July 17, 2024

Manufacturing firms are no longer required to conduct source emission testing when applying for a permit to operate (PTO) for their standby generator sets, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources

The DENR-Environmental Management Bureau issued Memorandum Circular 3-2022 last month stating that standby generator sets, regardless of capacity, will not be required to undergo source emission testing for permitting and compliance monitoring purposes.

Instead of source emission testing, the applicant shall include in the Online Permitting and Monitoring System the approved estimation methods, such as calculations using internationally recognized emission factors, the schedule and duration of preventive maintenance, and monthly records of power interruption.

The MC applies to all standby generator sets operating under two particular circumstances.

One is that the unit should not be operating more than 200 hours annually, provided it operates not more than three hours per day or more than three days per week, for light commercial and industrial operation. Covered are generators for use in manufacturing firms, hotels, malls, banks, buildings, schools, telecommunication towers, and fuel dispensing facilities, among others.

The other circumstance is that the generator sets are used during emergency hospital operations; rescue and medical missions related to natural calamities; conflict areas such as those experiencing war, terrorist attacks and the like; or all activities affecting national security.

MC 3-2022 amends Section 5 of MC 2016-008 requiring source emission testing for the issuance of PTO to standby generator sets.

A standby generator set is a backup electrical system that operates during an outage to transfer the electrical load and supply power to circuits.

On the other hand, generator sets that must still conduct source emission testing before PTO can be issued are all those used in peaking power plants, which are facilities using generator sets that run only during high demand for electricity, and all those using bunker fuel oil, regardless of operating hours.

Applicants that are no longer required to conduct source emission testing need to submit to their respective EMB regional offices their updated Environmental Monitoring Plan within 30 days of the effectivity of MC 3-2022, which was issued May 11 and published May 15 in a national broadsheet.

 The MC warned any permit may be suspended or revoked due to inaccurate information submitted in the permit application, such as operating beyond standby operating hours, and that administrative fines may also be imposed. – Press release