Category Archives: Climate Change

Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rise for 1st Time in 3 Years

The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rose by 1.4% in 2017, the first rise in three years. GHG emissions have reached a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes (Gt), a resumption of growth after three years of global emissions remaining flat. See https://www.iea.org/geco/. The increase in CO2e emissions, however, was not universal. While most major nations saw rises, some others experienced declines, including the U.S., United Kingdom, Mexico and Japan. The biggest decline came in the U.S., mainly because of growing installation of renewable sources of energy.

Improvements in global energy efficiency slowed down in 2017. The rate of decline in global energy intensity, the energy consumed per unit of economic output, slowed to only 1.6% in 2017, lower than the 2.0% decline in energy intensity seen in 2016.

The greatest growth in global energy demand was in Asia. China and India together represented over 40% of the increase. Energy demand in all advanced economies contributed over 20% of global energy demand growth, although their share in total energy use continued to fall.

Notable growth was also registered in Southeast Asia (which accounted for 8% of global energy demand growth) and Africa (6%), although per capita energy use in these regions still remains well below the global average.
In November 2017, the US EIA projected that growth in global CO2e emissions from energy-related sources will slow to 0.6% per year through 2040 despite increased energy consumption.

CCES has the experts to help your firms understand the technical aspects of all climate change rules and to help you organize a successful Climate Change or Energy program for diverse company types. We have helped others benefit! Contact us today at karell@CCESworld.com or at 914-584-6720.

Debate Over How US Consumers and Businesses Will Be Affected by Changes To CAFE Standards

On April 2, 2018, the USEPA took initial steps to roll back Obama-era rules that mandated that automobile manufacturers meet ambitious mileage and emission standards (Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE) from cars sold in the US by 2025. The most recent CAFÉ standards that the Trump Administration wishes to reverse were set in 2012 and mandated an average fuel economy of cars and trucks of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025. At that time, the USEPA estimated that meeting such a limit would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion tons per year and reduce total oil usage by 12 billion barrels over the cars’ lifetime. The announcement did not say to what level the USEPA would change the required fuel economy requirement – back to the pre-2012 level or something in between.

US automakers argued that the current standards for 2025 were too difficult and costly for car manufacturers to meet and would likely cause car prices to rise significantly and/or force manufacturers to produce a fleet of cars for sale not reflective of what US consumers want. Each of these could hurt the U.S. economy. In addition, some business interests point to research studies that indicate that reducing gasoline consumption in the transportation sector is not as effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to reducing energy use in the residential building sector. (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0739456X17729438)

Historically, California has requested and received the right to enforce stricter standards than the nationwide one given its smog issues. However, the USEPA indicated they may fight California and any other state that may wish to maintain the 54.5 mpg standard. California subsequently did. Several car manufacturers stated that it would be difficult to build and sell fleets of cars having to meet different mileage requirements for California (and other states that may follow it) and for the rest of the US. Leaders from states representing one-third of the US car market stated support for the current standards; it is unknown how many will follow through.

On the other hand, several business groups issued statements against the proposed roll back of fuel economy standards, stating that such actions would undermine the global competitiveness of the US auto industry at a time when the larger world market is prioritizing cleaner vehicles and those that use less gasoline, and save consumers and businesses (which are major customers for automobiles and trucks) significant costs. Other statements pointed out that the aggressive fuel economy standard would also reduce the US’s dependence on oil, reduce climate risk, create jobs, and by saving costs at the gas pump, give US consumers more discretionary spending opportunities, growing the overall economy. Strong fuel economy standards also offer automakers flexibility to keep market share by selling fuel efficient vehicles during periods when gasoline prices spike.

Given the recent tumult and controversy at the USEPA and its Administrator, Scott Pruitt, it is unknown whether the agency will modify the CAFÉ Standards, how drastically, and when and how. But this will likely result in lawsuits and other actions.

CCES has the experts to help your firm keep up on the technical aspects of federal and state environmental rules so you can make informed decisions. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@ccesworld.com.

Tips To Gain Support for Your “Green” Program

One of the most difficult items for an environmental/sustainability manager to deal with is showing progress in a program that you know is beneficial, but others at the firm do not understand or are fearful of. How do you educate your colleagues and get them on your side, so you have support as you implement changes to be more “green”? Here are some proven ideas on how some companies promote “green” programs.

