Release 01-36      
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 15, 2001    CONTACT: Jerry Martin
Gennet Paauwe
(916) 322-2990
www.arb.ca.gov
 

Air Board Adopts Certification Program for Distributed Generation Units

SACRAMENTO - Users of small electrical generation units were encouraged today to operate the cleanest engines available under a new measure adopted by the Air Resources Board (ARB), a branch the California Environmental Protection Agency.

In response to Senate Bill 1298 (Bowen), ARB will certify distributed generation (DG) units that are not currently subject to local air district rules and require manufacturers to meet clean emission standards. New units will be required to meet two stages of emission standards, the first in 2003 and the second in 2007 (see chart on page 2).

ARB Chairman Dr. Alan Lloyd, said, "This rule ensures that only the cleanest technology is used for the smallest electrical generation units in California. As directed by the Legislature, our certification program will provide added flexibility and incentives to manufacturers who make the biggest clean air effort."

Distributed generation is electricity near the source of use and is considered a supplement to grid-supplied electricity. DG is also specified as the prime on-site electrical source and does not include emergency backup generators or portable equipment.

Distributed generation is a relatively new power generation source in California. Excluding solar unit installations, ARB estimates their numbers to be around 100 units, most of which were installed as demonstration models. DG's future in today's uncertain electricity market is unknown, however DG units certified under ARB's program will be clean power sources and reduce line loss when a unit is placed near the user. The estimated life of a DG unit is approximately four years.

Examples of DG are:

Many units are integrated systems, which have the dual capacity to create electricity and use waste heat from the process to heat water for laundry, swimming pools or physical therapy spas.

ARB anticipates that manufacturers with DG engines less than 100 horsepower or microturbines less than 300 kilowatts in size will make up the bulk of certifications. Near term emission standards start in 2003 and reflect current clean DG emission limits. Longer term standards for 2007 reflect central station power plant Best Available Control Technology. These standards incorporate the range of various efficiencies and put DG manufacturers on a level playing field while protecting air quality.

To encourage zero-emission technologies, manufacturers who certify zero emissions equipment will not be charged the $2500 certification fee and may receive emission credits. Combined heat and power units further reduce air emissions and indirectly reduce global warming by more efficient use of fuel by eliminating the need to use a water heater or a boiler. In recognition of their benefits, combined heat and power units that achieve minimum efficiency of 60 percent may also obtain credits. In addition, manufacturers who meet 2007 standards prior to 2003 may have their 2003 certification fee waived.

The Legislation also required the ARB to provide a guidance document to California's 35 local air districts for power plants under 50 MW. The Board's approval today will facilitate the permitting for those plants under district authority and addresses current and future control technology requirements.

For more information about DG, see http://www.arb.ca.gov/energy/dg/dg.htm.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our web site at http://www.arb.ca.gov

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2003 Emission Standards (lb./MW-hr) *

Pollutant

DG Unit not Integrated with Combined Heat and Power

DG Unit With Combined Heat and Power

Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx)

0.5

0.7

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

6.0

6.0

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

1.0

1.0

Particulate Matter

An emission limit corresponding to natural gas with fuel sulfur content no more than 1 grain/100scf*

An emission limit corresponding to natural gas with fuel sulfur content no more than 1 grain/100scf*

*Standard cubic feet

2007 Emission Standards (lb./MW-hr) *

Pollutant

Emission Standard

Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx)

0.07

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

0.10

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

0.02

Particulate Matter

An emission limit corresponding to natural gas with fuel sulfur content no more than 1 grain/100scf*

* Pound per megawatt hour