Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Federal, State and City Officials Celebrate the Continued “Greening” of Wilmington by Unveiling Solar Energy Project at City’s Filtration Plant

Solar Panel Array is Part of a $14.5 million Plan Funded Largely by Recovery Act Dollars to Decrease Energy Consumption at City-Owned Facilities

February 18, 2010

Federal and State officials today celebrated with the City of Wilmington as a new stimulus project, with important environmental and employment benefits, nears completion. Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin, Delaware U.S. Senator Ted Kaufman and Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf today unveiled a new array of photovoltaic cells at the City’s Porter Reservoir Filtration Plant. This project represents the first completed portion of a city-wide, $14.5 million program to decrease energy consumption across City government.

The solar panels will generate electricity for the Porter Filtration Plant—the water treatment facility that produces 75% of the City’s drinking water. The Porter solar array consists of 2,288 ground mounted panels that will generate approximately 650,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. The solar array alone will save the City an estimated $60,000 a year in electricity costs, cover nearly 25 percent of the electric load of the plant, and generate an estimated $120,000 in annual revenue through the sale of renewable energy credits. Upon approval the City will also receive a one-time rebate of $250,000 for the Porter solar array from the Green Energy Program administered by the Delaware Energy Office under the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

The majority of the funding for the City’s green energy efforts at the Porter Reservoir comes from financial assistance provided by the Delaware Division of Public Health’s Office of Drinking Water through a grant of $8.9 million under the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009.


“One year after the Recovery Act became law, it is still creating jobs and producing outstanding projects,” said U.S. Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.). “The Porter water treatment plant is a triple bonus. Not only did this clean drinking water project create construction jobs, but it will also conserve energy and reduce water costs. Infrastructure projects like these are why I voted for the economic recovery bill.”

"The Porter water filtration plant is a shining example of hundreds of green projects that are coming to fruition across the U.S. thanks to the Recovery Act," said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. "EPA is proud to assist Wilmington's continued progress toward building a sustainable city."

The Porter solar project is just a portion of the City’s overall green energy program. The $14.5 million program also includes building a booster pumping station at the Porter Plant to decrease operating costs; building a second array of 1,100 photovoltaic cells at the Turner Municipal Complex; converting all City traffic lights to high-efficiency light-emitting diodes (LEDs); and installing energy efficient lighting and HVAC equipment in City-owned properties.

When completed, all of these actions will result in an energy savings of approximately $1.14 million per year—an amount guaranteed under a 20-year contract with Honeywell, the technology and manufacturing firm working with the City on its greening/environmental initiatives.

“The City’s green energy program, a portfolio of various energy efficiency measures as well as major renewable energy solar installations, is the epitome of innovative renewable energy projects that the Federal Government, Governor Jack Markell and the Secretary of DNREC Colin O’Mara have been promoting for Delaware,” said Mayor Baker. “DNREC’s unwavering support of this project has been invaluable to us in implementing the project in a timely fashion.”

The energy saving measures will reduce utility electricity consumption by the City of Wilmington by an estimated 2.8 million kilowatt-hours per year – enough energy to power more than 260 homes annually. They will also decrease carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 4.4 million pounds each year. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this is equivalent to removing more than 380 cars from the road (www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).

The benefits from the City’s greening efforts are not limited to the environment; the Porter solar array project alone led to the creation of 22 construction jobs, including nine local workers recommended by Wilmington City Council Member Hanifa Shabazz (4th District) through her Preparatory Apprentice Instruction Development (PAID) Program—a 12-week program that assists individuals in successfully passing the various construction trade union entrance exams. The total number of jobs created by all phases of the City’s green energy program is projected to exceed 95 positions in three categories: construction, engineering, and manufacturing.

Background Information on the City of Wilmington’s Greening Initiatives

The City of Wilmington has demonstrated its commitment to the environment by introducing the state’s first single-stream, curbside recycling program. The city was also among the first cities in the United States to join as a Founding Reporter of The Climate Registry, a nonprofit organization established to measure and publicly report greenhouse gas emissions in a common, accurate, and transparent manner that is consistent across industry sectors and borders. Finally, Mayor Baker issued an executive order in August of 2008 outlining steps the City government is taking to lessen the impact of global warming on Wilmington and help preserve a respectable quality of life for City residents.

One of the primary goals of Wilmington’s new sustainability initiative is to achieve a meaningful reduction in its energy footprint; the City hopes to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from current levels by the year 2020. While City actions alone are too small to impact global greenhouse gas emissions trends, the City is joining coalitions across the country that collectively can make a difference.

Wilmington was among the first cities in the U.S. to join as a Founding Reporter of The Climate Registry—a non-profit organization established to measure and publicly report greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in a common, accurate and transparent manner consistent across industry sectors and borders. By joining the Climate Registry, the City agreed to voluntarily measure, independently verify, and publicly report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on an annual basis utilizing The Climate Registry General Reporting Protocol.  The protocol is based on the internationally recognized GHG measurement standards of the World Resources Institute and World Business Council on Sustainability.

Additionally, in 2006 Mayor Baker signed onto the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Under the Agreement, Wilmington has committed to take actions that strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol target (a 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012).

Mayor Baker also recently convened the Wilmington Energy Leaders Roundtable, comprised of businesses that have made significant commitments to addressing climate change. Members of the Roundtable meet regularly to develop strategies for encouraging other businesses and organizations to adopt “greener” business practices.


Information Concerning Honeywell, Wilmington’s Energy Consultant

Honeywell is a global leader in energy services, working with organizations to conserve energy, optimize building operations and leverage renewable energy. Since the 1980s, Honeywell has completed more than 5,000 energy-efficiency projects in facilities across the globe. It also helped 5 million homeowners decrease their energy use through its work with utilities. Overall, more than 50 percent of Honeywell’s portfolio is dedicated to technologies and services that reduce energy use and emissions. The company estimates the U.S. could reduce energy consumption 15 to 20 percent by immediately and comprehensively adopting its existing technologies.

For news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.

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