1. The standard is set at the top. There is no question that culture and change and importance of philosophy starts at the top, with – quite literally – the CEO. Whether it is just saving energy costs or a comprehensive sustainability program, the CEO stating support for the program goes a long way. I was involved in a project to establish a sustainability program for an entity and the head person was all for it. He understood the benefits and wanted to maximize these and get ahead of his competitors. He sent a mandate to cooperate and move toward a more sustainable future. An environmental committee was established. But then the Great Recession hit and several existential issues came up for the firm. The leader lost interest in sustainability. Then, members of the environmental committee stopped returning my emails and voicemails; the project ground to a halt. I convened a meeting of this committee and most members revealed to me they did not believe in climate change or sustainability, Al Gore was a ___ (well, I won’t use the language here!), sustainability was a foreign plot to take over the US, etc. When the head was interested in sustainability, these employees had to cooperate. But once the leader lost interest, they let their true feelings show and it derailed the project.

Since the “top” is so important to jumpstart a “green” program, it is important that you, as a manager, reach the CEO or other head and educate him/her on what the program is all about (I dealt with a senior VP of a company who thought a “green” program was just planting trees. Really!). Emphasize the benefits, but do not overpromise or give the impression these items will appear overnight. This education is not one-time, and it must be continual. You must keep track of how the program is doing and inform the leader. Also, manage expectations. Make sure leaders understand that achievements occur slowly, but they themselves will lead to more benefits down the road.

2. Establish a winning culture/brand. Perhaps more important than a strategy or procedures is establishing a “green” culture, such as no tolerance for environmental or OSHA violations or looking to avoid wasting of energy, water, etc. First, know the entity, its history, its own culture and people, and then you can establish a “green” culture that is likely to be accepted by most people. Software programs exist to help assess the current culture of a company. People like consistency, and stating and maintaining goals like these make others realize the value of a “green” program to a company (besides saving costs) and that the program is here to stay. This culture should be spread to other groups to give the environmental group a positive identity. Take the time to explain to all who will listen the culture and how they benefit.

3. Go beyond the workplace. While the top rung of management is most important to support a “green” program, it is important to communicate the program to all levels of stakeholders. Support is needed from all layers. One way to achieve this is not just to implement changes to reduce energy use, water use, etc. at the facilities, but also to recommend strategies for employees to engender energy, water, etc. savings themselves at home. Let them be “heroes” to their families for saving money or the planet, and they will return the support tremendously.

4. Communicate rationally, yet emotionally, too. We engineers tend to communicate using only facts, numbers, savings, comparisons, etc. It’s what we’re used to. But to promote a “green” program, this will not work for many; their eyes will glaze over! Therefore, in addition to communicating the facts, it is also important to engage one’s calls to action in their hearts as well as their minds. The “green” program not only benefits the bottomline, but also the livability of the immediate area and the Earth as a whole. Make others feel like they are part of something consequential, and you will engender more support. Of course, with a “green” program, there is much to choose to show positive consequential outcomes.

5. Assess and adapt. One strategy does not always work well or approaches need to change as a “green” program progresses and matures. Periodically assess where your “green” program is – not only how it’s doing, but also its acceptance in your company. You may need to make some changes to the communication or to who you communicate with to engender further support. Assess and adapt to new realities to gain followers and momentum.

6. Don’t give up. The first Earth Day may have been in 1970, but for many, the environment is this fuzzy concept that does not affect them. Education about the environment has lagged, and many still do not understand its importance to everyday life. And sustainability is an even newer concept. Certainly anybody who is a leader likely did not learn about sustainability in Business or Engineering School “back then”. People innately feel that if they did not learn it in school is must not be important.

Therefore, it is not only the rational and emotional message, but the fact that it is sustained that will make people learn and understand the importance of these concepts. Constant education and communication about different aspects of environment, energy, and sustainability are needed, not only during the early stages of establishing a program, but later on, as well, even after the major elements of the plan are in place. Communication by multiple means has been shown to be effective.

