited from more than $90 million in grant funds to support our infrastructure. Philadelphians now have a better integrated transportation system that boasts new bridges, improved traffic signals and an expanded bike lane network,” said Mayor Nutter. “The City is a national model for green infrastructure. Philadelphia International Airport is embarking on a multi-billion expansion, and our strategic energy procurement program means that more of tax dollars are invested in City programs instead of utility bills.”

Among the highlights in the report are:
•Since 2008, five new airlines have announced service at Philadelphia International Airport and six new non-stop destinations have been added.
•In 2011, the Philadelphia Water Department and the Energy Office unveiled a 250-kilowatt, 1,000 panel solar system at the South East Water Pollution Control Plant, which provides reliable power directly to the facility.
•Traffic lights at approximately 2,400 intersections were retimed and more than 400 pedestrian countdown signals were installed since 2008. Crashes involving pedestrians are down 10 percent between 2008 and 2012.
•MOTU has helped secure more than $45 million in federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants for Philadelphia.

Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler noted, “Our office has made it safer to drive, bike and walk in Philadelphia. We have helped rewrite the guidelines for building city streets and we have forged lasting partnerships between a multitude of transportation agencies. This work can only be done because our office is set up to reach out across departments, across agendas and across constituencies. It is this coordinated vision which makes sure that the next generation of streets can manage stormwater and are safe whether you are a bicyclist, a driver or a pedestrian. It is this coordinated vision which helps invest more than $30 million dollars in traffic signals and buses to speed up transit service. And it is this coordinated vision which is helping build the airport of the future, one that will be a powerful engine of economic development.”

For five years, MOTU has improved transportation options so that Philadelphians can get wherever they are going, whether by foot, bike, car or transit. The office ensures that Philadelphia’s water, electricity and gas systems are of the highest caliber and that the City manages its energy use cost effectively. Working with partners from across government and the private and non-profit sectors, MOTU makes sure that the investments and plans that affect the city’s infrastructure are done with a shared vision of increased mobility and sustainability.

Mayor Nutter said, “The Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities is a professional, pragmatic and innovative part of City government. I could not be prouder of what the office has accomplished in the past five years and hope that MOTU has helped to pave the way for a more efficient and effective City government.

Commissioner Burns Announces Implementation of Legislation Encouraging Solar Panel Use

Philadelphia, January 19, 2012 – The Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I) has implemented two ordinances designed to encourage the use of solar panels systems in Philadelphia. Sponsored by Councilman Jim Kenney, the two ordinances amend the Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code to greatly reduce the costs of securing both electrical permits and building permits for solar panel systems (also known as photovoltaic systems).

Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Fran Burns stated, “These changes are not only part of the ongoing reform and focus on supporting business development, but also a step towards ensuring a sustainable and competitive future for Philadelphia and its residents. I am excited to support this energy option since solar panel systems decrease dependence on fossil fuels and reduce the risks of rising energy costs in the long-run.”

Commenting, Councilman Jim Kenney said, “Today we move Philadelphia in the right direction, towards a more sustainable and greener future, while also encouraging economic development and job creation. As we continue down this green path, we must be open to further innovation and development of cleaner fuel sources.”

Passed by Council and signed into law by Mayor Nutter in the 2011 Term, Bills 110533 and 110829 amend the Code to exclude the costs of solar panels and inverters in calculating electrical permit and building permit fees when a photovoltaic system is installed.

In 2009, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability released the landmark Greenworks report, setting a variety of sustainability goals, including a key target of purchasing and generating 20 percent of electricity used in Philadelphia from alternative energy sources. The passage and implementation of these code amendments are important steps towards meeting the vision of Greenworks — to make Philadelphia the Greenest City in the United States.

Mayor Nutter Opens City’s First Solar PV Installation

Mayor Michael A. Nutter, local and federal officials celebrated the completion of a new solar PV installation, the first owned by the City of Philadelphia, at the Philadelphia Water Department’s (PWD) Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant. The PWD installed a 250kW solar photovoltaic system, which was completed as a result of Philadelphia’s partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar America Cities program. The solar array, which produces enough energy to power 28 homes each year, also contributes to a goal of the Greenworks Philadelphia sustainability plan, to purchase or generate 20 percent of electricity used in the city from alternative energy sources by 2015.

“Producing solar energy at this City-owned water treatment plant reduces our greenhouse gas emissions, creates new jobs, and lowers our electricity bill. This is a smart investment that will help the city reach the goals set in Greenworks Philadelphia,” said Mayor Nutter. “I would like to thank the U.S. Department of Energy for helping Philadelphia to invest in renewable energies and to build upon our momentum to become the greenest city in America.”

“Philadelphia’s leadership in deploying solar energy highlights the important role local communities can play in expanding the U.S. solar industry and bringing more renewable energy online,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “This new solar energy installation will serve as a model for how cities across the country can partner with the federal government and the private sector to develop new sources of clean energy.”

The system at the PWD’s Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant is ground mounted and covers more than an acre of previously unused land. The treatment plant will use all of the solar power generated on-site, and PWD owns the Solar Renewable Energy Credits. The project was made possible by $850,000 from the City’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant from the DOE and $850,000 from the PWD and technical assistance from DOE’s Solar America Cities program. The PWD, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability were instrumental in identifying the site and acquiring funding for the project.

“By installing one of the first large-scale solar projects in Philadelphia, the City is demonstrating that alternative generation is both feasible and beneficial,” said Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler.

Commissioner of the Philadelphia Water Department Howard Neukrug added, “Water treatment uses large amounts of electricity. PWD is proud to use clean, sustainable power generated on-site. Because this project was so successful, we’re planning to replicate it at other treatment plants.”

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 www.solaramericacommunities.energy.gov. Solar America Cities is hosting its annual meeting in Philadelphia April 25 to 28.

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.