Putting our commitment to the environment into action, we have launched a number of projects that rely on solar power as a source of our electricity and that utilize alternative-fuel vehicles.
Leading a national drive for greener fleets
Our commitment to responsible environmental stewardship is exemplified by our investment in alternative-fuel vehicles. Recognized in a 2009 environmental report by GreenBiz.com as the 7th largest green fleet in the U.S., our team of more than 2,100 alternative-fuel vehicles means 63 percent of the ComEd fleet uses a fuel source other than straight petroleum. Compared to a non-green fleet, this reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 4,200 metric tons annually - or the equivalent of removing about 1,300 cars (or 400 bucket trucks) from the road for a full year.
Alternative-Fuel Vehicle – Any vehicle fully or partly powered by an energy source other than 100% petroleum.
Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) – Any vehicle with wheels driven by a combination of a gasoline/diesel engine and an electric motor with an onboard battery. The battery is typically recharged by the gasoline engine and regenerative braking (Examples: Toyota Prius, Ford Escape).
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) – A hybrid electric vehicle with the additional capability of being plugged in to charge the onboard battery. PHEVs typically provide an all-electric range of 10 to 20 miles, depending on driving conditions.
Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) – An electric vehicle in which the wheels are driven solely by the electric motor, with a small gasoline engine to recharge the batteries. These vehicles also have a plug and larger battery for greater all-electric driving range. Typical all-electric range for an EREV is about 40 miles, depending on driving conditions (Example: Chevrolet Volt).
Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) - A vehicle that is powered solely by electricity via an onboard battery. Unlike the PHEV and EREV, BEVs have no gasoline engine onboard to supplement the battery power. Typical range for a BEV is around 100 miles, depending on driving conditions (Examples: Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV).
Our green fleet includes 10 Prius hybrids specially converted into plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). We also expect to deploy 25 PHEV bucket trucks and 11 GM Volt extended range electric vehicles (EREV) to our fleet by the end of 2011. The plug-in conversion increases fuel-efficiency by providing greater electric-drive capability.
Deploying these vehicles enables ComEd to study vehicle performance, environmental and electrical load effects, and how implementation of Smart Grid technologies can facilitate wide-scale consumer adoption of plug-in electric vehicles. The data collected from these vehicles is expected to provide insights into driver habits and how to optimize vehicle charging to minimize impact to the electric grid. Knowledge gained through these vehicle demonstrations will also aid in the development of customer education about plug-in hybrid EV technology and how customers can better manage their electric usage.
One of the oldest facilities owned and operated by ComEd
The Chicago North Commercial Center is one of the oldest facilities owned and operated by ComEd. The facility is operated 24 hours per day, seven days per week resulting in continuous demand for electrical power.
First installation in Illinois to use what is known as a SolarDock mounting system
The ComEd Chicago South Headquarters received a 26.9-kilowatt installation on its roof, as well as a 23.4-kilowatt parking structure. The modules used on the bill payment center are over twice the rated capacity of the modules used on ComEd's Chicago North Headquarters and the ComEd Chicago South Hydome facility. The bill payment center consists of 168 modules with a rated capacity of 160 watts each. Another significance to this roof installation is that it is the first installation in Illinois to use what is known as a SolarDock mounting system. Like other ballasted pan systems, there are no roof penetrations. The enclosed aluminum design has vents to allow for module cooling, yet reduces the wind uplift forces allowing for a high tilt angle and low ballast requirements. This dual photovoltaic system was commissioned on March 24, 2004.
The Hydome is the largest shop in the ComEd system
ComEd's Chicago South Hydome Maintenance Facility* was completed in June of 1995, and is approximately 22,000 square feet in size. The Facility consists of two sections: the atrium and the main shop. The Hydome is the largest shop in the ComEd system, has a forty foot ceiling to accommodate boom and crane repair, an enclosed parts room, and is the only ComEd shop with a passenger elevator. The Atrium houses the substation operating department, and the main shop houses the maintenance facility for the southern part of Chicago's service territory. Approximately twenty people work in each section of the building. The atrium operates at all times, while the main shop is open from 12:00 AM Monday through 11:59 PM Friday.
The Photovoltaic system installed at Commonwealth Edison's Chicago South Division Transportation Building features 432 PV modules, each generating 75W at Standard Test Conditions. The modules were produced locally by Spire Solar Chicago.
The ComEd South Transportation Center PV system directly converts sunlight into electricity and consequently emits no climate change gases or pollutants that can contribute to environmental damage.
* Grant recipient under the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs Renewable Energy Resources Program.