CCES has the experts to help your company establish a “green” or sustainability or energy conservation program – not just the technical expertise, but we can help you organize it and begin the communication process to engender support in your firm. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Plan for Installing Occupancy Sensors

A few years ago I performed an energy audit for an office building and developed a good half-dozen sound energy strategies to save them money. While discussing occupancy sensors with the building’s owner, he understood its value. I offered to help, but he turned me down. He was going to go to the nearest Home Depot to pick up some on sale and install them himself. Well, big mistake. I suppose this owner so understood the simplicity of how an occupancy sensor works that he felt that no thinking was necessary. On the contrary, proper planning will make the difference between a reliable, cost-saving venture vs. an unsuccessful one. A few things to consider:

1. Invest time, determine where sensors can save the most by observation. Determine which areas have long periods of dormancy and can use occupancy sensors to save energy and which areas are regularly used. Yes, one can guess the need for occupancy sensors by evaluating a room’s use (for example, an IT room, where, theoretically, people enter rarely). One can review conference room reservation logs, but in many cases, rooms are fully booked, but hardly actually used. Thus, spend a few days to observe which rooms are actually unoccupied for long periods. Perhaps there is significant flow in and out of the IT room after all; perhaps a conference room really is or is not used as much as the logs show.

2. Accurate, up-to-date floor plans. Once areas are identified, plans are needed to determine which lights and electrical panels serve each space to place the sensors appropriately. With this information you can determine in which rooms to place occupancy sensors (connected to which panels) to get the best effect.

3. Placement of sensors. This is crucial to their effectiveness and occupant satisfaction. Sensors should be capable of “seeing” anyone who comes in the door. In some cases, multiple sensors may be needed for odd-shaped rooms or for spaces shielded by high cubicle walls or cabinets. Do you place the sensor high up on a wall “to see” more of an area, but make it inconvenient to repair? Or closer to where people work?

4. Pick your occupancy sensor brand carefully. Don’t buy them just because they are cheaper or are on sale. There are differences in quality and sensitivity. Installing the “wrong” sensors can affect morale and efficiency. If your budget allows, consider dual technology sensors, those that sense both motion and thermal, particularly for large or odd-shaped spaces. You don’t want lights going out just because people in a room have not moved in some time. This just happened to me. The host was quite embarrassed.

5. Provide early notification to staff. Establish an installation schedule and give advance notice to staff approximately when occupancy sensor installation will occur in their areas. Send staff either a brochure or some summary of the specs. of the sensors, so they have an idea of what it can and will do.

Final question: does one still procure occupancy sensors if one has switched to LEDs? Installing LEDs and saving energy costs should not preclude one from installing occupancy sensors. Even reduced wattage lamps, such as LEDs, represent wasted electricity and cost if on for many hours when a space is unused. The math may be different (lower savings because the cost of wasted electricity is lower), but in most cases there should be a reasonable, if somewhat longer payback for using occupancy sensors.

CCES has the experts to help you perform a full assessment of your lighting and total energy usage and needs, and provide detailed smart strategies to reduce usage, demand, and cost that have worked for others. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Condenser Coil Cleaning: Low-Cost Option To Save Energy

By Richard Fennelly, CoilPod, LLC

The vast majority of building owners who have invested 5 or 6 figures for good, reliable roof-top heating and/or cooling units do not invest so wisely in the area of maintenance. Many operators have informal or no maintenance procedures to ensure that the equipment you paid so much for will operate properly, at a high efficiency, and for a long time before needing replacement. One common, but critical, example are self-contained condenser coils that are not cleaned on a regular basis under a preventative maintenance protocol. They are allowed to run dirty, causing more electric usage than necessary to operate. This is not just wasteful, but in an age of rising energy costs, needlessly expensive. Investing in cleaning the coils will result in significant energy cost savings.

One refrigeration expert recently stated: “Eighty percent of operators do nothing, no maintenance, ever. Maybe 20% do some, but not enough”. Source: Refrigeration Magazine December, 2015.

Coils need cleaning at least quarterly for the following benefits:
(a) reduced electrical usage;
(b) reduced service calls; and
(c) prolonged equipment life.
Dirty coils are the main reason for service calls. With routine quarterly maintenance, operators have virtually no breakdowns. Sources: Food Service Technology Center (FSTC), San Ramon, CA and Refrigeration Magazine December, 2015.

