EnerNOC President tells us why
he believes EPA choice is right
diesel generators will
run more under settlement
President David Brewster told us yesterday that a pending settlement his firm
and other DR providers have with the EPA on backup generation will not lead to
of diesel generation. A group of DR
firms filed an appeal of an earlier version of the rule that would have limited
the use of emergency, backup generators in DR programs to just 15 hours/year --
thus ineligible for many programs.
Eventually EPA came out with a new proposal to let such generators run in
DR programs for 100 hours/year.
Under the existing rules emergency, backup diesel generators can only run
for 100 hours and if they exceed that, they no longer have the "emergency"
designation and have to
with tighter standards.
The proposed settlement with DR providers will keep that 100 hour limit
but will let the generators respond to emergency DR calls made by ISO/RTOs and
utilities, said Brewster.
"It's a no brainer that the EPA is doing the right thing,"
added, "and why I say that is these back-up generators have always been able to
run for 100 hours/year for testing and maintenance purposes. And so the other side of this issue,
particularly the independent power producers who have vested interests in not
having as much DR in the market, would have you believe that this proposed rule
is relaxing rules and is allowing these units to be run more, which is
EPSA led the charge against the settlement, which would align EPA rules
with ISO/RTO capacity-based, emergency DR
rules. Some leading environmental groups oppose
the settlement, too (RT, May-25).
It's for emergencies
EPA proposal only deals with emergency situations. It will only apply in situations where a
grid operator is trying to avoid a blackout, said Brewster. When a blackout happens, all of the
backup generators in an area
running, sometimes for days,
with other safety, health and economic concerns that power outages lead
DR's peak season follows the broader industry's and summer is also the
season where ozone levels can get too high and set off regulations where engines
"I really commend the EPA because they spent two years really digging
into the data and understanding this issue,"
Brewster. "And there's actually no
correlation between emergency demand response
what you call 'ozone exceedance days.'" Emergency DR can be called up at any
time of the year. Often the
shoulder months, the spring and the fall, can be more challenging for grid
operators as power plants, Brewster noted, are down for maintenance and a stray
heat wave or other incident can easily lead to reliability
It's not about supply
While many argued that the settlement is putting EPA's thumb on the scale
of the energy markets in favor of DR, Brewster argued that the "supply stack"
has nothing to do with the proposal.
"The only time these emergency DR events are called is when there is not
enough supply to meet demand and we are about to have a blackout,"
EPA tightened the trigger for emergency DR that uses backup diesel
generators so that they can only be used when NERC issues an energy emergency
or when the system has a voltage cut of 5% or more.
More economic DR can use backup generation too but it would not fall
under the settlement pending at EPA now.
That means a customer wanting to take part
Order 745 and other measures using a generator extensively would have to meet
the hazardous air pollutant standards in question, Brewster said.
© 2012 GHI LLC