Energy Technical Memorandum

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1 Southeast Extension Project Lincoln Station to RidgeGate Parkway Prepared for: Federal Transit Administration Prepared by: Denver Regional Transportation District May 2014

2 Table of Contents Page No. Chapter 1.0 Introduction Background Regulatory Setting Chapter 2.0 Alternatives Evaluated Chapter 3.0 Affected Environment Chapter 4.0 Impact Evaluation No Action Preferred Alternative Direct Impacts Indirect Impacts Construction Impacts Cumulative Impacts Chapter 5.0 Mitigation Chapter 6.0 References List of Figures Figure 1-1 FasTracks Plan Figure 1-2 Study Area Figure 2-1 No Action Alternative Figure 2-2 Preferred Alternative List of Tables Table 4-1: Annual Energy Consumption for No Action and Preferred Alternative in Table 4-2: Energy Consumed During Construction of the Preferred Alternative Table 5-1: Summary of Energy Impacts and Mitigation TOC-1

3 Chapter 1.0 Introduction This Technical Memorandum was prepared in support of the Southeast Extension Environmental Assessment prepared by RTD in This memorandum focuses on information regarding potential effects to energy production or consumption that would occur as a result of the Southeast Extension project. Because much of the analysis of energy production and consumption in the recent RTD Southeast Corridor Extension Environmental Evaluation, prepared March 2010 remains valid, information presented in this technical memorandum was taken from that report, and includes some minor updates. 1.1 Background In November 2004, Regional Transportation District (RTD) voters approved the FasTracks initiative to expand and improve public transit service within the Denver Metropolitan Region (Metro Region). The comprehensive FasTracks Plan, which formed the basis of the FasTracks ballot initiative, includes the construction and operation of new fixed-guideway transit lines, improved bus service, and park-n-rides throughout the Metro Region. The Southeast Extension was included in the RTD FasTracks program and is in the currently adopted Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). The fixed-guideway transit elements (rail and bus rapid transit) of the FasTracks Plan are shown in Figure 1-1. The proposed action is to extend transit service south into the City of Lone Tree to serve the increased population and employment generated by planned development in the City of Lone Tree. The Southeast Extension study area is located in northern Douglas County, and includes the City of Lone Tree and portions of Highlands Ranch and the Town of Parker. It begins at the existing end-of-line Lincoln Avenue LRT station and extends south along I-25 to the I- 25/RidgeGate Parkway interchange. It includes areas of planned development south of Lincoln Avenue on the east and west side of I-25 (see Figure 1-2). 1.2 Regulatory Setting NEPA requires discussion of energy impacts, requirements, and conservation potential of various alternatives and mitigation measures in environmental documents (40 CFR [e]). USDOT requires discussion of whether the proposed action would have any effect on either the production or consumption of energy or other natural resources and to discuss such effects if they are significant (USDOT Order B). 1-1

4 Figure 1-1 FasTracks Plan 1-2

5 Figure 1-2 Study Area 1-3

6 Chapter 2.0 Alternatives Evaluated This technical memorandum evaluates the effects of two alternatives a No Action Alternative and the Preferred Alternative. These alternatives are described below. The No Action Alternative assumes no new improvements would be constructed other than currently committed projects identified in the 2035 RTP. This alternative includes the existing bus routes in the area and a new bus route (Route 411) connecting Parker and the Lincoln Station along RidgeGate Parkway. The CDOT project that includes I-25 widening from RidgeGate Parkway to C-470 is also included as part of this alternative. Figure 2-1 shows the No Action Alternative. Figure 2-1 No Action Alternative 2-1

