Assisted the valuation consultant retained by the Town of Jay by analyzing the expectations regarding the gas-fired cogeneration facility project's long-term annual revenues and operating costs for two set points in time.
Synapse provided the Ohio Office of the Consumer Counsel and other consumer advocates with assistance in evaluating PJM's proposed Reliability Pricing Model (RPM) for capacity markets. Synapse reviewed, proposed modifications, and intervened in a contested process at FERC to determine the final design of the RPM capacity market. Our efforts helped secure modifications to the model that will save state ratepayers in PJM hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In addition, Synapse assisted the Office with transmission planning for economic and reliability upgrades (including cost allocation).
Synapse provided the Office of the People's Counsel with assistance in evaluating PJM's proposed Reliability Pricing Model (RPM) for capacity markets. On behalf of DC OPC and other consumer advocates in the PJM wholesale power system, Synapse reviewed, proposed modifications, and intervened in a contested process at FERC to determine the final design of the RPM capacity market. Synapse provided assistance to DC OPC in all phases of the review, comments, technical conferences, and settlement processes, and our efforts helped secure modifications to the model that will save state ratepayers in PJM hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In addition, Synapse assisted the Office with transmission planning for economic and reliability upgrades (including cost allocation).
Synapse was retained to analyze and critique NSPI's application for an air emissions strategy to meet Provincial emission compliance regulations. Our focus was upon the alternatives and methodology used by NSPI to determine its preferred option for SO2 and NOX reduction. We reviewed the Company's STRATEGIST model runs.
Supplemental Evidence Regarding the Review of NSPI Emissions Compliance Plan
After a Technical Conference in February 2006 on PJM capacity market and reliability issues, FERC provided a comment period for parties to make supplemental statements. Synapse assisted a broad coalition of PJM Members (Coalition of Consumers for Reliability, CCR) in developing Comments. Synapse also provided an affidavit from Ezra Hausman that described concerns with PJM's process for establishing the "cost of new entry" (CONE) for a typical peaking unit. This specific project is part of a larger on-going effort that assists the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate with PJM wholesale market and bulk power transmission system issues. These Comments were filed in FERC Dockets ER05-1410-000 and EL05-148-000. Project completed in June 2006.
RPM 2006: Windfall Profits for Existing Base Load Units in PJM
Affidavit of Ezra Hausman for FERC Technical Conference on RPM
Post-Technical Conference Comments on FERC Technical Conference on RPM
Pre-Conference Comments on FERC Technical Conference on Proposed Variable Resource Requirement (VRR) Curve in PJM
Post-Technical Comments on FERC Technical Conference on Proposed Variable Resource Requirement (VRR) Curve in PJM
Synapse was asked by the United States EPA to develop content for the EPA's Clean Energy Website on the calculation and evaluation of displaced pollutant emissions resulting from energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. The website content includes a description of several approaches that could be used to calculate displaced emissions, as well as descriptions of their applicability, resource requirements, and precision. The product is to be available as a "decision support" tool for anyone involved in energy efficiency or renewable energy projects to help them assess the emissions benefits of their efforts. Project completed in April 2006.
Synapse was asked to provide prefiled testimony in a 248 proceeding (Certificate of Public Need) on behalf of a private sector wind developer, outlining the economic and environmental benefits of a proposed wind farm in Deerfield, Vermont. Synapse evaluated the need for new energy resources in Vermont, the demand for renewable energy to fulfill state Renewable Portfolio Standards in the region, and the economic benefits of clean energy and displaced emissions. In addition, Synapse projected project costs and revenues to demonstrate the economic viability of the proposal. Project completed in March 2006.
Synapse was asked to provide prefiled testimony in a 248 proceeding (Certificate of Public Need) on behalf of Catamount Energy, Inc., outlining the economic and environmental benefits of a proposed wind farm in Glebe Mountain, Vermont. Synapse evaluated the need for new energy resources in Vermont, the demand for renewable energy to fulfill state Renewable Portfolio Standards in the region, and the economic benefits of clean energy and displaced emissions. In addition, Synapse evaluated how the proposed project conformed to the Vermont Electric Plan. Project completed in April 2006.
Synapse assisted the Tallahassee electric company in preparing an integrated resource plan. We played an advisory role to the electric company planners in four ways:
- reviewing the potential for demand-side management,
- assisting in developing strategies to assess large amounts of energy efficiency and renewable resources,
- developing methods to account for environmental factors, including CO2 emissions, and
- developing methods for evaluating and selecting among different electricity resource options.
