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NYSDEC to Propose Emission Limits for Distributed Generation Sources

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing new regulations to impose air emission limits and operating requirements on distributed generation (“DG”) sources. The proposed rules will respond to the New York Public Service Commission’s recognition of the need for such rules as the State implements its “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) initiative.

The regulations would apply to sources that have the potential to emit oxides of nitrogen at less than major source thresholds, but above certain power ratings.  In New York City, sources of 200 horsepower (150 kilowatts) or greater, or sources outside the city of 400 hp  (300 kW) or greater, would be regulated.  A DG source is a “stationary reciprocating or rotary internal combustion engine that feeds into the distribution grid or produces electricity for use at the host facility or both.”

A subset of distributed generation sources would be subject to registration and emission limitation requirements if they are used as “economic dispatch sources,” meaning sources used to reduce energy costs or to ensure a reliable electricity supply for a facility.  Economic dispatch sources would need to comply with NOx emission concentrations specific to the source’s engine and fuel type; these standards are equal to NYSDEC’s existing NOx RACT standards for major sources.  Particulate matter emission limits apply to economic dispatch sources firing diesel fuel. 

Economic dispatch sources will generally have until May 1, 2016 to come into compliance with the new regulations.  Economic dispatch sources participating in demand response programs have until May 1, 2017 to meet NOx emissions limits, subject to certain conditions. NYSDEC may also extend the compliance dates for sources in demand response programs that the New York State Department of Public Service determines are needed to preserve grid reliability.

The proposed regulation provides alternative compliance options, including potential source-specific emission limits where compliance with the default emission limits is economically or technically infeasible.  Alternative compliance options also include commitments to shut down existing units by May 1, 2017, conversion from diesel to natural gas, or lowering the effective emission rate by factoring in electricity generated from renewable sources used by the facility owner or operator.

DG sources that are solely “emergency power generating stationary internal combustion engines,” and are not economic dispatch sources, would only be subject to maintenance timeframe limitations, tune-up requirements, inspection, recordkeeping, and data recording.

NYSDEC plans to post an official version of the proposed rules, and commence public comment, on December 23, 2015.  The comment period is planned to last through February 18, 2016. Interested parties should consider commenting on the rules, or attending one of the public hearing sessions that NYSDEC has planned in various locations during February 2016.

© 2020 Beveridge & Diamond PC National Law Review, Volume V, Number 350



About this Author

John H. Paul Environmental & Energy Attorney Beveridge & Diamond New York, NY

John's practice focuses on environmental and energy law, project development, and environmental quality review of project proposals.

He assists clients in permitting, regulatory compliance, and enforcement matters involving waste management and disposal, hazardous wastes, bulk storage, wastewater, and air emissions. He advises clients with regard to remediation of contaminated properties and brownfield development, particularly on properties involving multiple ownership interests and complicated histories. He also advises and represents property owners and...

Michael G. Murphy Energy & Land Use Attorney Beveridge & Diamond New York, NY

Michael provides concrete, pragmatic advice that helps clients solve problems and achieve their goals in matters involving energy, land use, permitting, compliance, contracts, and litigation.

He worked for several years in construction before earning his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and making a decision to enter the practice of environmental law. Today, he follows a similar non-traditional path in advising his clients—eschewing cookie-cutter approaches. He dives into the factual and legal issues, learning what is unique about his client, and tailors his advice to...

Stephen L. Gordon Environment & Land Use Attorney Beveridge & Diamond New York, NY

Steve’s practice includes providing legal services to local government, energy, real estate development, natural resource, manufacturing and waste management companies in all aspects of environment and land use law.

Representative matters during the past several years include numerous administrative and judicial proceedings relating to hazardous waste and sanitary landfill issues, environmental impact statements and public hearings for the siting of major electric generating facilities, large commercial and industrial real estate developments, major industrial waste disposal...