7 The Preferred Alternative includes a 2.3-mile, double-track light rail extension that runs south from the existing Lincoln Station along the west side of I-25, crosses to the east side of I-25 just north of the Sky Ridge Medical Center, and continues south to the RidgeGate Parkway interchange. This alternative provides three new stations. The Sky Ridge Avenue Station across from the Sky Ridge Medical Center and the Lone Tree City Center Station situated in the core of the RidgeGate planned development are both planned as kiss-n-ride stations without parking. A new end-of-line station at RidgeGate Parkway would provide a park-n-ride. Access to the RidgeGate Station would be provided from Havana Street via two access roads. All three stations would accommodate feeder bus service. The light rail tracks would be grade separated via an overpass where they cross Lincoln Avenue, I-25, and RidgeGate Parkway. One at-grade crossing is proposed on a minor roadway near the Sky Ridge Station. Two parking design options are being considered at the RidgeGate Station, as described below: Option 1: This option would provide a 1,300-space surface parking lot on opening day (2019). In 2035, the surface parking lot would be replaced with two parking structures that would accommodate a total of 2,100 parking spaces. The southern parking structure would consist of four levels and the northern parking structure would consist of three levels. Option 2: This option would provide one 4-level, 1,300-space parking structure on opening day (2019). In 2035, an additional 3-level parking structure would be built north of the first structure that would provide 800 parking spaces, for a total of 2,100 spaces. The two parking structures in 2035 would be the same design and configuration under both parking options. The Preferred Alternative is shown on Figure

8 Figure 2-2 Preferred Alternative 2-3

9 Chapter 3.0 Affected Environment The study area for the energy analysis includes the Denver metropolitan area. The most common energy sources for transportation include petroleum fuels for automobiles, trucks, buses, trains, and electricity for electrified transit. Currently, approximately 90 percent of RTD buses operate on diesel fuel and 10 percent on compressed natural gas (CNG). RTD also operates light rail vehicles using electric power purchased from Xcel Energy. Xcel Energy currently operates 17 power generation stations in Colorado, including seven hydroelectric stations, four coal-fired steam-electric stations, five natural gas fired stations, and one wind farm. In 2004, Colorado voters passed Amendment 37 that establishes a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) that requires Xcel to obtain a certain percentage of their retail sales from renewable energy resources. The Colorado RES for the period 2013 to 2014 is 12 percent, and is 30 percent by 2020 (Xcel, 2014b). At the end of 2012, about 17 percent of Xcel power came from renewable energy resources, such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, and biomass resources (Xcel, 2014a). Xcel is ahead of schedule to meet Colorado s 30 percent RES in 2020 (Xcel, 2013). 3-1

10 Chapter 4.0 Impact Evaluation An alternative is considered to have energy consumption impacts if it creates a significant increase in study area energy usage. Conversely, it is considered to have beneficial environmental consequences if it decreases energy consumption. Operational energy consumption was estimated by calculating energy consumed by transit and non-transit vehicle miles traveled. VMT were calculated using the DRCOG traffic model. Vehicle mix and energy intensity rates (per vehicle mile) were derived from the Transportation Energy Data Book, 31 st Edition. Where this information was unavailable for trucks, energy consumption was calculated by estimating fuel consumption per mile and applying British Thermal Unit (BTU) conversions supplied by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. 4.1 No Action The No Action Alternative would consume slightly less energy than the Preferred Alternative in 2035 (see Table 4-1). Under the Preferred Alternative, the decrease in passenger vehicle and bus energy consumption is more than offset by the increase in light rail energy consumption. The overall difference is negligible. Table 4-1: Annual Energy Consumption for No Action and Preferred Alternative in 2035 Annual Energy Consumption (million BTU) Change between No Vehicle Class No Action Alternative Preferred Alternative Action and Preferred Alternative Passenger Vehicle 217,166, ,149,153-17,232 Commercial Trucks ,698,273 0 Bus (Diesel) 1,289,481 1,287,686-1,795 Bus (Compressed Natural Gas) 16,740 16,740 0 Light Rail 381, ,035 21,068 Commuter Rail/EMU 237, ,777 0 Total 234,790, ,792,663 2,042 Source: RTD, 2014 The BTU for each category of VMT was obtained from the Transportation Energy Data Book, Edition 32 (U.S. Department of Energy [DOE], 2012). The energy consumption factor for passenger vehicles includes the weighted average for cars, motorcycles, and light trucks. Energy consumption factors by mode are as follows: One passenger vehicle mile (automobile) = 5,214 BTU One passenger vehicle mile (personal truck) = 6,960 BTU One heavy-duty vehicle (truck) mile= 21,698 BTU One transit bus mile = 37,718 BTU One light rail mile = 64,642 BTU One commuter rail mile = 92,410 BTU 4-1

