New York environmental officials on Monday proposed emission limits on the diesel generators and natural gas-fired engines generally used to provide backup power at large buildings like hospitals and offices.
The Department of Environmental Conservation said the limits are on nitrogen oxide and particulates, noting the New York City area needs reductions to meet national air quality standards by a July 2018 deadline under the Clean Air Act.
Those that don’t meet stricter federal standards would need to install nitrogen oxide control equipment, replace units or use them only in emergencies. Some diesel-fueled sources may need to install particulate control systems, the agency said.
The compliance deadline would be May 1. The regulations are subject to public comments through Feb. 18.
“Establishing limits on these harmful emissions is a critical step toward protecting air quality, as well as the health of New Yorkers,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The affected units primarily operate on days with high electricity demand, frequently hot days when ground-level ozone pollution is elevated.
According to the DEC, the proposal doesn’t cover larger generators already regulated as major emissions sources, smaller units typically found in homes and other smaller buildings, or those used only in emergencies.
The applicable units have ratings greater than 150 kilowatts in the metropolitan area and 300 kilowatts elsewhere. The lower output provides enough electricity to power approximately 115 homes.
The agency didn’t immediately know how many units would be affected, though recent analyses estimated there are more than 15,000 diesel generators in the state for both emergency and nonemergency purposes, spokesman Sean Mahar said.
Jackson Morris, Natural Resources Defense Council director of eastern energy, said the administration recognized “the need to close what is currently a major loophole in the state’s policies, and reduce our reliance on dirty diesel generators.”
Filed Under: Industry regulations