Green Technology in PJM’s Backyard

Green Technology in PJM’s Backyard

By Sheila Volinsky

Depending on where you live, you may see any number of green and sustainable technologies at work just by walking out your front door. Here in Philadelphia, I got a glimpse of some examples of green projects by taking a brief stroll around Center City.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Park occupies a 42-acre green space that previously was a parking lot. The park is home to 530 newly planted trees, a walking/biking trail and baseball fields with Astroturf™ made from recycled materials. Next to the Schuylkill River, the park is a natural retention basin and irrigation system, ideal for handling the heavy rain that has flooded our area in recent months.

Philly’s public transportation system has 472 hybrid (electric and diesel) buses. It also has a battery storage technology pilot on the city’s Market-Frankford line. Trains and trolleys on this line use regenerative breaking that converts the kinetic energy from one train’s breaking action into electricity that powers another train’s acceleration. Battery storage technology at a substation on the line captures the regenerative breaking energy when it can’t be used right away. The battery system also provides frequency regulation to the PJM grid, demonstrating new technologies integrating into the grid.

PECO’s green roof, atop the headquarters of the local electric utility, covers 45,000 square feet with 20 plant types. It captures about 60 percent of rainwater that falls on it, helping to keep that excess water out of the city’s sewer system.

And, if you want a brief respite from your work day in an urban oasis, you can stop by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society pop-up garden, formerly a vacant lot.

These are a few examples of green technologies in my backyard. What green technologies do you see in your neighborhood of the PJM grid? Please share with us.

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