It’s time for SEPTA to get on board with clean renewable energy!
Worldwide, a historic shift from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy is beginning. Many transit agencies are investing in solar and wind energy to power their trains, subways, trolleys, buses, and buildings. Some examples:
- In NYC, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and many other cities, transit agencies have begun installing solar panels on their buildings and properties.
- The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has installed both wind turbines and solar panels and now obtains 20% of its electricity from renewable sources.
- Calgary’s light rail system has been powered entirely by wind turbines since 2001.
- California’s new statewide high speed rail system will be powered by 100% renewable energy.
SEPTA is carrying out important initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our air quality, but it has not yet begun investing in renewable energy. We commend SEPTA for:
- making its facilities more energy efficient
- building an innovative system to recapture energy from subway brakes and store that energy in batteries
- committing to buy the East Coast’s first fleet of electric buses, which the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission says
“could be cheaper than hybrids in the long run due to the volatility of gas prices”
Now we need SEPTA to become a renewable energy leader. In 2012, SEPTA published an Energy Action Plan. Regrettably, this plan did not include any renewable energy initiatives. Since 2012, renewable energy technology has improved and prices have dropped.
SEPTA is drafting a new sustainability plan, due out this fall. We call on SEPTA to conduct a comprehensive study that examines how the agency can transition to 100% renewable energy as quickly as possible. SEPTA should consider:
- options for installing solar panels on its own facilities and for purchasing electricity from solar arrays and wind turbines in other locations
- strategies for immediate action as well as alternatives that may become feasible in the future
- opportunities for creating local jobs in the expanding renewable energy industry
In addition to urging SEPTA to consider how it can procure electricity from renewable sources, we call on SEPTA to consider how it can transition its entire bus fleet to electric vehicles in the coming years.
The agency should plan its energy strategy in an open and tranparent manner, with input from communities, riders, and workers.