11 4.2 Preferred Alternative The direct, indirect, construction-related, and cumulative impacts of the Preferred Alternative are described below Direct Impacts As shown in Table 4-1, the Preferred Alternative is expected to result in slightly more regional energy consumption than the No Action Alternative for Under the Preferred Alternative, the decrease in passenger vehicle and bus energy consumption is more than offset by the increase in light rail energy consumption. The overall difference between the No Action and Preferred Alternative is negligible Indirect Impacts No indirect energy impacts are expected to result from the Preferred Alternative Construction Impacts Energy, primarily fossil fuels, would be required for construction of the Preferred Alternative. Energy would be expended through earthwork and construction machinery and the physical construction of rail lines (such as grading track embankment, building retaining walls, and erecting bridges). It is estimated that construction activities would result in the use of 132,807 million BTU, as shown in Table 4-2. Temporary increases in fuel and electricity consumption for construction would not have a substantial impact on regional energy consumption. Table 4-2: Energy Consumed During Construction of the Preferred Alternative Construction Component Track Miles (single track) BTU per Track Mile Total BTU (millions) 1 At-Grade Track ,290 39,328 On Retained-Fill ,875 9,824 On Aerial Structure ,460 43,813 Systems NA NA 39,842 Total 132,807 Source: Southeast Corridor Extension Project Team, 2009 Notes: 1 The energy estimate assumes that 70 percent of the project energy (in BTU) would be for guideway construction, with the remaining 30 percent for systems Cumulative Impacts Although the FasTracks program will not result in a large reduction in energy consumed or VMT, future efforts should attempt to encourage fewer passenger vehicles on the road and fewer vehicle miles traveled. The implementation of either the No Action Alternative or Preferred Alternative would result in comparable regional energy consumption. Future transit oriented development near the proposed transit stations could reduce average home sizes and promote more efficient use of public infrastructure, both of which would reverse the past trends of energy consumption increasing faster than population. It is anticipated that implementation of the entire FasTracks Plan would result in an overall energy reduction. 4-2

12 Chapter 5.0 Mitigation Table 5-1 summarizes potential energy impacts resulting from the Preferred Alternative and lists measures that RTD will undertake to mitigate impacts. Table 5-1: Summary of Energy Impacts and Mitigation Summary of Potential Impacts from Preferred Alternative Direct Impacts The Preferred Alternative would consume slightly more energy than the No Action Alternative in Indirect Impacts No impacts Construction Impacts Energy usage of 132,807 BTUs. Cumulative Impacts Benefits to region from increased transit usage. Proposed Mitigation No impacts were identified in the energy analysis that would require mitigation; however, RTD has supplemental policies regarding implementation of capital improvement projects that reduce energy consumption and overall VMT. These include: - Creating multiple access points for parking lots, where possible. - Carefully designing kiss-n-ride drop offs to maximize efficiency and minimize number of vehicles idling. - Positioning stations to be more easily accessible by pedestrians and bicyclists. - Park-n-ride improvements. No mitigation needed. No mitigation needed. No mitigation needed. 5-1

13 Chapter 6.0 References Xcel Information Sheet, Colorado Xcel. 2014a. Information published at Xcel Energy s Web site: accessed May, Xcel. 2014b Renewable Energy Standard Plan. Volume 1. July

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