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In the News

Massachusetts market players rail at ECP profiting on plant closing
Restructuring Today - April 16, 2014

Load interests from across the region at FERC Monday protested ISO-NE's latest capacity auction results, which saw the highest prices ever...Several protests alleged that Energy Capital Partners (ECP) outright manipulated the auction by withdrawing its Brayton Point generating facility, which caused higher administrative pricing to kick in for all other generators including its own. ...The state consumer advocates for Connecticut, Maine and New Hampshire hired Synapse [Energy] Economics to study the plant's profitability at different capacity prices. The consultants found that it could have been profitable down to $5/KW-month.

Rethinking How to Split the Costs of Carbon
New York Times - December 24, 2013

Two years ago, some of the greenest constituencies in the country asked Elizabeth Stanton and colleagues at the Stockholm Environment Institute-U.S. Center to perform a set of calculations on their carbon emissions. Rather than tally the carbon they produced, they wanted an inventory of the emissions generated in making, transporting, using and disposing of what they consumed.

They were in for a surprise. San Francisco, for example, generated only eight million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2008. The city's consumption, by contrast, added nearly 22 million tons of carbon to the air. Using consumption-based measurements, Oregon's emissions in 2005 jumped to 78 million tons from 53 million.

"The people who hired us to do it saw themselves as so green and innovative," said Frank Ackerman, who led the Climate Economics Group at the center at the time and now works with Ms. Stanton at Synapse Energy Economics, a consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass. "They thought that because they had nice initiatives going on they would come out lower, never mind the fact that a lot of the manufactures they consumed were made abroad."

Energy economics say wind, solar best path for Navajo Nation
Arizona Capitol Times - December 9, 2013

A study this month by Synapse Energy Economics Inc., finds that building and operating 900 megawatts of renewable energy on the Navajo Nation to replace one-third of the coal-fired power at the Navajo Generating Station will provide approximately the same number of jobs as that third of the coal plant and the Kayenta mine that fuels it.

This Might Be the Last Traditional Coal Power Plant to Be Built in America
New Republic - October 27, 2013

Quite simply, coal has become a bad investment. The Boston-based think tank Synapse recently released a study showing that power companies could make more money by retiring 73 percent of existing coal plants and building gas plants instead; Synapse also reports that “utilities have decided to reject, cancel or significantly delay more than 60 proposed coal power plant projects in just the past two years,” largely for economic reasons. In a recent projection, the U.S. Energy Information Administration guessed that not a single coal plant will be built between 2018 and 2035.

U.S. 'Collision Course' Looms over Water, Energy: Report
Bloomberg- September 12, 2013

The U.S. would be wise to adopt more aggressive measures to avert water and energy shortages as population and power consumption rise, according to a report. Climate change is worsening heat and drought, raising demand and lowering cooling supplies for nuclear, coal and natural-gas plants that generate 97 percent of the nation’s electricity, according to the “Water Constraints on Energy Production” report prepared for the Civil Society Institute. Subsidizing renewable power generators such as wind turbines and solar cells that require little or no water would help, the report said. Clean energy also demands less water in an era of increasing scarcity in the U.S. West and elsewhere than the extraction of coal, gas and uranium, said the report by Synapse Energy Economics Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Synapse's report, Water Constraints on Energy Production: Altering Our Current Collision Course, was also covered by the Associated Press. Two of the report's authors, Melissa Whited and Frank Ackerman, published an op-ed on the subject in the Houston Chronicle (America's electric infrastructure too dependent on water).

Nuclear power plays a diminishing role in mix
The Boston Globe- September 1, 2013

The pending closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station is the latest in a string of planned plant retirements that many industry analysts say forecast a shrinking role for nuclear in the nation’s energy mix. ...“The economic pressures that have made Vermont Yankee not worth maintaining for the company are affecting all merchant nuclear plants,” said Ezra Hausman, vice president at Synapse Energy Economics Inc., a research and consulting firm in Cambridge. “Any company that has its own money on the line is taking a hard look at any investments” in nuclear power.

Tidal projects may face limits
The Chronicle Herald- August 19, 2013

The size of potential tidal projects on the Bay of Fundy could be limited by how much of an impact they can have on electricity rates, says a U.S. consultant working for the provincial regulator. Synapse Energy Economics Inc. told the Utility and Review Board last week that some developers say their projects must have 10 megawatts of generating capacity to be viable. “Several developers stressed that in order to justify the cost of coming to the Bay of Fundy, they need revenue certainty for more than one or two units,” Synapse, hired by the board’s lawyer, said in a filing last week. But the Cambridge, Mass.-based consultant said four megawatts is more realistic, given that the Energy Department wants tidal development to have no more than a two per cent impact on power rates. “If developers need more revenue certainty than this, then these (feed-in tariff) rates could fail to attract projects,” Synapse said. The board is in the process of setting a feed-in tariff for tidal projects during the testing and development stage.

