Electric cooperatives will be able to use small emergency generators, with restrictions and paperwork requirements, to ensure a stable flow of electricity at the local and regional level, under new federal regulations.
In a rule announced Jan. 15, the Environmental Protection Agency said units could run 100 hours a year for emergency demand response, maintenance and testing without being subjected to new federal emissions limits.
Up to 50 of those hours can be used in non-emergency circumstances to prevent situations that could lead to a local or regional power disruption, according to the agency. EPA said it crafted that language, in part, in response to input from electric cooperatives.
In the last three years, co-op representatives have filed hundreds of comments and met with EPA. They have pointed out how they use RICE units for demand-response, and how limited, targeted use of peak shaving helps to increase capacity and keep electric rates affordable.
As of 2015, all emergency generators will be required to use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel if they run more than 15 hours annually.
Also, co-ops and entities that operate emergency generators of more than 100 horse power for up to 100 hours a year for blackout and brownout prevention, will need to collect and submit an annual report including location, dates and times of operation.
Source: Electric Co-op Today, Steven Johnson