Amanda Byrne accepts EPA Green Power Leadership Award
PWD Energy Team member Amanda Byrne accepts EPA Green Energy Leadership Award 

It’s not often that PWD gets to share the stage with tech superstars Apple and Google, the design mavens at Herman Miller, or the cool kids at REI and Trek Bicycles. But on December 3rd at the Renewable Energy Markets Conference in Sacramento, PWD Energy Team member Amanda Byrne (pictured above) represented the city of Philadelphia, which received one of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Leadership Awards in the On-site Green Power Generation category. The award recognizes “achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable energy market and reducing greenhouse gas emissions fueling climate change.” 

Philadelphia received the award because of the Greenworks plan and its commitment to purchase and generate 20 percent of its electricity from alternative energy sources. A big step towards reaching that target comes from PWD’s Biogas Cogeneration Facility at the Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP), where we’re literally turning the city’s poop into power! The award also recognizes two additional green power projects by PWD, a sewage geothermal installation and solar photovoltaic system, both at PWD’s Southeast WPCP.

The 5.6 megawatt Biogas Cogeneration Facility—our largest green power project to date—came online just about one year ago today and produces about 40 million kilowatt-hours annually. This is the equivalent of avoiding 32,300 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year, the same as taking over 5,000 cars off the road! This facility is also estimated to save $12 million over the course of the next 16 years by producing 85% of the plant’s annual electricity needs right on site.

How does it work? It’s diagram time!
Biogas Cogeneration Diagram 

This plant’s primary responsibility is removing pollutants from our wastewater before sending that water back into the ecosystem. And we’ve figured out how to take the very… uh… stuff (this is a family blog, after all) we pull out of the water and use it to produce fuel for running the plant! So… yeah. Keep flushing Philadelphia!

This is the second EPA Green Power Leadership Award for the City of Philadelphia, which also won in 2012 for Green Power Purchasing. Want to learn more about the EPA’s Green Power Leaders and see who else got to share the stage with PWD and Google? Check out the EPA’s release here.