As Forbes uses Philadelphia to wipe its butt with seemingly weekly national rankings, the city hasn't allowed the nation's negative impression to dampen its innovate spirit. Perhaps that's because we're used to it.
Recently ranked the nation's most toxic major city, Philadelphia is silently leading the way in alternative energy uses.
While the West Coast's feel good factories charge their yuppies big bucks for a sense of self satisfaction and "green" gimmicks promise to save the earth, here we don't always have the most altruistic motives behind our innovations. We're prompted by the nudge most historically proven to succeed: Money. Whether saving it or making it, we're slowing finding ways to make alternative energies worth their weight in recycled cans, and they could one day save our cash strapped city.
I'm not talking about marketing hybrids and low flow toilets to hipsters. I'm talking about using experimental green technology to actually save money. It's been the dream of idealists for years. Renewable energy should theoretically be cheap, but the technology has always made it a luxury most economically diverse cities couldn't afford.
But not necessarily any more. Not only might Philadelphia be home to the first self sustaining sports complex in the word, SEPTA is now working with Viridity Energy to turn our 100 year old subway system into a fuel efficient hybrid.
The Pennsylvania Energy Department Authority has given SEPTA and Viridity Energy a $900,000 grant to install a regenerative breaking system along the Market-Frankford line generating 1.5 megawatts of power.
The power can use used by accelerating trains, stored for future use, or even sold to the city's power grid. SEPTA is expected to save $500,000. If the technology were applied to the entire system, SEPTA's energy use could be cut by 40%.
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