Solar Today July/August 2013 : Page 14

advances B y ROBERT UKEILEY | clean air law Cl o sing the Clean Air Act L oop h o les W Robert Ukeiley ( r ukeile y @igc .or g) is a l a w y e r wh o r e pr esents envi ro nment a l n o n pro fits in Cle a n Ai r Act litig a ti o n a ffecting ene r g y issues . hen the U .S. Envi ro nment a l Pro tecti o n Agenc y (E P A) or igin a ll y appro ve d the st a tes’ p l a ns t o im p lement the f e d e ra l Cle a n Ai r Act, the a genc y in ad ve r tentl y appro ve d a l oop h o le t o emissi o n limits . Sp ecific a ll y , in m a n y of the st a te p l a ns, po llute r s d i d n o t h a ve t o c o m p l y with thei r emissi o n limits d u r ing st ar tu p s, shut do wns, m a l -f uncti o ns a n d m a inten a nce ( SSM ) events . E P A w a s o ve r whelme d a n d inex p e r ience d when or igin a ll y appro ving a ll these p l a ns in the e ar l y 1 970 s a n d sim -p l y misse d the oppor tunit y t o r eject these SSM l oop-h o les . H o weve r , since a t le a st 1 977 , E P A h a s been c o n -sistentl y o n r ec ord a s s ay ing the SSM l oop h o les in the st a te p l a ns ar e illeg a l . The r e a s o n sh o ul d be o bvi o us . P e op le b r e a the a ll the time, a n d the r e for e nee d cle a n a i r a ll the time . I f emissi o n limits app l y o nl y par t of the time, the y ar e inc o m pa tible with hum a n a n d a nim a l li f e . The ve ry fo un da ti o n of the Cle a n Ai r Act is t o pro vi d e p e op le with a i r th a t w o n’t m a ke them ill or d ie . O dd l y en o ugh, the Cle a n Ai r Act s ay s th a t s o u r ces of po lluti o n o nl y h a ve t o fo ll o w the r ules set o ut in st a tes’ p l a ns, even i f the st a tes’ p l a ns vi o l a te the Cle a n Ai r Act . Luckil y , h o weve r , the Cle a n Ai r Act h a s a mech a nism t o fix p l a ns th a t vi o l a te the Cle a n Ai r Act . As of 20 1 2 , a b o ut a thi rd of the st a tes d i d n o t h a ve SSM l oop h o les in thei r st a te p l a ns, but a b o ut tw o-thi rd s d i d. In r es po nse t o a r equest fro m the S ie rra Club — b a cke d b y 37 , 000 p ublic c o mments — E P A r ecentl y inv o ke d the mech a nism t o fix the SSM l oop h o le . Fixing the l oop h o les is a tw o-ste p pro cess . Fi r st, E P A tells e a ch st a te t o fix its SSM l oop h o les . Then, the st a te a ctu a ll y do es it, th ro ugh a pro cess th a t inv o lves a n oppor tunit y for the p ublic, inclu d ing su ppor te r s of r enew a ble ene r g y a n d ene r g y efficienc y (RE / EE), t o c o mment o n the propo se d fix . RE / EE ad v o c a tes sh o ul d t a ke this oppor tunit y , which will o ccu r in the v ar i o us st a tes o ve r the next tw o y e ar s . The SSM issue pro vi d es a n oppor tunit y t o let the benefits of RE / EE shine . It is a n oppor tunit y t o d em o n -st ra te th a t, for ex a m p le, the po lluti o n -fr ee n a tu r e of s o l ar a n d win d po we r is 24/7 , 36 5 day s a y e ar. In c o n -t ra st t o this c o nsistent a n d pr e d ict a ble st a te of ze ro a i r emissi o ns, fo ssil f uels c a use inc o nsistent a n d of ten un pr e d ict a ble a i r po lluti o n th a t en da nge r s p e op le’s he a lth a n d thei r ve ry lives . ST Revolutionary Attachment Solution for Solar on Metal! S-5-PV Kit Average cost only 8¢ a watt! Contact us for a FREE sample X ‡ Non-penetrating clamp preserves the roof manufacturer’s warranty ‡ Ensures module-to-module conductivity ‡ Listed to UL bonding and mounting subject 2703 ‡ ETL Listed to UL 1703 M ic ro Cell S t or es Po we r for D ar ksi d e O p s H o ng r ui Ji a ng a n d his stu d ents a t the Unive r sit y of Wisc o nsin /Mad is o n h a ve d evel op e d a P V cell th a t st or es par t of the ene r g y it prod uces t o kee p the juice fl o wing af te r dar k . The t op l ay e r is a c o nventi o n a l silic o n cell, but the cell d ive r ts s o me of the elect ro n fl o w t o a n array of zinc o xi d e n a n o wi r es c oa te d with po l y vin y li d ene flu or i d e po l y me r ( P VDF) . P VDF h a s the high d ielect r ic c o nst a nt r equi r e d t o st or e elect ro ns . When the sk y g o es dar k or cl o u dy , st or e d v o lt a ge c o mes b a ck th ro ugh the n a n o wi r es t o po we r the l oad. The pro t o t yp e d em o nst ra tes o nl y 4 p e r cent efficienc y , but Ji a ng ex p ects t o d evel op it for mic ro-sc a le d evices . Save Money! ‡ Quick and easy to install, minimizing labor costs Buy O Onli Online ‡ DirectAttach™ method eliminates the need for rails ‡ Greatly reduces the cost of bonding Buy Online at: www.TheBryerCompany.com/Solar or call 888-GO-BRYER (462-7937). Find Out More at: www.S-5-Solar.com/st or call 888-825-3432. 14 July/August 2013 SOLAR TODAY solartoday.org Copyright © 2013 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.

