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On February 27, Bruce Biewald, Synapse founder and CEO, testified at a House Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing on “Benefits of and Challenges to Energy Access in the 21st Century: Electricity.” Mr. Biewald spoke about the practice of estimating a future CO2 price in electric utility planning, which is becoming increasingly common in the United States. 

Bruce Biewald

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s State & Local Climate and Energy program will host a webinar next Tuesday, March 18, on the newly released AVERT (Avoided Emissions and Generation Tool), an open-access tool built by Synapse to allow states and other stakeholders to estimate the hourly emissions benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and programs.

Today the EPA released AVERT (Avoided Emissions and Generation Tool), an open-access tool built by Synapse to allow states and other stakeholders to estimate the hourly emissions benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and programs. AVERT allows non-expert users to measure emissions of CO2, SO2, and NOX mitigated by state or multi-state programs.

AVERT

Planning for the future price of emitting one ton of carbon dioxide can seem like a game of chance, in which electric utilities and other stakeholders are forced to bet on uncertainties. However, considering state and regional policies that are already in play—as well as proposed federal legislation aimed at reducing emissions—it would be a bigger gamble for utilities to assume that there will be a CO2 price of zero in the long run.

Synapse recently assisted Michigan’s Public Service Commission and State Energy Office in evaluating the economics of the state’s energy efficiency programs by surveying cost-effectiveness screening practices in Michigan and in eight other states: Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Synapse’s Dr. Elizabeth A. Stanton testifies on the expansion of the Vermont Gas Network

Atrazine, the chemical weed killer used on tens of millions of acres of corn in the U.S., is hazardous to our health and to the environment. Evidence suggests that exposure to atrazine damages men and women’s reproductive health, weakens immune systems in wildlife, and may contribute to the risk of cancer. So what’s the tradeoff? In 2011, five papers sponsored by Syngenta, a European company that produces atrazine, claimed that the potent, low-cost herbicide has huge economic benefits.

Benefits of Reducing New England Energy Use Include Lower Energy Prices and Carbon Dioxide Emissions in Addition to Energy Cost Savings

There is almost one gigawatt of energy-saving distributed generation (DG) resources installed across New England, Synapse found in a report prepared for the E4 Group—and state policies, together with falling technology costs, could lead to the installation of nearly two more gigawatts by 2021.

Last week, President Obama announced his plan to reduce carbon pollution in the United States, tasking the EPA with creating a strategy to set limits on carbon emissions from power plants by June 2014. A number of opponents of the measure claimed that any such strategy would cost the country jobs; however, Synapse recently examined the broad economic impacts of a similar carbon emissions standard proposed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and found this plan would result in a net increase in jobs.
 

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