Prince George’s County is located in south-central Maryland and lies in the mid-Atlantic region. It has a total area of approximately 1,250 km2 of land and 41 km2 of water, situated between Baltimore and Washington D.C. This region receives 1.11 meters of rain, 0.36 meter of snow, and 203 sunny days in average per year. July is the hottest month of the year reaching around 31.2 and January is the coldest month reaching around -3.8 . There are around 92 days where the temperature goes below the freezing point. The shoreline is 119.5 km long with elevation level ranging from sea level to 134.1 meters.
In 2000, the number of households and population in the County were 286,610 and 801,515, respectively. In 2010, the numbers peaked at 304,042 and 863,420, respectively, and it is projected to reach 321,691 and 916,150, respectively by 2020. A survey for population by distribution was done by the Department of Commerce, Maryland in 2018. Specifically, the number of residents under the age of 5, between 5 – 19, 20 – 44, 45 – 64, and 65+ were 59,457, 169,455, 316,076, 243,720, and 120,600, respectively. The total number was 909,308 with the median age of 35 years old.
The income distribution showed the percentage difference among social classes that were divided every $25,000. The group that earned between $100,000 – 149,999 showed to take the highest portion of the population in the County; 20%. The top three lowest percentages were groups in $200,000+, $150,000 – 199,999, and under $25,000 chronologically at 8.2, 9,5, and 11.6%. The median household income arrived at $78,607, average household income at $95,699, income per capita at $34,391, and total income at $29,350 (measured in millions). The Gini Index was 0.38 between 2006 and 2010. It changed to 0.4 between 2013 and 2017, which indicates that it is showing an increasing trend, in other words increased disparity among residents regarding income inequality.
These figures below show the rest of the available economic facts regarding the County. They were obtained from the Department of Commerce, Maryland and the data were obtained from numerous sources including the US Bureau of the Census, Maryland Department of Planning, and US Bureau of Labour Statistics.
Figure 1 – Basic socio-economic facts1.
Maryland extends into the Appalachian region where the state’s only fossil fuel resources are found (coal and natural gas). A wide variety of renewable energy sources such as hydropower, solar, wind, and biomass are harvested across the state. Maryland consumes more than five times the amount of energy it produces, which is not sustainable if looked at in black and white. However, Prince George’s County is proposed a petroleum reduction consumption and renewable energy action plan to further promote sustainable lifestyle. This will be discussed later. Also, Maryland’s per capita petroleum consumption is one of the lowest in the country.
Petroleum products arrive in Maryland by pipeline or shipping and 90% of it is used by the transportation sector. The industrial and residential/commercial sector use 6% and 4%, respectively. Regions from Baltimore to Washington are densely populated, therefore motor gasoline used in vehicles need to be prepared with ethanol to reduce the amount of smog and toxic elements. The event type that affected the transportation of petroleum the most was incorrect operation for rail transport with an average of 0.3 accident per year. The leading event type affecting the most for petroleum pipelines was also incorrect operation. This was measured from 1986 to 2014. Motor gasoline and distillate fuel consumption make up 68,700 million barrels, which is 3% of the total consumption in the country.
In 2017, Maryland permanently banned the use of hydraulic fracturing in natural gas and crude oil production. Similar to petroleum, natural gas in Maryland is transported via pipelines and LNG ports. The residential and commercial sectors in the state are responsible for a third of the natural gas consumption, and the electrical power sector uses around one fourth. The industrial and transportation sectors are responsible for the remaining amount of the portion. There are 7 gas wells, 1 storage field, and 14 local distribution companies in the state with the interstate pipelines that are 3186.5 km as a whole. The total natural gas consumption is 5.72 billion m3.
Baltimore, which is located close to Prince George’s County, has the second biggest coal exporting port in the entire country. Maryland itself is accountable for about 0.2% of coal production in the country. More than 50% of Maryland’s domestically consumed coal is burned in the state, and most of the rest ends up in West Virginia power plants via trucks. The total coal consumption reaches around 7,800 million tonnes. The data for petroleum, gas, and coal were obtained from 2012 – 2014 (Reference 2 and 3).
The Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources (DER) and Office of Central Services (OCS) launched a Maryland Smart Energy Communities Grant Program (MSEC) in 2014 that aims to reduce petroleum consumption while implementing renewable energy plans. This project is funded by the Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF) and it is divided into chosen funding allocations; general energy efficiency, energy efficiency projects to benefit low/mid income residents in Maryland, and renewable energy/transportation sectors. One of the specific objectives of this plan was to reduce conventional/centralised electricity generation serving applicable County Government buildings to meet 20% of those buildings’ electricity demand with distributed, renewable energy generation by 2022. In 2012, over 1.6 million gallons of petroleum was consumed, and the goal was to reduce this amount to 328,075 gallons by 2018. For renewable energy, over 25 million kWh worth of energy was generated, which met the renewable energy goal of 11 million kWh. Figure 2 shows a strategies summary for these plans.
During the time of this plan, there were 3,682 number of vehicles in the County, where 1,296 were made up of police vehicles, fire emergency vehicles, and transit buses. The number of gallons consumed that was mentioned in the previous paragraph, 1.6 million gallons, were produced by the remaining vehicles of 2,386. The reason for the exclusion of certain vehicles was due to the importance of their service quality, therefore were not prioritised for the reduction plans.