New England's love affair with natural gas cools
Boston.com- July 13, 2013

But in Vermont Public Service Board proceedings on Vermont Gas Systems’ Addison Pipeline project, a CLF expert, Elizabeth Stanton of Cambridge, Mass.-based Synapse Energy Economics, rebutted Vermont Gas Systems’ claim that the project would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On the contrary, Stanton testified, any savings from using cleaner-burning gas over heating oil in homes and businesses along the route would be more than offset by pipeline leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

Obama's Climate Action Plan Will Create Jobs: Study
CNBC- July 5, 2013

The US Chamber of Commerce was quick to denounce President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan as "punishing Americans with higher energy bills [and] fewer jobs." But a new study finds the opposite: It said the policy will bring more jobs and lower electricity bills... Conducted by Synapse Energy Economics for NRDC, the study projected that stricter emissions standards could net 210,000 jobs by 2020 and reduce electricity bills by 90 cents a month on average. An analysis of 14 states projected more jobs in all but one (Maine) under the proposal and lower utility bills in all but three states.

Environmental study: VTGas expansion would increase greenhouse gases, not reduce them
VTDigger.org June 18, 2013

Vermont Gas Systems (VTGas) has consistently maintained that its proposed 41.2-mile southern expansion into Addison County would help reduce Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions. But an analysis from the Conservation Law Foundation suggests the natural gas pipeline would increase carbon dioxide pollution. The Conservation Law Foundation contracted Stanton, a senior associate at Synapse Energy Economics Inc., to analyze VTGas’ emissions calculations.

Distributed Generation in New England Will Triple by 2021, Study Says
Forbes- June 15, 2013

The total capacity of distributed generation installed in New England is likely to triple over the next decade, according to a new study. The study, Forecasting Distributed Generation Resources in New England, was published last week by Synapse Energy Economics, an energy consulting firm based in Cambridge, MA, and forecasts future growth of distribution generation resources in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Study: Doubling Wind Will Cut Rates for PJM Customers
Greentech Media- May 15, 2013

PJM, the biggest competitive energy market in the world, could double the amount of planned wind and would still save ratepayers money, according to a new study of the PJM grid system. The PJM system, which covers thirteen states plus Washington, D.C., could go from the 32.1 gigawatts of wind projected to be built because of state mandates to 65.4 gigawatts of wind, and it would produce a net benefit of about $1 billion in 2021 and $6.9 billion in 2026, a Synapse Energy Economics study concluded.

What Has the Pursuit of Fossil Fuels Cost Us? And Who Has Had to Pay?
The Atlantic- April 29, 2013

Critics raise questions about the viability of a full, fast transition to clean energy--including whether our grid could handle it. These concerns are sometimes overblown--just this month, Synapse Energy Economics released a report showing that the grid would be reliable even with a much higher level of renewables. But the transition to clean energy does bring legitimate challenges. And they would be more readily solved if we were willing to spend as much money and time on them as we are on finding hidden petroleum reserves and developing deep sea drilling vessels.

Nuclear Opponents Invoke Solyndra
The New York Times- January 31, 2013

Are new nuclear power plants a good bet for taxpayers? Congress evidently thought so in 2005, when it set aside $17.5 billion in loan guarantees to help restart nuclear construction in this country after a three-decade drought. On Wednesday, the opponents, Synapse Energy Economics and Earth Track, released a report based on the Department of Energy’s responses to four Freedom of Information Act requests over three years. The report argues that Vogtle might not go forward without the loan guarantees and that the department is poorly set up to evaluate the risk of default and set an appropriate upfront fee.

Betting on Indiana coal: Duke wants ratepayers to fund retrofits, environmentalists cry foul
Midwest Energy News- January 23, 2013

Duke Energy Indiana is seeking permission from the state regulatory commission to bill ratepayers for making retrofits to three of its Indiana coal-fired power plants in order to comply with looming federal environmental regulations.Duke indicated to the regulators that after evaluating different scenarios, it decided retrofitting and continuing to run the coal plants through at least 2034 is its best option. On November 29, the environmental groups filed testimony they had commissioned from Frank Ackerman, a senior economist at Synapse Energy Economics. Ackerman charged that the range of options explored by Duke was too narrow.

Distributed Generation Alternatives Take Spotlight at NARUC
AOL Energy- November 21, 2012

The daunting cost of getting new transmission lines built is spurring the search for alternatives that not only cost less but can make the electricity system more resilient in the face of natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Proponents of distributed generation, like rooftop solar panels, have been promoting many of these options as clean energy. But Doug Hurley, senior associate with Synapse Energy Economics, told the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in Baltimore this week that cost alone will drive the power industry toward "non-transmission alternatives" (NTAs).

