Synapse reviewed whether Central Maine Power Company's proposed 69 kV transmission was needed to ensure adequate system capability and reliability in York County, Maine or whether a lower voltage line, demand side management, and/or distributed generation would have been adequate. Synapse also evaluated whether part of the proposed line could have been installed underground or inside existing transmission line rights of way. Project completed in July 2003.
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In testimony filed at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in September and October 2003, Synapse found that the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation was over-collecting from ratepayers for funds that would be needed to decommission the Kewaunee Nuclear Plant at the projected end of its service life. Project completed in September 2003.
Surrebuttal Testimony Reviewing Kewaunee Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Costs
Synapse evaluated technical and economic issues related to Entergy Arkansas' decision to replace the steam generators and the reactor vessel head at the Arkansas Nuclear One Unit 1 nuclear plant. Project completed in June 2003.
Direct Testimony of Neil Talbot in the Empire District Electric Co. General Rate Case
On behalf of the Regulatory Assistance Project and the Energy Foundation, Synapse prepared a manual on Portfolio Management that reflects state-of-the-art thinking on integrated resource planning, energy efficiency program planning, and risk management for electric utilities. Project completed in October 2003.
Tim Woolf presented “Potential Cost Impacts of a Vermont Renewable Portfolio Standard” to the Vermont RPS Collaborative on September 11, 2003. The presentation summarized Synapse’s report of the same name prepared for the Vermont Public Service Board.
In July 2003, NRDC retained Synapse to develop a white paper reviewing the literature on selected benefits of a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The resulting report was titled "Cleaner Air, Fuel Diversity, and High-Quality Jobs: Reviewing Selected Potential Benefits of an RPS in New York State." The report was submitted by The Renewable Energy Technology and Environment Coalition (RETEC) in the New York Public Service Commission's proceeding reviewing the proposed New York RPS.
Subsequently, Synapse commented on work submitted by other parties. During August and September 2003, Synapse evaluated studies of the potential cost of such a standard prepared by other parties and summarized the findings in a report titled "Comments on the RPS Cost Analyses of the Joint Utilities and the DPS Staff." This report was also submitted by RETEC for the record in that proceeding. In June 2004, the Public Service Commission issued a recommended decision in support of the RPS. Project completed in August 2003.
Synapse examined whether PG&E could independently decide to permanently retire one or more of the generating units at its Salem Harbor Station. The results of this analysis were presented in testimony submitted to the Joint Committees of the Massachusetts Legislature on Government Regulations and Energy. Project completed in March 2003.
Synapse reviewed and critiqued the Hydro-Quebec Energy Efficiency Plan: 2003-2006, and investigated opportunities for improvement or expansion. The review focused on the design of residential programs, as well as budgetary priorities and rate impacts. It also included a comparison with leading energy efficiency programs offered by US electric utilities. Project completed in April 2003.
Synapse reviewed TransGas Energy’s proposal to build an 1100 MW combustion turbine facility on the East River in Brooklyn, New York. Among the issues addressed by Synapse was whether the proposed plant would produce economic, environmental, and reliability benefits for the electric systems in New York City and/or New York State. Project completed in November 2003.
Rebuttal Testimony Reviewing a Proposed 1100 MW Power Plant in Brooklyn NY
Surrebuttal Testimony Reviewing a Proposed 1100 MW Power Plant in Brooklyn NY
Synapse reviewed Kings Park Energy’s proposal to build a 300 MW combustion turbine facility in Suffolk County, New York to determine whether the proposed plant would produce economic, environmental, and reliability benefits on Long Island and/or in New York State. Synapse also examined whether the repowering of existing generating facilities near the proposed site on Long Island would be a reasonable alternative for achieving the same or greater environmental benefits. Project completed in January 2003.
Synapse reviewed recent efforts to estimate emission reductions from renewable energy and energy efficiency in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The CEC was interested in developing a comparable methodology to calculate displaced emissions from these technologies across North America. Working with consultants in Mexico and Canada, Synapse assessed recent efforts to quantify the benefits of energy efficiency and renewables and presented the key methodological challenges and best practices in such quantification efforts. Project completed in September 2003.
Synapse reviewed the power procurement and risk management practices of Nevada Power Company and Sierra Pacific Power Company in the Western markets for a test year that included the summer of 2002. The results of this review were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald (PUCN Dockets 02-11021 and 03-1014). Project completed in May 2003.
Following the 2003 Blackout, a group of Synapse authors published an article in The Electricity Journal about system reliability. Access “The 2003 Blackout: Solutions that Won’t Cost a Fortune” here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040619003001374.
Synapse reviewed Reliant Energy’s proposal to repower its Astoria Generating Station in Queens County, New York. The analysis focused on whether the plant would produce environmental and reliability benefits in New York City and/or New York State. Synapse also reviewed the Applicant’s strategy for mitigating salt deposition from the proposed repowered facility. This assessment led to a proposed settlement among the parties in the case. Project completed in March 2003.
