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After hiring Synapse to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of net metering and interconnection in Mississippi, the Public Service Commission released proposed rules on April 7 that would implement net metering and interconnection standards.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio denied on Thursday the price stabilization rider attached to Duke Energy Ohio’s proposed electric security plan, holding with Synapse and with numerous other intervenors concerned that the rider could be detrimental to ratepayers. Synapse associate Sarah Jackson testified in October 2014 that the rider—which would pass on the net costs or benefits associated with the sale of generation from Duke’s Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC) assets into the PJM market to its customers—could cost consumers millions through 2024.

Synapse released a report on Wednesday based on the latest version of its Coal Asset Valuation Tool (CAVT), which shows that the United States could save roughly $262 billion over the next three decades by shutting down a significant portion of its coal plants and replacing them with less expensive alternatives. The report demonstrates how a variety of factors, including aging infrastructure, more stringent environmental regulations, and lower natural gas prices, are converging to make the majority of coal plants uneconomic.

In 2014, Synapse worked with Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) on two projects to integrate Synapse’s in-house version of ReEDS, a detailed electricity sector optimization model developed by NREL, with REMI’s macroeconomic analysis tool, PI+. This integration gives a high-resolution view of the effect of changing energy prices and investment decisions on job creation, GDP, and income, as well as differential impacts by income group, industry, or region. Synapse and REMI analyzed both a nationwide and a Massachusetts-specific carbon tax.

The EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan allows states the flexibility to collaborate with each other to develop plans on a multi-state basis to meet compliance targets. State agencies and advocates examining such opportunities for cooperation can use Synapse’s Clean Power Planning Tool (CP3T), now with multi-state functionality, to analyze the challenges and opportunities associated with regional compliance.

In 2014, the U.S. electric system looked remarkably different from how it looked ten—or even five—years ago. In the past year alone, the system nearly doubled the amount of incremental installed capacity from renewables as compared to 2013, saw a 13 percent increase in renewable generation, and reached the lowest level of CO2 emissions since 1996.

Long used to encourage utilities to meet reliability, safety, and energy efficiency targets, performance incentive mechanisms are increasingly being used by regulators to address new challenges and opportunities facing the electric industry, ranging from smart grid adoption to clean energy goals.

Synapse recently prepared a regulatory guidance document on several key principles of energy efficiency cost-effectiveness screening for the NEEP Regional Evaluation, Measurement and Verification Forum. The EM&V Forum subsequently adopted the Cost-Effectiveness Screening Principles and Guidelines as a Forum product.

Synapse projects in its 2015 Carbon Dioxide Price Forecast that the cost of emitting one short ton of carbon dioxide in 2020 will be $15-$25, rising to $25-$54 in 2030 and $45-$120 in 2050. Synapse forecasts Low, Mid, and High CO2 price trajectories annually for planning purposes, to provide electric utilities and other stakeholders with a reasonable range of emissions costs that can be used to evaluate long-term resource investment decisions.

Synapse CEO and founder Bruce Biewald presented on energy efficiency as a resource for compliance with EPA’s Clean Power Plan at the 2015 NASEO Energy Policy Outlook Conference in Washington, DC on February 5. His presentation, part of a panel on privately delivered energy efficiency, included a discussion of how analysis using Synapse’s Clean Power Plan Planning Tool can help to understand and estimate the benefits of energy efficiency as an element of state CPP compliance plans.

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