Aging and Expensive, Reactors Face Mothballs
The New York Times- October 23, 2012

The conventional wisdom about nuclear reactors is that they are expensive to build but cheap to run. But electricity on the wholesale market is so inexpensive, its price depressed by cheap natural gas, that some reactors may not have enough revenue to justify needed capital expenditures. Experts say that as a result, the nuclear industry may be nearing its first round of retirements since the mid-1990s. Bruce E. Biewald, the chief executive of Synapse Energy Economics, a consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass., compared the nuclear plants to old coal plants now facing big capital expenses.

Wisconsin Nuclear Reactor to Be Closed
The New York Times- October 22, 2012

The owner of a small nuclear reactor in Wisconsin said Monday that it would close the Kewaunee Power Station early next year because it was unable to find a buyer and the plant was no longer economically viable. The decision was viewed as an early sign that the wave of retirements of old generating stations across the Midwest is now stretching from the coal industry into nuclear power, driven by slack demand for energy and the low price of natural gas. Bruce Biewald, the founder and chief executive of Synapse Energy Economics, a consulting firm, said that low electricity prices were a severe problem for generators in places like the Midwest, where power is sold at auction.

Nuclear Power Debate Heats Up in NYCs Backyard: Relicensing Controversy Intensifies
AOL Energy- October 16, 2012

A major study commissioned by the NRDC and Riverkeeper concludes that Indian Point's power can easily be replaced with renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. The report – produced by consultants Synapse Energy Economics – finds a combination of new transmission lines will draw in power, including renewables, from places like New Jersey and Canada, and that coupled with energy efficiency programs can replace the power that Indian Point's closure would take offline.

'Hidden Costs' Revealed: Where Does Solar Rank Among Energy Sources?
Solar Industry- September 20, 2012

When all of the impacts are considered and all the costs are tallied, how does solar compare to other common energy sources? A new report by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., called "The Hidden Costs of Electricity: Comparing the Hidden Costs of Power Generation Fuels" suggests that the indirect or externalized costs of fossil fuels, nuclear power and biomass still outweigh those of solar power.

Synapse's report, The Hidden Costs of Electricity: Comparing the Hidden Costs of Power Generation Fuels, was also covered by the following media outlets: Bloomberg (U.S. Electricity Ignores Scarce Water Costs, Report Finds); and Environmental Leader (Energy Generation’s Water Demands a Huge ‘Hidden Cost’).

TVA Deciding Whether to Fix up or Shut Down Older Coal Plants
EnergyBiz- August 14, 2012

A new report from Synapse Energy Economics reveals that the Tennessee Valley Authority is risking wasting billions of dollars to keep aging, out-of-date coal plants online instead of pursuing lower cost options like energy efficiency, the Sierra Club said Aug. 14.

The TRC is Failing Us ... But Not for the Reasons You Think
PR Newswire- July 23, 2012

Widely-used tests to evaluate energy efficiency programs are not being conducted correctly and, as a result, energy efficiency programs that offer significant benefits to homeowners, the environment, and society are not being created, according to a groundbreaking study: "Best Practices in Energy Efficiency Program Screening: How to Ensure that the Value of Energy Efficiency is Properly Accounted For." The report, authored by Synapse Energy Economics, was released this morning during NARUC's annual meeting.

Paper mill power deal could be costly
The Chronicle Herald- June 13, 2012

A deal to help reopen a closed Cape Breton paper mill by making Nova Scotia Power a partner in the operation could wind up costing other electricity customers $15 million to $20 million a year. Richard Hornby of Massachusetts-based Synapse Energy Economics says the cost of adding renewables to service the mill would be at least $11 million. The consultant also said the utility hasn’t provided enough information on the method it will use to determine its exact costs under the deal.

Study: Midwest wind and transmission build-out lowers power prices and minimally impacts rates
RenewablesBiz- May 22, 2012

Wholesale electric power prices would drop significantly in the Midwest over the next decade with large amounts of wind generation capacity added, while transmission costs to consumers would rise minimally, according to a new study. Synapse Energy Economics did the study on behalf of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid, which said adding more wind power to the electric grid could reduce wholesale market prices by more than 25% in the Midwest region by 2020.

Alternative energy supporters push agenda to lawmakers
Kentucky.com- March 22, 2012

Supporters of renewable energy are continuing the effort to move Kentucky away from its near-exclusive use of coal to generate electricity. Consultant Richard Hornby told the committee a study he helped conduct projected the average residential electric bill will be 47 percent higher in 2022 than in 2010 if the state continues with business as usual. Hornby, of Synapse Energy Economics Inc. in Boston, studied the issue for the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance and the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development.