Closing the Clean Air Act Loopholes

Robert Ukeiley

<br /> Robert Ukeiley (rukeiley@igc.org) is a lawyer who represents environmental nonprofits in Clean Air Act litigation affecting energy issues.<br /> <br /> When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) originally approved the states’ plans to implement the federal Clean Air Act, the agency inadvertently approved a loophole to emission limits. Specifically, in many of the state plans, polluters did not have to comply with their emission limits during startups, shutdowns, malfunctions and maintenance (SSM) events. EPA was overwhelmed and inexperienced when originally approving all these plans in the early 1970s and simply missed the opportunity to reject these SSM loopholes. However, since at least 1977, EPA has been consistently on record as saying the SSM loopholes in the state plans are illegal.<br /> <br /> The reason should be obvious. People breathe all the time, and therefore need clean air all the time. If emission limits apply only part of the time, they are incompatible with human and animal life. The very foundation of the Clean Air Act is to provide people with air that won’t make them ill or die. Oddly enough, the Clean Air Act says that sources of pollution only have to follow the rules set out in states’ plans, even if the states’ plans violate the Clean Air Act. Luckily, however, the Clean Air Act has a mechanism to fix plans that violate the Clean Air Act.<br /> <br /> As of 2012, about a third of the states did not have SSM loopholes in their state plans, but about two-thirds did. In response to a request from the Sierra Club — backed by 37,000 public comments — EPA recently invoked the mechanism to fix the SSM loophole.<br /> <br /> Fixing the loopholes is a two-step process. First, EPA tells each state to fix its SSM loopholes. Then, the state actually does it, through a process that involves an opportunity for the public, including supporters of renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE/EE), to comment on the proposed fix. RE/EE advocates should take this opportunity, which will occur in the various states over the next two years.<br /> <br /> The SSM issue provides an opportunity to let the benefits of RE/EE shine. It is an opportunity to demonstrate that, for example, the pollution-free nature of solar and wind power is 24/7, 365 days a year. In contrast to this consistent and predictable state of zero air emissions, fossil fuels cause inconsistent and often unpredictable air pollution that endangers people’s health and their very lives.

Micro Cell Stores Power for Darkside Ops

Hongrui Jiang and his students at the University of Wisconsin/Madison have developed a PV cell that stores part of the energy it produces to keep the juice flowing after dark.<br /> <br /> The top layer is a conventional silicon cell, but the cell diverts some of the electron flow to an array of zinc oxide nanowires coated with polyvinylidene fluoride polymer (PVDF). PVDF has the high dielectric constant required to store electrons. When the sky goes dark or cloudy, stored voltage comes back through the nano wires to power the load. The prototype demonstrates only 4 percent efficiency, but Jiang expects to develop it for micro-scale devices.<br />

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