The strategies to reduce the energy consumption are: 1-to-1 vehicle replacement, county fleet efficiency, adoption of biodiesel, and conversion of select refuse trucks from diesel to natural gas.
The objective of 1-to-1 vehicle replacement is to replace existing vehicles with more fuel-efficient alternatives such as the 2.4L Chevy Malibu, Ford Escape EcoBoost, and Ford Transit Connect. In a chronological order from these mentioned cars, the cars that would be getting replaced are Chevy Impala, Chevy Tahoe, and Chevy Express Van. The vehicle replacement list can be found on Reference 4. The fuel consumption reduction was determined by the average miles per gallon by vehicle type.
County fleet efficiency strategies involve purchasing plug-in hybrid vehicles, LPG fuel station, and mpg compact SUV’s. The replaced plug-in vehicles showed an average fuel efficiency of 95 mpg, a savings of 5,139 gallons. 57 vehicles were replaced by fuel-efficient ones and it reduced the fuel consumption by 8,192 gallons per year. The initial fuel consumption was 27,424 gallons per year. The County also purchased and installed propane auto-gas fuel station at the landfill to provide an anchor fuel site for the expansion of propane auto-gas fleets.
The amount of diesel that was affecting the programme initially was 361,505 gallons and if all of this would be converted to B10 biodiesel, fuel consumption amount would decrease by 10%. Biodiesel has a lower energy content than that of commercial diesel, which results in a minorly lower petroleum offset4. The estimated cost for B10 is about 8 cents per gallon more expensive than conventional diesel, however this cost would be lowered as the demand for it increases as the residents learn about it. It is assumed that no capital costs will be involved to implement this strategy.
The strategy for the conversion of select refuse trucks from diesel to natural gas varies by circumstance: 100% implementation, 50% implementation, or 0% implementation. Full implementation will convert 26 trucks for a petroleum reduction of 90,119 gallons and it will cost about $1.7 million including the costs of retrofitting the current fleet of vehicles as well as the cost of installing two slow-fill stations. Retrofitting will cost $1.3 million and the stations will cost $400,000.
Renewable energy action strategies are as follows: 41 kW/2.4 MW solar PV installation and installation of solar powered EV charging stations. Figure 3 shows a renewable energy generation strategies summary for energy reduction and expenditure regarding the action strategies. It assumes a 14% capacity factor for solar PV. 41 kW solar PV installation will take place at the County Animal Shelter, 2.4 MW solar PV installation will take place at the landfill, and the EV charging stations will be located at the McCormick Complex.
On top of these plans, there are other programmes being implemented in Prince George’s County such as Connected Vehicle Pilot Project, improved pedestrian lighting, and improved connectivity between destinations regarding walking infrastructure and bicycle pathways.
Connected vehicles (CV) are vehicles that are able to communicate with other vehicles, infrastructure, and devices through wireless network technology e.g. Wi-Fi or radio waves. These vehicles can notify drivers to close-by incidents such as accidents or heavy traffic, thereby enhancing the transportation efficiency and safety. One of the common CV technologies incorporate dedicated short-range communications shortened as DSRC. CV technologies can be used for traffic control, monitoring, congestion, toll collection, and pre-emption of traffic lights for emergency vehicles. To execute the pilot project, the County is collaborating with the National Harbour Property Management team, Trafficware, Traffic Technology Services (TTS), and TrafficCast to design the ideal venue. The use of the County’s central traffic management system will allow the drivers to receive data regarding traffic light phasing information, travel incident, travel time, and speed data. This is done by publishing signal phasing and timing data and MAP messages to service providers, who then deliver the information to registered drivers through LTE communications (mobile phone). Some of the challenges that will be faced during the project are evaluating network security from the intersections to the data-centre and assessing traffic and network equipment. This smart traffic system including a parking network server is aimed to be set up at National Harbour.
Pedestrian lighting is responsible for positively altering a citizen’s perception on safety. The scale of lighting should primarily enhance the illumination of pedestrian pathways instead of a roadway. Replacing old bulbs with LED is necessary as many parts of the roads in Prince George’s County are not lit. Street lighting is interrelated with surveillance system in terms of safety. Kokkonis et al.5 discuss that employing HEVC (higher efficiency video encoding) featured surveillance system have multiple advantages over traditional ones such as higher-efficiency video quality, higher computational power due to its complementary equipment, and more reliable with real-time streaming. This smart surveillance system is replacing the traditional ones as technology is continuously evolving, which brings down the cost.
1 Maryland Department of Commerce (2019). Brief Economic Facts. Prince George’s County, Maryland.
2 Department of Energy (n.d.). State of Maryland ENERGY SECTOR RISK PROFILE. Maryland.
3 U.S. Energy Information Administration (2019). Maryland Profile State Profile and Energy Estimates. Maryland.
4 Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources (2014). Petroleum Reduction Consumption Plan and Renewable Energy Action Plan. Prince George’s County.
5 Kokkonis, G., Psannis, K., Roumeliotis, M. and Schonfeld, D. (2016). Real-time wireless multisensory smart surveillance with 3D-HEVC streams for internet-of-things (IoT). The Journal of Supercomputing, 73(3), pp.1044-1062.