Bill S721-2009

Restricts operation of diesel powered electrical generators in areas failing to meet federal clean air standards for ozone

Restricts operation of diesel powered electrical generation systems in areas identified as not meeting certain federal air quality standards for ozone; provides limited exceptions for use.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 6, 2010: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
  • Jan 14, 2009: REFERRED TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Memo

 BILL NUMBER:  S721

TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to restricting the operation of diesel powered electrical generation systems in areas identified as not meeting certain federal air quality standards for ozone

PURPOSE : To restrict the use of diesel powered electric turbines to meet summer electricity demand in areas of the State that have severely compromised air quality. Permits the use of diesel-generated electricity in prescribed circumstances, including customary uses such as emergency back-up during a power outage.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Prohibits the generation of electricity by diesel combustion in any part of the State that is designated pursuant to the federal Clean Air Act and EPA as being in severe or extreme non-attainment of the national ambient air quality standards for ozone unless:

*the generating capacity is less than 100 kilowatts;

*the diesel combustion facility emits no more than 0.03 pounds of particulate matter and 0.03 pounds of nitrogen oxides per megawatt hour; or

*it is being used as an emergency back-up during a power outage.

JUSTIFICATION : Diesel generators are typically used as back-up systems during a power outage and occasionally to generate electricity for temporary uses such as by outdoor vendors. However, in order to mitigate anticipated electric price spikes that may occur during a period of peak load (typically during the summer) the NY Independent System Operator (ISO), the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) have instituted financial incentives for diesel generators to operate when prices spike.

Both the ISO and LIPA will pay diesel generators to operate during the summer in order to alleviate price or reliability pressures. The ISO will pay diesel fueled installed generating capacity if the owner commits to making it available on at least two hours advance notice for a minimum of four hours. The ISO program is statewide but the most lucrative payments will be made to generators in New York City. The ISO hopes to have 200-300 megawatts of diesel generation for summer 2001 in New York City at a cost of about $500 per megawatt hour. NYSERDA has offered to pay more than $2.75 million of Energy Smart funds to reduce the operating costs of those participating in the ISO program. LIPA has enacted a "supplemental service rate" that provides financial incentives for on-site generators to run these units eight hours per day, five days per week, during peak summer months LIPA expects to use at least 100 megawatts of diesel generated electricity.

During the summer of 2001, electricity prices spiked in New York City and Long Island. These spikes were caused by instances of market abuse and the inability of the NY ISO to contain them. They were not caused by low supplies, but rather by too few suppliers. The answer to the "price crisis" in New York City is not to call upon dirty sources of air polluting electric generation. Rather, controls that prevent the abuse of market power by suppliers (such as the ISO's proposed circuit breaker), and policies that enhance competition with clean sources of electric generation and that aggressively implement competition with

clean sources of electric generation and that aggressively implement energy efficiencies would set a judicious course.

Diesel generators are so dirty that the promotion of their use to meet the electric peak demands during summer, when air pollution is at its worse, is very unwise public policy. For example, 100 megawatts of diesel power is equivalent to putting an additional 140,500 cars on Long Island's roadways. Diesel-fired combustion facilities emit several orders of magnitude more oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sulfur dioxide (S02), carbon dioxide (C02), and particulate matter per unit output than natural gas combined cycle units. They emit 300 times the emissions of that emitted by a state of the art combined cycle natural gas power plant. NOx emissions are a key factor in the formation of ground level ozone, or smog, which is most prevalent in the summer. When inhaled, it can cause acute respiratory problems, aggravate asthma, and inflame lung tissue. Both S02 and NOx contribute to the acidification of forests and lakes and corrode buildings. C02 is a major greenhouse gas responsible for global climate change. Particulate matter is known to lodge deep within the lungs where its chemical components permanently damage lung tissues. Numerous medical studies link particulate pollution with premature death, respiratory related hospital admissions, asthma, and decreased lung function.

California's Air Resources Board (ARB) allows only the use of the diesel fired generators during a rolling blackout because they are so dirty, including: PM emissions from a typical diesel emergency generator operated only during peak demand can cause a significant increase in cancer risk for nearby residents (within one city block) by 250 in a million. On average, this represents a 50% increase in the cancer risk due to exposure to diesel exhaust.

Restricting the use of diesel generation is well founded on public health and environmental grounds. New York State should be providing financial incentives to use less energy, not incentives to create more air pollution.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : 2007-08: S.3172 - Referred to Environmental Conservation 2005-06: S.598 - Referred to Environmental Conservation 2003-04: S.2188A - Referred to Environmental Conservation 2001-02: S.5247 - Referred to Environmental Conservation

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None to the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE : Effective immediately upon enactment.

Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 721 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 14, 2009 ___________
Introduced by Sens. C. JOHNSON, DIAZ, DUANE, ONORATO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to restricting the operation of diesel powered electrical generation systems in areas identified as not meeting certain federal air quality standards for ozone THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The environmental conservation law is amended by adding a new section 19-0311-a to read as follows: S 19-0311-A. RESTRICTED OPERATION OF DIESEL POWERED ELECTRICAL GENERA- TORS. THE GENERATION OF ELECTRICITY FOR PUBLIC OR PRIVATE USE BY MEANS OF DIESEL COMBUSTION GENERATION FACILITIES SHALL BE PROHIBITED IN ANY COUN- TY OR PART THEREOF THAT IS DESIGNATED, PURSUANT TO SECTION 7511 OF THE ACT, AS BEING IN NONATTAINMENT OF THE NATIONAL AMBIENT AIR QUALITY STAN- DARD FOR OZONE, OR HAS BEEN SO DESIGNATED WITHIN THE PRIOR CALENDAR YEAR, UNLESS: 1. THE DIESEL COMBUSTION FACILITY HAS A GENERATING CAPACITY OF LESS THAN ONE HUNDRED KILOWATTS; 2. THE DIESEL COMBUSTION FACILITY EMITS NO MORE THAN 0.03 POUNDS OF PARTICULATE MATTER PER MEGAWATT HOUR AND NO MORE THAN 0.03 POUNDS OF NITROGEN OXIDES PER MEGAWATT HOUR; OR 3. THE DIESEL COMBUSTION FACILITY IS USED AS AN EMERGENCY BACK-UP SYSTEM DURING A POWER OUTAGE. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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