And, of course, this leads to cost savings. Exemplary yearly savings per unit if the coils are clean: Electric energy savings of from $220 to $625, depending on the type and size of unit (or from about 46% to 50% electric savings). Source: Cool Savings Project – FSTC and the City of San Francisco.

What is the best way to clean coils? Compressed air can quickly and effectively remove deeply deposited dirt/debris deep inside the coil’s structure. Source: CoilPod LLC (manufacturer of the COILPOD dust hood – described at www.coilpod.com). The data presented below was developed by the Food Service Technology Center (San Ramon, CA)/City of San Francisco Environment Department and announced at the RFMA (Restaurant Facility Managers Association) and CFESA (Commercial Food Equipment Service Association) 2015 annual conventions. The electric rate used was at $0.11/KwH:

Double Door Merchandiser (6 yrs old): Dirty: $1,325/year/unit
Clean: $700/year/unit
Wasted Electric: 89.3% = $625/year/unit

Larger Double Door Fridge:                     Dirty: 24 kwh/day/unit = $950 /year/unit
Clean: 13 kwh/day/unit = $517/year/unit
Wasted Electric: 83.8% = $433/year/unit

Single Door Freezer:                                   Dirty: $546/year/unit
Clean: $289 /year/unit
Wasted Electric: 88.9% = $257/year/unit

Double Glass Door Fridge:                          Dirty: $439/year/unit
Clean: $219/year/unit
Wasted Electric: 100.5% = $220/year/unit

Similar energy usage reductions and cost savings were observed from other restaurant equipment whose coils were cleaned regularly, as presented at the 2015 RFMA meeting.

In August 2017, a summary report was released stating that a total of 10 units were examined with coil cleaning giving savings ranging widely from 2% to 49%, with the average being 17%, representing savings of $138/year-unit at $0.11/KwH. The electric rates in the NYC Metropolitan area and other large cities are significantly higher than this, meaning potential cost savings would be higher.

CoilPod, LLC is a major vendor in the coil cleaning industry. Their compressed air system helps to maintain coils and have them work optimally, using less electricity, reducing costs.

CoilPod Contact: Richard Fennelly, richard@coilpod.com, 914-819-8937, for more information.

Trump Administration Repeals Obama-era Fracking Rules

The Trump Administration’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published in the Federal Registry on December 29, 2017 a revision to reverse a 2015 rule that contained strict standards for how one performs hydraulic fracking on public lands.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/29/2017-28211/oil-and-gas-hydraulic-fracturing-on-federal-and-indian-lands-rescission-of-a-2015-rule

For the Administration, this is part of their ongoing effort to rollback regulations and to encourage domestic energy production that will reduce energy costs for businesses.
This final rule is a rescission of most of the Obama-era rule whose effective date was June 24, 2015, which contained standards for fracking operations on public lands, including identifying the chemicals and the nature of the mixture of water, sand and chemicals injected to loosen shale oil and gas from rocks where it has adhered. It also contains standards to reduce the chance of contact between the mixture and underground supplies of drinking water.
This brings the debate about fracking back to the fore.

While oil and gas companies and their supporters want greater freedom to perform fracking operations, environmentalists were split. Some wanted an absolute ban on fracking, as they desire a carbon-free future and have an energy future dominated by renewable energy. Others understood that promoting natural gas, which emits greenhouse gases at about half the rate of coal, and enabling it to be plentiful and cheap in order to displace coal, leading to progress in meeting climate change goals and eventually be replaced by renewables as its costs decline in the future. Obama Administration leaders took this latter tack, encouraging fracking to reduce energy prices, yet protecting the environment and public health, too.

In opposition to this, oil and gas developers argued their fracking processes were continually improving over time and there was little evidence of harming drinking water supplies. These groups sued to stop the 2015 fracking regulation without success. With the new administration more sympathetic to oil and gas company concerns, it was a matter of time until the Obama rule would be repealed or altered. Oil and gas companies understood that many states had its own regulations protecting drinking water supply and the local environment, and were willing to comply with each state’s rules as they work in those states.

CCES has the experts to keep you up-to-date with technical interpretations of federal and state and city rules on energy and make sure you get the best information. Marc Karell, P.E., Principal of CCES will speak about recent new New York City energy rules at the New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting on Thurs., Jan. 25 at 9:20 am. See http://www.nysba.org/am2018/ for more details.

