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Installation of City’s First Microturbines Under New Code Completed in Battery Park City

Last week, RSP Systems installed the first microturbines in New York City pursuant to a new rule for their installation and use that Mayor Bloomberg signed into law last December. RSP installed a set of Capstone C60 Microturbines at LEED Gold-certified Millenium Tower Residences in Battery Park City. According to RSP President Cory Glick, microturbines are being specified with increasing frequency in local projects for new and existing buildings, and the company has created a New York-area dealership network of electrical and mechanical contractors who can design, install, and commission Capstone microturbines.

The microturbine law was drafted by a Cogeneration Task Force led by Buildings Commissioner Patricia Lancaster and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. Microturbines capture the heat waste generated by their turbines in producing electricity and transform it into usable energy, making them between 70 and 80 percent efficient (compared with 30 to 35 percent efficiency for most types of power plants). Pursuant to the rule, approved microturbines can be installed in certain locations on both commercial and residential projects, including within weatherproofed enclosures, on roofs, or within rooms that have two-hour fire doors. As Steven Spinola, President of the Real Estate Board of New York note, microturbines offer the dual benefit of clean energy and the addition of “needed electric generation capacity without further taxing [New York City’s] transmission and distribution systems.”

In order to install a microturbine system under the rule, owners must (1) receive permission from the utility company, (2) file an application with the Department of Buildings, and (3) obtain a permit from the Fire Department in order to operate the system once DOB issues the first permit and the system is actually installed. The rule is codified under Title 1 of the Rules of the City of New York under Chapter 50, Distributed Energy Resource Standards.

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