As Reactors Age, the Money to Close Them Lags
The New York Times- March 20, 2012

The operators of 20 of the nation's aging nuclear reactors, including some whose licenses expire soon, have not saved nearly enough money for prompt and proper dismantling. If it turns out that they must close, the owners intend to let them sit like industrial relics for 20 to 60 years or even longer while interest accrues in the reactors' retirement accounts. Bruce Biewald, an economist who specializes in electricity economics at Synapse Energy, a Boston consulting firm, said the mothball strategy carries risks that could outweigh benefits. Proponents say "it's like magic - compound interest on the one hand and radioactive decay on the other," he said.

Sierra Club experts testify against adding scrubbers at KY power plant
The State Journal- March 14, 2012

Experts retained by the Sierra Club say adding scrubbers to the Big Sandy power plant at Louisa, Ky., near Fort Gay, have gone on record opposing plans by American Electric Power to add a scrubber to a coal-fired power plant along the West Virginia-Kentucky border. Jeremy Fisher, who describes himself as a scientist with Synapse Energy Economics, a research and consulting firm based in Cambridge, Mass., was one of three expert witnesses retained by the Sierra Club to argue against scrubbing smokestack gases at Big Sandy.

Canadian Renewable Energy Makes Big Splash in U.S.
RenewableEnergyWorld.com- March 9, 2012

With more hydropower than it can use, Canada sells cheap, clean power to U.S. utilities and has been doing so for years. Now, large transmission projects across the Northeast and Midwest will mean more hydro will be used to meet utilities needs. The Conservation Law Foundation, a Boston-based environmental advocacy group, cited a report it commissioned from Synapse Energy Economics saying the following: "The science is clear that the reservoirs behind hydropower dams emit greenhouse gases, relative to the forests and wetlands they flood (which often take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere).

Report: Power Diversity Could Pay Off Big for Kentucky
Public News Service- January 17, 2012

More jobs, greater economic activity and utility-bill savings for customers are all byproducts of investing in clean energy in Kentucky over the next decade. That's according to a new study by Synapse Energy Economics that examines the effects of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act - House Bill 167, introduced in the Kentucky House - if it becomes law.

PJM Capacity Market Faces Uprising
AOL Energy- December 19, 2011

Consumers in two congested load areas--in Maryland and New Jersey--are paying increasing surcharges to the so-called capacity markets. New Jersey regulators estimate their surcharges alone will total $11.3 billion by 2015. But there's no sign of significant new capacity in those areas, and the two states are charging that capacity markets simply pad utility profits. A study by Synapse Energy Economics in June found 95% of capacity payments in PJM Interconnection, the mid-Atlantic regional grid, have gone to existing generators, not new competitors.

Civil Society Institute Study: U.S. Could Achieve Over $80 Billion in Lower Energy Costs by Focusing on Safer, Renewable Energy
PR Newswire- November 16, 2011

It is a myth that switching to safe, renewable energy would mean an unreliable U.S. power supply that also is too expensive to afford. That is the major conclusion of a new Synapse Energy Economics report prepared for the nonprofit Civil Society Institute that details a future with more energy efficiency and renewable energy and less reliance on coal and nuclear power. The new Synapse/CSI report outlines a realistic transition to a cleaner energy future that would result in a net savings of $83 billion over the next 40 years. The Synapse report also details other major benefits, including: the avoidance of tens of thousands of premature deaths due to pollution; the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs; sharp cuts in carbon pollution; and significant cuts in water consumption for power production.

Synapse's report, Toward a Sustainable Future for the U.S. Power Sector: Beyond Business as Usual 2011, was also covered by the following media outlets: Stock Markets Review (Is the "Common Wisdom" Wrong?: Report to Show That U.S. Can Achieve Renewable Energy Future ... And Save Money for Consumers); Charleston Gazette (Cleaner energy possible, report says); North American Wind Power (Report: Renewable Energy Future Is Cheaper Than Fossil-Fuel Status Quo); and The River Reporter (Report: cleaner energy could be cheaper as well).

Northern Plains members hear about possible future for coal
KTVQ News- November 12, 2011

A local conservation group is hearing that alternative energy will eventually replace coal, with wind and solar becoming more cost effective. Two experts spoke about that message at the Northern Plains Resource Council's 40th annual meeting." As a nation we could phase out coal fire energy over the next few decades at basically negligible cost." said Geoff Keith of Synapse Energy Economics. "That really flies in the face of conventional wisdom or what we've understood about this industry." Keith says Synapse Energy Economics in Cambridge, will release a report on [November 16], about coal and alternative energy.

Consultant will testify about flaws in KU, LG&E Rate Proposal
WFPL News- November 8, 2011

Hearings begin tomorrow in Frankfort, as the Kentucky Public Service Commission considers a request for environmental upgrades and higher rates from Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities. Commissioners will also hear from a consultant who has found flaws with the request. Jeremy Fisher is a scientist with Synapse Energy Economics, a Boston-based energy consulting firm. He will testify in the hearing on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which are intervening in the case. Fisher says there are shortcomings in the proposal, one of which is in the number of coal-fired units the utility is proposing to retire.

