Two employees at environmental group the US Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) have called on New York state (pictured, map view) to pass proposed emissions regulations for distributed energy resources (DER).

The rules, proposed in December, would set maximum emissions rates for NOx and particulate matter for diesel generators and gas-fired industrial backup power systems. The rules would apply to generators with nameplate ratings over 150 kW in New York City and over 300 kW in the rest of the state, with an exception for sources that are used only for emergency generation.  

In a blog post this week, Miles Farmer, a Legal Fellow with New York City’s Energy & Transportation Program, and Jackson Morris, director of renewable power firm Eastern Energy, said many of the state’s municipalities do not currently meet the federal government’s standards for ozone pollution, a by-product of NOx emissions, but the new regulations would bring the state into compliance by the federal deadline of July 2018.  

New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative, which targets a 40% reduction in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, aims to encourage the uptake of distributed energy resources with a focus on renewables. However, Farmer and Morris said the initiative ‘could inadvertently incentivize the rapid deployment’ of diesel-fired generators, which they said would increase pollution in the state.  

‘While the vast majority of these generators are intended for use only during blackouts, market mechanisms implemented through REV could provide them with an incentive to run more regularly,’ the two authors said.

The state is currently accepting consultation on the proposed rules.