Friday, July 01, 2005

Diesel Rules lead to upgrade in generation

Businesses in the Silicon Valley are upgrading their generation in order to comply with new Diesel regulations:

New federal and state rules took effect Thursday that aim to reduce the huge machines' sooty black pollution and other emissions that have been linked to asthma and a host of other lung problems.

Already the rules have companies across Silicon Valley and other urban regions of California scrambling to modernize, retrofit or replace thousands of the huge generators, which can be as big as a house and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each.

``These rules are good for air quality. They are good for public health,'' said Teresa Lee, spokeswoman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in San Francisco.

The rules do not apply to portable generators that are commonly used in homes.

On Thursday, the Bush administration announced federal rules for large stationary generators and engines. New models will have to be built cleaner starting in 2007, with emission reductions of up to 90 percent by 2011 when combined with new, low-sulfur blends of diesel fuel that also are being phased in.

California already had state rules in place as strict as the new federal standards. Those took effect Jan. 1.

The state's rules go further, however, and affect old machines, too. They require owners of existing generators to retrofit them with filters by Jan. 1, 2006.

Today is the deadline for the owners of all 26,000 large stationary generators in California -- including roughly 6,000 at Bay Area companies -- to submit plans to local air districts outlining how many generators they have, how much smog they emit and how they plan to retrofit them to run much more cleanly.