Indian Point Nuclear Plant Should Be Closed, Report Says
The Huffington Post- October 17, 2011

A report released Monday says southern New York State's Indian Point Energy Center should be closed, despite pressure to keep it open. The Indian Point Energy Center is located along the banks of the Hudson River in Westchester County, less than 40 miles north of New York City. The report, commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Riverkeeper, suggests that the plant can and should be closed, in favor of readily available alternative energy options, according to a press release. The report, from consulting firm Synapse Energy Economics, claims that shuttering the nearly 40-year-old plant when its current license expires in 2015 would not mean a need for greater capacity in the region's electric grid until 2020.

Synapse's report, Indian Point Energy Center Nuclear Plant Retirement Analysis: Replacement Options, Reliability Issues, and Economic Effects on Indian Point, was also covered by the following media outlets: Reuters (NY can replace Indian Point nuclear power); eNews Park Forest (New Analysis: Indian Point Nuclear Plant Can be Replaced with Cleaner, Safer Energy); Penn Energy (New analysis on retirement of Indian Point nuclear plant finds NY reliability not in jeopardy); The New York Times (How Essential Is Indian Point?); OnEarth Magazine (Time to Mothball Indian Point Nuclear Plant?); Crain's New York Business (Report: NY could do without nuclear plant's power); and Westfair Online (Hearing puts Indian Point in the spotlight).

Cutting Carbon, Controversy in NE
energybiz- October 11, 2011

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's decision this May to withdraw the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by year-end continues to fuel a national debate on the merits of regional market-based efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. In an open letter dated July 2011, a range of businesses pledged support for RGGI, noting that “strong clean energy and clean air policies create jobs and stimulate economic growth.” Regarding RGGI's impact on the regional economy, an October 2010 Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. report estimated that, in those states focusing on energy efficiency, electricity savings range from just over $2 to just under $4 for each $1 invested by the RGGI program.

Why Go Nuclear When Efficiency, Renewables Fit the Bill
Sustainable Business- October 7, 2011

What's the likely result if the more than 20 applications for new or expanded nuclear plants are approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission? That's the question addressed in the report, "Big Risks, Better Alternatives," by Synapse Energy Economics on behalf of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report focuses on two proposed nuclear projects in Florida and Georgia, states which rank among the worst in the nation in energy efficiency, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). If either state were to pursue even modest efficiency goals, peak load energy levels could remain below those of 2006. Further, neither Florida nor Georgia have meaningful renewable energy standards but do have significant potential for developing them. "Florida and Georgia policy makers should reexamine their decision to place the considerable risks of new nuclear construction on ratepayers when there are cost-effective, environmentally sustainable alternatives available to meet their states' energy needs," says Max Chang of Synapse, the report's lead author. "Pursuing these alternatives would enable Florida and Georgia to reliably meet demand growth and reduce carbon emissions at lower cost and with less risk than those posed by the proposed Levy and Vogtle projects."

US cap-and-trade scheme set for key battle
The Financial Times- August 21, 2011

Businesses in the north-eastern US are preparing for a battle over the future of the country's only working cap-and-trade scheme for controlling carbon dioxide emissions. At the heart of the dispute is a disagreement over whether the fragile US economy can cope with tougher environmental regulation. So far, RGGI's effect on energy prices has been barely visible. Bruce Biewald, president of Synapse Energy Economics, says a rough calculation suggests it has added about 1 percent to electricity bills in the member states. The full impact on businesses and consumers will be even smaller, he adds, because of the recycling of most of the proceeds. About $700m out of the $886m that has been raised so far has been used to support energy efficiency improvements.

Sierra Club questions Utah power-rate deal
The Salt Lake Tribune- August 3, 2011

The Sierra Club has lodged the only objection to a settlement agreement that, if approved by state utility regulators, would allow Rocky Mountain Power to raise the amount it charges its customers for electricity by $117 million a year beginning in September. This amount includes millions of dollars that the utility spent on new emission-control equipment for its coal-fired plants. William Steinhurst, with Synapse Energy Economics in Vermont, said Rocky Mountain Power’s investment in its coal-fired plants may fall short of what’s needed to comply with state and federal environmental rules that might be enacted down the road. "Under such a scenario, Rocky Mountain Power would be forced to either reinvest in different or additional technology, which could render the proposed investments redundant or obsolete, or to decommission plants entirely, in which case the ratepayer-funded investments would be abandoned," he wrote.

Local Clean Energy a High Priority for Canadian Provinces
Renewable Energy World- August 1, 2011

Nova Scotia is completing rulemaking for a provincial goal of 40 percent renewable power by 2020 that includes a 100-MW set-aside for community-owned distributed generation projects. The policy promises to increase the economic activity from its renewable energy goal by $50 to $240 million. Under the Community Feed-in Tariff (ComFIT), the community-owned projects will receive 20-year contracts for power at rates sufficient to ensure a reasonable return on investment. The preliminary rates, designed by Synapse Energy Economics, were published earlier this year.