Upcoming Trends In The LED Market

The use of more energy efficient LED lights to replace incandescents and fluorescent lights has reduced total carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 570 million tons in 2017, according to a report issued by IHS Markit, or by 1.5%.

LEDs achieve this because they are more efficient than current light sources, using, on average, 40% less electricity for the same amount of light compared to fluorescents and about 80% less electricity than incandescents. An incandescent filament source needs about 7 watts to produce about 100 lumens of light. A fluorescent source needs about 2 watts to produce the same light. Metal halides and high-pressure sodium bulbs about 1 watt. LEDs, however, can produce this same amount of light using just 0.5 watt. Given this differential at many thousands of facilities, encompassing hundreds of thousands of light sources, that is many megawatts of power not needed and, therefore, all the more oil or gas or coal that needs to be combusted to make that power. Thus the major reduction in CO2 emissions.

Although LED lights are more expensive than current light sources, these electrical reductions make converting to LED lights quite economical, “low hanging fruit”.
Initially, there was objection to LED lighting based on their inability to be dimmed or the quality of light not being complementary to certain uses. But in time, these issues have been resolved, and LED lights today are dimmable and can have its intensity altered.

Upcoming Trends

Case studies have shown that spaces lit by the right LEDs have a whiter or higher quality of light, resulting in better worker productivity and better school performance. More vendors are specializing in such LEDs that will more likely result in better performance as their way of separating themselves from the pack.

Another item that has been driving the LED market is government or utility incentives. Such organizations have paid some of the upfront cost to building owners willing to change out large quantities of lights because this represents a relief to a stressed utility infrastructure. However, as LED light prices have been coming down, these organizations realize that the pure economic benefit of a building upgrading their lighting with LEDs is great enough; incentives will not add that much to the fine payback LEDs result in. The trend in utilities is to use incentive funds for other, more expensive energy-saving technologies and less for LEDs.

Finally, LEDs were initially more popular in states like NY, NJ, CT, MA, and CA, partially because energy-saving and greenhouse gas-reducing is part of their cultures, but also because the economics were better there because electric rates are higher in those states than in others. However, with more competition and the further drop in LED prices, even in other US states where electric usage rates are lower, converting to LEDs makes a lot of sense financially. Expect to see sales rise in the Midwest and the South.

CCES has the experts to help you assess whether now is the time to convert to LEDs for your commercial space. We can evaluate potential savings, payback, and IRR for you to determine if this is the right time. If you go ahead with a conversion, CCES can manage the project for you, saving you time to concentrate on other things, while ensuring that anticipated cost savings and other benefits are achieved. You reduce cost without the hassle. Contact us today at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.

Climate Change News End of Year – 2017

Trump Administration Reiterates Objection to Paris Climate Agreement

The big US climate change news of the year is President Trump’s announcement that the US will pull out of the Paris Climate Accord because developing nations would get to play by a different set of rules from those of the US. The Paris Accord is voluntary, however, as each country would determine how much greenhouse gas emissions it can reduce. At the time the Accord was signed, the Obama Administration said it would decrease US GHG emissions by 28% by 2025. The U.S. is already about halfway to meeting the goal due to large turnover of coal-fired power plants to natural gas and other changes, triggered by market forces. Meanwhile, China said that its GHG emissions would rise before tapering off around 2030 because of power plants already operating. As a developing country, China would be permitted to prioritize growth, even though it is the world’s largest GHG emitter. In addition, the richer nations will contribute to a $100 billion fund, seen as an investment, to help developing nations reduce GHGs. These areas are what the current administration object to, although the US would be the only nation in the world not to be part of the Accord if it pulls out.

While President Trump, despite discussions with world leaders, reiterated his desire for the US to pull out of the Paris accord late in the year. However, a series of horrific disasters (several major hurricanes and rain events and wildfires in California) in the second half of this year have widely been analyzed as having been worsened by climate change. As a result, public opinion polls indicate a solid majority of Americans (even conservatives) believe that climate change is real and harmful, and a majority believe the government should do something about it. Whether that will cause President Trump to reverse course and stay in the Paris Accord is unknown.

