Special Projects

Flat Rock Dam Hydro

The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) is in the process of repairing the Flat Rock Dam that spans the Schuylkill River where it passes Manayunk. In its future form, the earthen dam is being designed to accommodate a pair of micro hydro turbines capable of generating 3MW of electricity from the water that passes through the dam.

PEA is working with PWD to examine the engineering and economic feasibility of this unique hydropower project. PEA plans to use this project as a test study for a design competition with local higher education partners. Students will be challenged with navigating the complexities of hydropower, the electricity market, and electrical infrastructure in order to develop a design that can effectively interconnect and provide renewable electricity back to the City of Philadelphia.

Health and Hospitals Performance Contracting Support

Hospital buildings are some of the largest users of energy due to their reliance on energy-hungry equipment and the 24/7 nature of their business. Hospitals also require high levels of ventilation, which often means that heated and air-conditioned air is exhausted to the outdoors. Philadelphia, often hailed for its large cohort of medical providers, is home to many hospital buildings that were built in the 19th century and many others that could save energy by implementing efficiency measures and installing on-site renewable energy.

PEA is partnering with the Hospitals and Higher Education Authority to support these types of energy projects in Philadelphia’s hospitals. PEA is developing a program structure for the hospitals consortium to partner with energy service companies that will identify comprehensive energy measures and finance their implementation through energy performance contracts.

Viewing hospitals comprehensively means thinking beyond saving energy through efficiency and considering the security of facility operations. Therefore, PEA will advise the hospitals consortium on the values of microgrid technologies that allow for resilience in the face of power loss from the grid.

A healthcare provider’s primary concern is the wellbeing of its patients. Substandard home conditions can lead to negative health outcomes and high reliance on healthcare facilities. In some Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, poverty, poor home conditions, and reliance on emergency rooms for health care often coincide. In response, some health care providers are taking steps to improve living conditions for its most vulnerable patrons, helping to remediate mold and lead, as well as weatherizing homes. The resulting homes are healthier and more energy efficient and the number of hospital visits by their occupants drops significantly. PEA will partner with the hospitals consortium to pilot this home health approach in Philadelphia.