Powering Down: An Arizona utility moves past coal, but PNM digs in
Santa Fe Reporter- July 27, 2011

Late last year, the Arizona Public Service (APS) company decided to shut down three of the five operating units at its Four Corners Power Plant in New Mexico. In a press release, APS states that the shutdown would save rate payers about $500 million by avoiding costly environmental retrofits on the nearly 50-year-old coal units in addition to reducing particulate emissions -- shown by the Natural Resources Defense Council to cause asthma -- by 43 percent. Yet PNM, whose plant is only five miles away from APS’s, states in its new Integrated Resource Plan that its least-cost option is to keep its coal plant puffing away. “If [PNM] had done the analyses right, they would have seen that the best economics for New Mexicans would be to retire some or all of the [San Juan units] instead of continuing to pour money into keeping them going,” William Steinhurst, a senior consultant at Synapse Energy Economics and an expert witness in the PNM rate case, says.

Germany to phase out nuclear power. Could the US do the same?
The Christian Science Monitor- June 7, 2011

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has endorsed a plan to end all nuclear power in Germany by 2022. Increasingly, studies suggest this is not a far-fetched idea, even for the US. A 2010 Synapse Energy Economics study concluded that the US "could replace coal-fired electricity generation with energy efficiency and renewable energy, and we could reduce our use of nuclear power" by more than one-quarter by 2050.

Nuclear power in US: public support plummets in wake of Fukushima crisis
The Christian Science Monitor- March 22, 2011

Several polls show that Americans are once again wary of nuclear power. A new survey shows that 53 percent of Americans would support "a moratorium on new nuclear reactor construction in the United States"– but only if increased energy efficiency and off-the-shelf renewable technologies such as wind and solar could meet our energy demands for the near term. "If done in a gradual way, over time, there's plenty of time to backfill" the declines in nuclear power though systems like solar and wind, Bruce Biewald, president of Synapse Energy told reporters in a conference call hosted by CSI unveiling the findings.

What If There Is No Climate/Energy Bill? Civil Society Institute Report From Synapse Shows Clean Energy Future Still Possible For U.S.
Earth Times / PRNewswire- May 11, 2010

The Synapse report outlines a "Transition Scenario" that would step up energy efficiency and the use of clean, renewable energy, allowing the country to retire all coal-fired power plants, and over a quarter of existing nuclear reactors. The overall cost of the plan would involve modest near-term costs over a "business as usual" (BAU) scenario, but result in savings by 2040.

Policy and Rhetoric Ignore Real Limits of Nation's Coal Reserves
SolveClimate.com- May 7, 2010

There are a number of implications to the widespread belief that coal is plentiful for the foreseeable future. One is a "failsafe" mindset that leaves politicians stuck in the past... As the April 2010 report from the independent group Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., prepared for the Energy Foundation, shows, American tax dollars are still supporting the coal industry in the form of tax-exempt loans to the industry, DOE tax credits, and financial backing to the World Bank, which finances fossil fuel extraction globally...

Energy Efficiency Brought up in Black Hills Power Testimony
Rapid City Journal- April 29, 2010

A group of Rapid City residents and the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center said Thursday that Black Hills Power could have avoided building an expensive new coal-fired power plant by implementing energy efficiency measures...Christopher James, senior associate at Synapse Energy Economics in Massachusetts, said the utility could provide reliable and affordable power to customers without the new power plant, the cost of which he said exposes customers to unnecessary risks.

Empowering the Planet - An Earth Day Overview
The Huffington Post- April 19, 2010

China has announced plans to build 100 nuclear plants that will produce a total of at least a gigawatt of power. But that's only one-tenth of a terawatt! And, according to a 2008 report by Synapse Energy Economics, the total construction cost for each recently built 1,100-MW nuclear plant has been running $5,500/kW to $8,100/kW - or between $6 billion and $9 billion, bringing the total price tag for those upcoming plants to somewhere between $600 billion and $900 billion.

Vermont State Senators Urge Consideration of Newly-issued Report on Vermont Yankee
Vermontbiz.com- April 8, 2010

This independent report, commissioned by the Joint Fiscal Office at the request of the Vermont Legislature and 16 months in the making, reviews the energy and economic impact of four possible Vermont energy scenarios, and concludes Vermont would be best served by relicensing Vermont Yankee and pursuing more renewable energy. It was prepared in collaboration with Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., the Department of Public Service, Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service Corporation.

New GA Report Offers Efficiency Alternatives to Dirty Coal
cleanenergy.org- March 22, 2010

...The range of cost outlined in a Synapse Energy Economics report on Plant Washington suggests that building Plant Washington - 850MW of new coal capacity - could cost anywhere in the range of 7.5 cents per kilowatt-hour to as high as 13.7 cents per kilowatt-hour depending on climate legislation. These cost ranges and the risks associated with building coal are significantly higher than investing in various energy efficiency measures....