In the meantime, a number of US states and cities have stated that they will pursue policies that would reduce GHG emissions in alignment with those required of the Paris Accord. California is perhaps the most resistant to the federal rejection of the global agreement, and is looking to forge an agreement with other nations and provinces to establish a market-based system to encourage major GHG emitters to decrease emissions by global standards. Massachusetts has confirmed its goals initially formed through their Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050. Both New York State and New York City have active plans to achieve the same goals.

EIA Projects 0.6% Annual Growth in GHG Emissions

The US Energy Information Administration projects that growth in global GHG emissions from energy-related sources will drop to 0.6%/year through 2040 despite increased energy consumption. See https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/ieo/. GHG emissions rose by about 1.8% per year from 1990 to 2015.

The EIA says that this decrease is/will be caused by the continued switch to renewable sources of energy, estimated to rise in use by an average 2.3% per year between 2015 and 2040. Nuclear power consumption is estimated to increase by 1.5% per year over that period. The small rise in GHG emissions is still projected despite these advances because of increases in energy-using processes due to projected business growth.

The EIA projects the average growth in commercial energy use of 1.2% per year from 2015 to 2040, with the highest rates of growth in developing nations.

US Supreme Court To Rule on Solar Power Growth and Regulation

On December 1, the US Supreme Court announced it would hear a case about whether a utility can charge ratepayers a fee for having solar panels. SolarCity initially sued Salt River Project, an Arizona utility, over its 2015 decision to charge a fee for solar power systems operated by individuals. SolarCity argued that these fees were implemented in order to make rooftop solar systems too expensive to be competitive, in violation of federal antitrust laws. Salt River Project argued that they had the right to levy this fee as part of its statutory pricing process, exempting it from federal antitrust laws.

A district court and circuit court made different rulings. The US Supreme Court expressed interest in deciding whether utilities are exempt from antitrust laws in its decision and rate and fee-setting process. The Court’s decision, expected in June 2018, will be closely watched by the solar power industry for its future ramifications.

CCES has the technical experts to help your entity (company or municipality) remain knowledgeable about changes in climate change rules and policies throughout the US, and about changes in technologies to help you assess the right policy and GHG emission reduction goal that is right for you. And to enable you to maximize financial benefits from addressing climate change. Contact us today at karell@CCESworld.com or at 914-584-6720.

Interest In New Gensets Is Growing

The number of facilities choosing to generate their own electricity using generators or “gensets” is growing. Companies are recognizing that the physical and business impacts of even one severe storm can undo all the planning a business does and even wipe out or severely hurt the business. In addition, with the acceptance of climate change as real the chances of a severe storm impacting a facility will rise in the future. A facility having its own secure source of electricity independent of the grid and its wires and vulnerable infrastructure can better ensure that basic functions can be maintained in a storm, saving personnel and processes and having electricity to maintain operations during such events. As a result, the genset market has been growing.

Part of this growth is due to another phenomenon, some utilities provide financial incentives for facilities to procure and operate gensets to relieve them as they are unsure of reliable power and don’t want to hurt key users in their area. In addition, several such programs require the genset operator to go off the utility’s grid and operate the genset for distinct periods during peak demand periods (hot weather) to relieve pressure on the grid. These programs, often called “Demand Response” or DR, can be lucrative for facilities. The utility pays most of the capital cost of the genset, the facility fully owns it, and they get paid a fee each time a DR event occurs and a genset is used.

One complication of such programs, however, is environmental. The federal Clean Air Act, followed by nearly all states, specifically exempts from permitting and meeting emission standards gensets that are used only in emergencies (this includes the necessary regular exercising of a unit). However, once a facility uses a genset in a DR program, this exemption goes away. Therefore, facilities entertaining joining a DR program must set aside budget and effort to obtain the proper air permit (or modify its existing one) and comply with any applicable emission standard. Nitrogen oxide (NOx) is the most common pollutant that is regulated. If the NOx emissions of your genset exceeds the regulatory standard, it may be necessary to retrofit the unit with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) or equivalent technology. The cost of such a retrofit can approach 6 figures. The USEPA designates models as meeting certain “tiered” standards. Tier 4 gensets are the most advanced and will likely currently meet all applicable emission regulations. Tier 3 gensets probably meet most of them. Tier 2 units probably do not meet many of them, again, if applicable. So if you are procuring a new genset, look to invest in a Tier 4 which should meet all applicable NOx emission standards. Particulate matter (PM) is sometimes regulated, too. A sure way to meet any PM standard is to combust natural gas, not to mention it is currently cheaper than oil. Natural gas-fired gensets are particularly selling well these days.