On behalf of its New England consumer advocacy clients, Synapse prepared a paper reviewing the structure and history of the New England wholesale electricity markets, examining market design, and reviewing various options for pricing capacity resources. The paper concludes with a brief review of future market design initiatives.
Synapse and Resource Insight prepared estimates of the market value of eight hydro-electric generation facilities in Vermont. These facilities were assessed using the income approach, the replacement cost approach and the comparable sales approach. The income approach relied upon computer simulation modeling of the New England electricity market. Project completed in 1999, with subsequent support following negotiations continuing until May 2003
Synapse worked with Resource Insight to estimate the value of a power plant site leased by the regulated utility company to its affiliate generating company for use at a new combustion turbine generating facility. Project completed in February 2003.
Synapse reviewed the plans of two large Iowa utilities to comply with environmental regulations. This included the analysis of generating plant air emission control options, costs, and effectiveness. Project completed in June 2002.
Synapse worked on a two-phase project focusing on electricity industry policies on clean power and energy efficiency. Phase one identified and summarized clean power and energy efficiency programs that were planned or on-going. The survey focused on initiatives within the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) States, but also identified certain promising options from other states. The purpose of the survey was to provide information in a consistent format on each of the programs, and to identify which programs or program aspects were worthy of additional study as OTC continued its clean energy initiative. The survey was submitted to OTC in January 2002. The second phase was a more in-depth review and technical analysis of specific policies or issues pertaining to clean power and energy efficiency. Project completed in July 2002.
Predicting Avoided Emissions from Policies that Encourage Energy Efficiency and Clean Power
Survey of Clean Power and Energy Efficiency Programs
Synapse developed a quantitative tool to estimate emission reductions from a wide variety of energy policies in the Northeast. The tool was designed to assess three types of energy policies: policies that encourage energy efficiency and new clean generation, emissions portfolio standards, and multi-pollutant regulations targeting groups of existing power plants. Synapse used the PROSYM/PROMOD dispatch model to perform detailed marginal emissions analyses of the New England, New York, and PJM power control areas. The quantitative results of these analyses were embedded in a Microsoft Excel workbook designed to allow users to estimate emission reductions from different energy programs. Users of the workbook have the option to use the data on marginal emission rates developed by Synapse or to use other input data. Changes can easily be made in the workbook to represent different policy design decisions and assess the results of these decisions. The "OTC Emission Reduction Workbook" is available on both the OTC and Synapse websites. Project completed in December 2002.
Synapse worked with Brower and Company and Tellus Institute to develop a plan for the aggressive implementation of energy efficiency and renewables resources in six southeastern states. The analysis included electricity market simulation modeling, a technical assessment of cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities, a technical and economic assessment of renewable resource potential, and development of policies for overcoming market barriers to these clean resources.
Synapse assisted with the development of a green power aggregation program in the metropolitan Boston area, as a part of an effort funded by the Massachusetts Renewable Trust Fund. Synapse primarily focused on whether and how towns and cities might purchase green power through municipal aggregation. Project completed in June 2002.
Synapse assisted MassEnergy in its response to a Request for Information from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative concerning distributed generation. The Renewable Trust, part of the MTC, issued a Request for Information which asked what role DG might play in alleviating transmission congestion in Massachusetts. MassEnergy submitted detailed comments in response to the RFI. Following this work, Synapse worked with Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, the Conservation Law Foundation, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and others to draft initial and reply comments in default service and distributed generation proceedings at the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy. Synapse staff were the primary drafters of the comments and also played a significant role in coordinating the responses and positions of the group. Project completed in August 2002.
Synapse conducted an economic analysis of Citizens Utilities Company’s power purchase from Hydro Quebec, and made recommendations about the rate treatment appropriate for above market power costs. Project completed in May 2002.
Synapse reviewed the terms of a proposed settlement agreement in a rate case of Northern Indiana Public Service Company. The analysis addressed NiSource’s financial condition, service quality, environmental commitment, and electric rate impacts. The results were presented in testimony before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Project completed in August 2002.
Synapse evaluated locational market prices projected for electricity markets in the upper Midwest in order to evaluate the costs of a Renewable Portfolio Standard proposed for the State of Wisconsin. Project completed in December 2002.
At the request of Conservation Services Group (CSG), Synapse performed an independent audit of CSG’s ReGen product, for the time frame of January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2001. The purpose of this audit was to verify that CSG purchased a sufficient amount of energy from the designated renewable sources to meet its obligations to its ReGen customers. In addition, Synapse was asked to verify the claimed air emissions benefits of the generation from the designated renewable resources and to evaluate the potential impact of recent Massachusetts’ regulations establishing a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for retail electric suppliers. Project completed August 2002
Synapse conducted an economic comparison of transmitting wind energy in the Dakotas to load centers via a hydrogen pipeline versus high voltage direct current (HVDC) power lines. A key aspect of this study was the valuation of the energy storage capacity offered by the hydrogen pipeline capacity which would allow a larger portion of electricity to be sold during high-priced periods than would power lines. The analysis consolidated available cost information on hydrogen pipeline and HVDC technology and modeled annual energy sales to determine which energy transmission options would generate net revenue. Project completed in January 2002.
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