Massachusetts Positioned for Steep Global Warming Gas Reductions
Boston.com- February 5, 2010

As national legislation to reduce global warming emissions has stalled in Congress, Massachusetts is on target to reduce its own emissions more than 18 percent below 1990 levels in the next decade, according to a draft technical report released by the state today...

Interview: Toy Jewelry & A Pound of Coal
The Environment Report- January 13, 2010

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is reacting to a report on a toxic metal found in some children's jewelry. The Associated Press found cadmium in the jewlery. Mark Brush reports that it's buyer beware. And... a pound of coal. Lester Graham talks with Ezra Hausman, Vice President of Synapse Energy Economics. Hausman explains what you get when you burn a pound of coal.

Experts Raise Concerns About New Transmission Line from Coal Country to Eastern Grid
Common Dreams.org / Sierra Club Press Release- October 27, 2009

The experts, testifying on behalf of the Sierra Club, include George Loehr and Hyde Merrill, nationally renowned electric experts, Chris James of Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. (a former EPA employee and Director of Air Planning for Connecticut), and Robert Fagan, also of Synapse, a mechanical engineer and energy economics expert. Their testimony concludes that the line is not needed; that cheaper, simpler alternatives are available; and that “[r]ather than increase reliability, PATH would actually make it worse.”

Mountain Top Removal Economics: Limits Won't be the End of the World
The Charlston Gazette Blog- October 13, 2009

As the Obama administration works out the kinks of its proposal to take “unprecedented steps” to reduce the environmental impacts of mountaintop removal, coal industry supporters are pulling out all of their old arguments....but now, a newly released report commissioned by the Sierra Club has some important things to say about what ending mountaintop removal would do to the nation’s energy supply and the region’s economy. The new report was prepared for the Sierra Club by the consulting firm Synapse Energy Economics Inc...

Climate Change Bill to Boost Nuclear Plants
The Washington Times- September 1, 2009

Power generators that use coal, the dirtiest and cheapest source of energy, would have to raise their electricity rates to recoup the cost of their carbon dioxide emissions under the bill...Electricity generators...which have large nuclear holdings, could earn an extra $2.6 billion a year each if the bill becomes law, according to Synapse Energy Economics Inc...

Renewables and Energy Efficiency Alone Could Power Michigan
Environment News Service- August 12, 2009

The Synapse report comes as Michigan elected officials and policymakers are taking important decisions regarding the state's energy future. The Michigan Public Service Commission is set to make recommendations to the Department of Environmental Quality on the need for power and availability of cleaner alternatives to coal later this month.

Power Industry Infighting Heats Up Over Climate Legislation
The New York Times- July 16, 2009

"The current provisions basically amount to a $4 billion annual giveaway" to the merchant generators, said Mark Crisson, president of the American Public Power Association, citing a study by Synapse Energy Economics Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., that APPA helped commission. It was released yesterday...The House cap-and-trade bill would create a new kind of currency -- potentially worth $50 billion to $100 billion a year at the start -- in the form of free carbon allocations that permit power generators and factories to discharge carbon emissions without penalty...

Study Says Deregulated Generators Reap Windfall Profits from Climate Bill
The Dallas Morning News- July 15, 2009

The study, written by Synapse Energy Economics, says deregulated generators would include the value of allowances in the price of power, regardless of whether they have to pay for pollution permits or get them for free. This is because generators can do one of three things with the permits: bank them for future years, sell them on the market, or submit them to the government to meet pollution quotas...

Study Reveals New Cap & Trade Winners and Losers
Business Wire- July 15, 2009

A report released today by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc...shows that the impact of new greenhouse gas cap-and-trade policies across the country will vary greatly depending upon how carbon allowances are allocated and the electricity market structure. The study demonstrates that any allocations given to merchant generators in deregulated markets will result in windfall profits without taking any steps to reduce carbon emissions.

Efficiency and Ag Practices Can Achieve Emissions Cuts
SustainableBusiness.com News- May 11, 2009

Efficiency techniques and methods employed by leading states today can cut emissions in the sector by 73% by 2030, according to a report by Synapse Energy Economics...The report, entitled "No Need to Wait," examines the impact of improving efficiency in all 50 states to the level achieved by leading states today. Several leading states already have energy efficiency savings of 2% per year. If all 50 states ramped up programs to this level, these savings alone would help to achieve 73% of the President's GHG targets by 2030.

Report Claims New Coal Plant Will Lead to Higher Rates
The Virginian-Pilot- April 27, 2009

The environmental coalition commissioned the study by Synapse Energy Economics Inc...The report concluded that rising construction expenses, economic uncertainty and the costs of controlling carbon dioxide emissions will lead to unnecessarily high electricity rates for consumers who depend on Old Dominion for their power.