Finally, another variation of the genset that many facilities are considering is combined heat and power or CHP, where both steam and electricity are produced by the unit. The improvement in efficiency can save significant fuel costs. It is important for an experienced engineer to evaluate whether your demand for both steam and electricity and when the demand occurs will make CHP a good investment.

CCES can help your firm determine whether a genset or a CHP can be beneficial for you, as well as manage its procurement, installation, testing, and use to maximize the financial benefits. We can determine likely financial costs and savings. We can perform the needed environmental permitting and determine whether it meets existing applicable emission limits. Contact us today at karell@CCESworld.com or at 914-584-6720.

U.S. Climate Change News October 2017

Trump Administration Takes Steps To Repeal the Clean Power Plan. On October 10, 2017, USEPA Administrator Scott Pruitt submitted to the Federal Register proposed legislation to repeal the Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s signature legislation to significantly reduce U.S. greenhouse gases (GHG) by developing stringent GHG emission standards for power production. As coal-fired power plants cannot reasonably meet these emission standards. The USEPA believes it is unfair to have legislation to target a particular fuel type, and began the repeal process to encourage growth in coal usage from U.S. mines. This is quite controversial as coal, a high emitter of GHGs, as well as other and toxic compounds, is still a major source of energy in the U.S. electric industry. By encouraging coal production and use, the U.S. would be hard-pressed to meet the Paris Climate Accord goals, although President Trump has already announced that the U.S. will leave the Accord anyway. In addition, much has been written that this move may make little difference, as other economic factors makes coal a non-ideal choice as a fuel for a utility (see below), such as the declining cost of building and operating a renewable plant. The public has 60 days from initial publication in the Federal Register to comment after which the USEPA must respond before making the repeal official.

States, Cities And Private Businesses Put U.S. Halfway To Paris Climate Accord Goal. According to a study released on September 25 by New Climate Institute and the Climate Group, efforts to address climate change by states, cities and corporations have already put the U.S. halfway toward its Paris Accord climate goal despite the current Administration’s attempt to reverse recent federal efforts. The study estimated that such efforts will cause GHG emissions to drop by 12-14% below the 2005 baseline by 2025. The study, based on certified data from the Carbon Disclosure Project, found that U.S. private sector commitments were the biggest factor in reducing GHG emissions. The decline in emissions are being caused mainly by these commitments of switching from fossil fuel combustion to renewable power.

First State-Wide, Economy-Wide Carbon Tax Is Proposed. Earlier this year, a bill was introduced in the Massachusetts House and another in the Senate that would establish a tax on fossil fuels with the goals to reduce GHG emissions and return the proceeds to consumers and businesses. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H1726. Both bills would impose an initial tax of $10 or $20 per ton of CO2 emissions, rising to $40 per ton in the future. Several years ago, the USEPA estimated that the cost of a ton of GHG emissions was about $42 per ton, which was why they chose this endpoint. It was understood it needed to be approached gradually. Both bills require refunding of some or all of the tax proceeds to households and businesses.
It is estimated that should either bill become law the price of gasoline and heating fuel in Massachusetts would eventually rise by about 35 cents per gallon. The bills contain rebate programs to incentivize energy efficiency, rewarding businesses or households that reduce energy usage per employee (or member), not just energy usage as a whole.

Currently, Massachusetts enforces GHG reduction rules targeted to power plants. However, with electric generation comprising just 28% of GHG emissions in Massachusetts, legislators felt it was time to regulate other sectors, as well, particularly, the transportation sector, which accounts for about 30% of statewide GHG emissions.

While certain business groups are concerned about competitiveness and disproportionate impacts, the bills have many co-sponsors. Therefore, it is likely that some such bill will pass and with a sympathetic governor, a carbon tax would become law in Massachusetts, perhaps signed in 2018, going into initial effect in 2019.

CCES has the technical experts to help you assess your energy needs and help you be more energy efficient, which has many financial benefits, including preparing for future carbon taxes or monetization of GHG emission credits. Contact us today and we can help at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.