Existing power plants often are subject to less stringent pollution standards than new plants under the Clean Air Act, providing a loophole for companies that own existing power plants. In “Electricity Market Distortions Associated with Inconsistent Air Quality Regulations,” an article published in The Electricity Journal, Synapse’s Tim Woolf and Bruce Biewald discuss how the loophole can create distortions in electricity markets, hinder the development of a competitive industry, and postpone some key benefits of the Clean Air Act.Access the article here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040619000000956.
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Synapse assisted the Department in reviewing the economics of the Hydro-Quebec purchase by Green Mountain Power Company. Synapse investigated whether the purchase represented excess capacity, and subsequently made recommendations about how any such excess costs should be shared between ratepayers and stockholders. Project completed in December 2000.
On behalf of the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, David Schlissel provided testimony before the Department of Public Utility Control regarding the potential impact of the proposed merger between Northeast Utilities and Consolidated Edison, Inc. Project completed in 2000.
Synapse analyzed nuclear power plant decommissioning funding issues in the context of the proposed merger between PECO and Unicom. Bruce Biewald filed direct testimony before the Illinois Commerce Commission in Docket NO. 00-0361 on July 31, 2000.
Testimony of David Schlissel Regarding the Decommissioning Funding for Commonwealth Edison Company Nuclear Power Plants
Synapse participated in the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s Generic Docket to Consider Competition in the Provision of Retail Electric Service. First, Synapse reviewed and critiqued the filings of Entergy and the Southern Company with regard to standard offer pricing and performance-based ratemaking for transmission and distribution services. Synapse then prepared an assessment of the market power issues likely to arise in a restructured electricity industry in Mississippi, including a critique of the market power studies of Entergy and Southern Company. Additionally, Synapse and Resource Insight prepared an assessment of the stranded cost filings of Entergy and Southern Company. The results, including a discussion of divestiture of generation assets and the responsibility for stranded costs and gains, were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald before the Mississippi Public Service Commission in Docket No. 96-UA-389. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse prepared testimony on ratemaking and rate design policies to promote (or at least not hinder) the appropriate installation of clean, on-site distributed generation as an alternative to other customer supply options and distribution system upgrades. Project completed in June 2000.
This Synapse report assessed the cost and performance of selective catalytic reduction technologies for controlling NOX emissions. The report described the experience of SCR use in the US, Canada and internationally. Report dated February 2000.
Tim Woolf presented “Challenges Faced by Clean Generation Resources under Electricity Restructuring” at the Symposium on the Changing Electric System in Florida and What it Means for the Environment on November 9, 1999.
Synapse advised NESCAUM in the development of model regulations to implement uniform environmental performance standards for electricity suppliers in New England. The project addressed technical issues related to the tracking of information in the New England Power Pool, as well as the appropriate definition of environmental performance standards. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse conducted an economic valuation of the Allen S. King, Black Dog, High Bridge, and Riverside coal generators in order to assess public options for replacement with more efficient, less polluting sources of electric generation. Project completed in March 1999.
This Synapse report assessed the ways SO2 allowances, NOX allowances, and New Source Review offset requirements can provide incumbent electric companies with unfair advantages in a competitive electricity market. The report further evaluated how these requirements affected the electricity market at the time of the power plant divestiture, mergers of electric companies, or the construction of new power plants. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse, with Resource Insight, Inc., simulated the New England electricity market in order to project the cost of electricity generation in future years. The results evaluated demand-side management investments for all of the Massachusetts companies on a consistent basis. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse conducted an economic analysis of the cost of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions at coal-fired power plants in Ontario. Project completed in June 1999.
Synapse designed the first draft of the energy efficiency programs that were provided by the Cape Light Compact, the municipal aggregator on Cape Cod. Synapse represented the Compact in the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy’s generic investigation of the cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency programs, in Docket 98-100. Synapse also represented the Compact in the Division of Energy Resources’ process for developing policy guidelines for Massachusetts energy efficiency programs. Project completed in 1999.
