AP NEWS

MBTA Aims To Cut Costs

May 7, 2019

By Colin A. Young

State House News Service

BOSTON -- The MBTA is partnering with National Grid and Eversource to reduce energy usage at T stations, trim the transit agency’s energy expenses, limit the emission of greenhouse gases and make T stations more comfortable for riders.

The three-year efficiency program announced by Gov. Charlie Baker earlier this week is projected to reduce electricity use at the MBTA -- which said it is the single largest consumer of energy in Massachusetts and in New England -- by an estimated 30 million kilowatt hours per year, a decrease of 7 percent and roughly equivalent to the annual electricity use of 3,947 Massachusetts homes, the administration said.

The $30 million that the T plans to invest in energy efficiency projects -- like installation of LED lighting and upgrades to HVAC systems -- at dozens of stations, parking garages and maintenance facilities are expected to save the MBTA $2.7 million in annual energy costs and will prevent the emission of 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

“Energy efficiency is the most effective way to save money on energy bills and we are proud it is a top priority for state government and the utility industry,” Baker said. “Through this partnership, the MBTA will implement energy efficiency measures across the transit system that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs while improving the quality of facilities for riders.”

Eversource and National Grid have agreed to provide incentives to the MBTA that, based on the transportation agency’s targeted energy use reductions, would add up to a total benefit of approximately $9 million. The state’s Department of Energy Resources will also provide $3.5 million in funding from its Leading by Example program to “improve the cost-effectiveness of the MBTA’s energy efficiency projects.”

“The partnership with DOER and MBTA takes a holistic, strategic approach to deliver year-after-year energy and cost savings to the MBTA,” Eversource Vice President of Energy Efficiency Tilak Subrahmanian said. “It also ensures that the MBTA has the necessary resources and support -- both technical and financial -- to create a more sustainable transportation system, which will benefit the Commonwealth and beyond.”

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said the partnership will lead to energy efficiency upgrades at more than 50 different T locations and will help the T streamline its warehousing operation by freeing up space currently occupied by different types of replacement bulbs and reducing how frequently T workers must replace bulbs.

Earlier this year, state utility overseers approved the 2019-2021 statewide energy efficiency plan and changes to the Mass Save program, including a reduction in rebates and other incentives for buying efficient lightbulbs and more of a focus on getting homeowners to switch to cheaper and more environmentally-friendly fuel sources.

DOER said the three-year plan, required under the 2008 Green Communities Act, is expected to result in the avoidance of more than 35.6 million megawatt-hours of electricity use and more than 1.19 billion therms of gas use, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that would have come with that energy use.

And late in 2018, the Baker administration released the Massachusetts Comprehensive Energy Plan, which found that the state must step up its efforts around energy efficiency in the transportation sector and building, heating and cooling if it is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower costs for ratepayers and ensure energy reliability.

Under the 2008 state law known as the Global Warming Solutions Act, Massachusetts is required to reduce its emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.