N.C. to Weigh Alternative to Duke's Save-A-Watt
The Greensboro Business Journal - August 21, 2008

N.C. regulators have agreed to consider a proposal for an independent energy-conservation program offered by opponents of Duke Energy Carolinas' Save-A-Watt program, which would give Duke and its customers incentives to cut the need for power...The proposal cites a recent study by Synapse Energy of Cambridge, Mass. The report cites successes by such independent programs in six states, including New York, Wisconsin and Maine....

Save-A-Watt: Not the Brightest Bulb in the Box
The Independent Weekly - August 6, 2008

All these programs, Synapse reports, seek maximum energy conservation for all households, regardless of income. They do so by using comprehensive programs that combine home renovations, weatherization and electricity-saving devices like fluorescent lighting, automated thermostats and efficient appliances...

A Special Report on the Future of Energy: Dig Deep
The Economist- June 19, 2008

Another report, by a consultancy called Synapse Energy Economics, notes that American power companies are already starting to employ carbon prices in their internal accounting, using a range of $3-61 a tonne. Again, the middle of that range is about $30....

Building More Coal-Fired Power Plants: Big Mistake
Plenty Magazine- April 15, 2008

The coal industry may be a ticking time bomb for energy investors, power companies, and taxpayers, says a new report entitled “Don’t Get Burned: The Risks of Investing in New Coal-Fired Generating Facilities.” Prepared for the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, an international coalition of 275 faith-based institutional investors, by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc, the report warns against Bush’s proposal to grant $8 billion in subsidies to coal, and opposes the roughly 130 new US coal-fired power plants slated for construction over the next two decades.

Opponents of Coal Plant Testify Before Utilities Board
Times-Republican- January 17, 2008

Leaving six Alliant Energy witnesses for later cross-examination, the Iowa Utilities Board Wednesday moved on to the lineup of Consumer Advocate witnesses, all opposed to the proposed building a new coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown. Michael Drunsic, a research associate for the firm Synapse Energy Economics, had argued in documents presented before this week’s hearing in the Iowa Veterans Home’s Whitehall Auditorium that the way Alliant modeled how much wind energy could be generated in the future was too restrictive and thus limited the real possibilities wind could have...

Connecticut Urges Rejection of Long Island Sound Gas Terminal
Environment News Service - Jan 8, 2008

On the other hand, Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., a Boston based consulting firm, released a 2006 report concluding that Broadwater is unnecessary to meet the region's energy needs. The report cites specific examples of how future energy needs can be met through a combination of energy projects already approved, existing renewable energy initiatives, and demand side management techniques...

Risky Business: The Outlook for Investing in Nuclear Power
SocialFunds.com - May 10, 2007

... An influential coalition of socially responsible investors and environmental, health, and public interest organizations recently released the report “Why a Future for the Nuclear Industry is Risky” that strongly comes down against the inclusion of nuclear power in the future energy equation. The report argues that nuclear power is not a good investment for people interested either in a healthy return or a healthy planet. The report is based on presentations by Peter Bradford and David Schlissel , both of whom have extensive experience in the technical and governmental aspects of the nuclear power industry. ...

Study Shows Big Job Losses Expected From Electric Rate Hikes, CUB Urges Lawmakers to Roll Back ComEd, Ameren Increases
Citizens Utility Board - Chicago, Illinois, February 19, 2007

... In September, the first auction resulted in an average 26 percent rate hike for ComEd customers and a 40 to 55 percent increase for Ameren customers. However, because of the rate structure adopted, many customers are seeing their bills soar even higher. According to the companies' own data, the combined rate hikes will drain $2.3 billion out of the Illinois economy. The CUB study, conducted in conjunction with Synapse Energy Economics Inc., of Cambridge, MA, uses the results of a state-of-the-art economic model to calculate the effects of such a massive transfer of wealth on state employment....

Hydro's Value Still Up in the Air
Rutland Herald - Rutland, Vermont, August 7, 2006

...Rockingham officials and representatives of TransCanada, the multinational energy giant that purchased the dam and 13 others in bankruptcy court last year, have been discussing a possible deal involving payments in lieu of taxes. Meanwhile, the company earlier this year rejected a $131 million value placed on the property by Synapse Energy Economics of Cambridge, Mass., a firm with experience valuing energy-producing facilities, hired by the town....

Nuclear Power's Missing Fuel
Business Week Online - USA, July 10, 2006
...Historically, utilities did an "abysmal" job controlling building schedules and costs, says David A. Schlissel, an economist at Synapse Energy Economics Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. Between 1975 and 1989, the average period required to complete a plant soared from 5 years to 12. The bill for a group of 75 first-generation plants totaled $224.1 billion (in current dollars), 219% more than estimated, according to a 1986 Energy Dept. study. In time, many utilities collapsed under these debts even as customers' bills soared...