The Massachusetts restructuring law enabled municipal aggregators to implement energy efficiency programs with funds raised through a system benefits charge. Synapse assisted the town of Bedford in reviewing various energy efficiency options that could be provided through municipal aggregation. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse drafted comments in response to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's May 14, 1999 "Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment for the Regional Transmission Organizations Rulemaking." The comments addressed the potential for broadening competition to have negative environmental consequences and the opportunities for RTOs to reduce barriers to market entry for renewable generators and to improve environmental quality. The comments were submitted by the Project for Sustainable FERC Energy Policy, on behalf of seventeen environmental organizations. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse, as part of a team of consultants, prepared independent estimates of the stranded costs of the four electric utilities in Maryland: Delmarva Power and Light, Potomac Electric Company, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, and Potomac Edison Company. Synapse ran the ELFIN electric generation dispatch model to forecast market prices for electricity in the PJM and ECAR regions. The results were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald before the Maryland Public Service Commission. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse worked with Von Hippel Associates to develop an integrated resource plan for Hawaii Gas Company. Synapse took the lead role in developing forecasts for natural gas demand and estimating the environmental externalities associated with resource options. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse studied the implications of electric industry deregulation, including 1) the prospects for early nuclear power plant closure, 2) the potential unfunded liability for decommissioning, and 3) the potential unfunded liability for spent nuclear fuel transportation and storage. Project completed in 1999.
Bruce Biewald presented “Market Power Analysis: Five Case Studies in Electricity” at the IBC Conference on Market Power in Washington, D.C. on May 24, 1999. The five case studies discussed were: New England, New York City, the APS-DQE merger, Mississippi (Entergy and Southern Company), and the AEP-CSW merger.
Synapse reviewed the projections of New England electricity market prices used for the utilities' stranded cost estimates. This review included the models and the input assumptions underlying the utilities' claims. The results were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald, dealing with market power and market prices. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse, with assistance from MacGregor Energy Consultancy, prepared a study of the following consumer protection measures: divestiture of generation, codes of conduct, licensing standards, reliability of distribution services, consumer education, and disclosure of information. The report was presented in the testimony of Tim Woolf before the West Virginia Public Service Commission, Case No. 98-0452-E-GI. Project completed in 1999.
Measures to Ensure Fair Competition and Protect Consumers in a Restructured Electricity Industry in West Virginia
Synapse prepared a critique of the PBR mechanisms proposed by two main Kentucky utilities. Synapse participated in technical workshops covering the PBR proposals, advised the AG on the consumer impacts of the proposals, and developed alternative proposals in order to best meet the interests of electricity customers. Project completed in March 1999.
Synapse prepared a review of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s request to earn shareholder incentives for 1998 energy efficiency programs. Synapse provided an overview of the principles that should be used in designing performance awards, a critique of the design of PG&E’s market transformation goals and benchmarks, and an assessment of the amount of awards requested for 1998 performance. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse, with Resource Insight, Peter Bradford, and Neil Talbot, reviewed the proposed merger of PacifiCorp with Scottish Power. The project included the examination of the appropriate standard for approval of the merger as well as assessment of the financial impacts, affiliate transactions, performance benchmarks, and customer service. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse conducted an analysis of the market power implications of the proposed merger, the air emissions of the combined companies, and the barriers to entry faced by potential market entrants. The results were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald in FERC Docket Nos. EC98-40-00, et al. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse and Resource Insight assessed the stranded costs of American Electric Power and Allegheny Power. The results, including a discussion of divestiture of generation assets and the responsibility for stranded costs and gains, were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald before the West Virginia Public Service Commission in Case No. 98-0452-E-GI. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse and Resource Insight reviewed the proposals for stranded costs, market prices, standard offer services, and asset divestiture from Connecticut Light and Power Company and United Illuminating Company. The results were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald in Dockets 99-03-35 and 99-03-36. Testimony filed in July 1999.
Synapse prepared an analysis of nuclear power plant issues in the context of electricity industry restructuring. The analysis included three integrated parts: (a) the prospects of premature nuclear power plant closure, (b) the potential unfunded liability for nuclear plant decommissioning, and (c) the potential unfunded liability for spent nuclear fuel transportation and storage. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse worked with MJBradley and Associates for STAPPA and ALAPCO - the two national associations of air pollution control officials in the 55 states and territories and over 165 major metropolitan areas - to develop a comprehensive document on greenhouse gas mitigation options. Synapse analyzed the cost and emissions reductions from technology options available in the electric generating sector, including combined heat and power production, combined-cycle generation, co-firing and atmospheric fluidized bed combustion, integrated gasification combined cycle, fuel cells, carbon dispatch, and renewables. Project completed in 1999.