Friday, October 09, 2009

Big agency, small grant, huge return

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The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority has received a $2 million federal grant to help pay for a project  expected to cut the  agency's energy costs by  $1.6 million annually.

The Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) grant will be applied to labor costs for installing approximately 350 wireless control points linked to third-rail heaters system-wide. MTA said the project will allow the heaters to be remotely monitored and turned on and off from a central point depending on weather conditions. The new system, which will have a total cost of $8.32 million, is expected to reduce energy consumption by at least 23,000 megawatt hours.

NYMTA's TIGGER grant is administered by the Federal Transit Administration; funding comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and is one of 43 grants totalling $100 million. 

On Sept. 21, the Obama Administration announced the $100 million in ARRA funding for 43 transit agencies that are “pursuing cutting-edge environmental technologies to help reduce global warming, lessen America’s dependence on oil and create green jobs.” The 43 grants were chosen from among hundreds submitted by transit agencies from across the nation as part of a competition; the FTA reviewed more than $2 billion in applications. Selection criteria included a project's ability to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and also to provide a return on the investment. Other criteria included readiness to implement, applicant capacity, degree of innovation and national applicability. Transit agencies began submitting their proposals after the FTA announced rules for the TIGGER grant program last March.

Most of the TIGGER grant money has been awarded for bus/bus-related projects. In addition to NYMTA, the winning rail transit project proposals are:

California: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, $4.46 million.  Red Line Westlake Rail Wayside Energy Storage System: Install wayside energy storage substation (WESS) at Westlake passenger station is at-grade level on the high-speed heavy rail subway Red Line. The nearby traction power substation will be switched off when the WESS is operating.  The WESS flywheel technology captures regenerative braking energy when trains slow or stop and transfer back to the same train or another train when it starts or accelerates, reducing energy demand and peak power requirements.

California: North County Transit District, $2 million. PV Solar Implementation at facilities: Install PV solar in a variety of facilities. CTD proposes to use the funding to install solar power generation capability across a variety of locations throughout the service area. NCTD will be demonstrating the feasibility of deploying solar technology in the rail right-of-way, investing in space that cannot be utilized for other purposes. Rooftop solar panels will be installed at District maintenance and administrative facilities to offset power needs at those locations.

Massachusetts: MBTA), $2.5 million. Renewable Wind Energy: MBTA will design and construct wind energy generation turbines in eastern Massachusetts (from among Kingston, Newburyport, Bridgewater).

New Jersey: NJ Transit, $250,000.  Efficient Air Compressor Systems at NJ TRANSIT Facilities: NJT completed energy audits of its 20 largest facilities and identified air compressor conservation opportunities including variable frequency drives and increased air storage at five locations. These projects improve the working environment, conserve energy, reduce operating/maintenance costs, and reduce GHG emissions for a ten-year lifecycle.