Project completed in September 2006.
Synapse worked with Resource Insight to analyze the market power implications of a proposed merger. Synapse ran the CASM model to estimate the Herfindahl-Hirschman Indexes for various scenarios with and without the merger. Project completed in March 2006.
As a result of the settlement agreement approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that allowed ISO-New England to develop and administer a Forward Capacity Market for New England, a potential new revenue stream for utility DSM programs was created. This created many new decisions for regulators regarding how programs should participate in the market and how the resulting revenues should be used. Synapse prepared a paper providing background and setting forth some of the options for regulators and program administrators.
Synapse was hired by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) to conduct an analysis and write a report on electricity portfolio management. Specifically, the paper critiques available models used for portfolio management and resource acquisition and provides advice for regulators on how to choose and utilize such models in making regulatory decisions. Measures for evaluating risks and hedging strategies are discussed, with an emphasis on the perspective of customers and regulators. Project completed in September 2006.
Portfolio Management: Tools and Practices for Regulators
Energy Portfolio Management: Tools and Resources for Regulators
Synapse investigated the market power effects of the proposed merger between Exelon Corporation and Public Service Enterprise Group. Synapse’s analysis included running CRAI’s CASM model, re-running delivered price test analysis by petitioners’ witness Frame, and modeling of market power impacts using ELMO. The results of Synapse's analyses were presented in affidavits to FERC and testimony before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The companies terminated the proposed merger on September 16, 2006. Project completed in October 2006.
Examination of Proposed Merger of Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) and Exelon Corporation - Supplemental Testimony
Analysis of Market Power in the Exelon Corporation & Public Service Enterprise Group Merger
Direct Testimony In the Matter of the Joint Petition of PSEG and Exelon
Synapse examined the impact of a proposed state-specific Mercury emissions rule upon wholesale electricity market prices, competition, and retail electricity consumers in Illinois. In our testimony, we demonstrated how IPM model results obtained by ICF Corporation did a poor job of resolving state-specific economic and dispatch impacts of the proposed rule. To rectify this, we developed our own estimates of the likely direct and indirect economic implications of the rule for the state and the surrounding region. Synapse's research and analyses showed that the benefits of implementing this rule significantly outweighed the costs. As a result, a slightly modified version of the rule was accepted upon settlement by all affected utilities and the state. Project completed in September 2006.
Pursuant to a Vermont Public Service Board Order in Docket No. 7801, a mediated negotiation process was established to review the process by which VT electric utilities conduct transmission system planning with a particular focus on the evaluation of non-transmission alternatives (NTAs) that could include energy efficiency, demand response, or distributed generation resources. Synapse assisted CLF, a party to Docket 7801, in the mediated negotiation process. Synapse also provided direct and rebuttal testimony that urged the VT PSB to reject the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) submitted by the majority of the utility parties and the Department of Public Service. The VT PSB issued a decision on June 20, 2007. In the Order, the VT PSB largely accepted the provisions of the MOU and, after a lengthy discussion, rejected CLF’s positions. Project completed in December 2006.
Rebuttal Testimony Regarding the Review of Vermont Transmission Planning Process
Synapse prepared expert testimony regarding the avoided costs of wind generation in South Dakota. The project included the review and critique of avoided costs proposed by Montana-Dakota Utilities Company, as well as the review and critique of alternative avoided cost assumptions proposed by the wind developer. The testimony covered many aspects of avoided costs, including production cost modeling of energy costs, determination of the appropriate capacity value for wind generation, costs associated with integrating wind into an electricity system, and accounting for the costs of future climate change regulations. Direct testimony was submitted to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission on February 18, 2005.
Synapse provided an economic valuation of the Bellows Falls hydroelectric facility as of April 2004 for the Town of Rockingham, VT. Project completed in March 2005.
Synapse investigated whether the proposed sale of the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant was in the interest of the ratepayers. Among the issues addressed in Synapse’s testimony were the plant’s likely costs and operating performance; whether the plant could and should be relicensed; the risks of selling the plant and building a new coal plant in its place; likely future market prices; and whether the proposed sale was structured to benefit shareholders or ratepayers. Project completed in November 2005.
Surrebuttal Testimony of Ezra Hausman Regarding the Retirement of Duane Arnold Energy Center
Direct Testimony of David Schlissel Regarding the Retirement of Duane Arnold Energy Center
Surrebuttal Testimony of David Schlissel Regarding the Retirement of Duane Arnold Energy Center
Synapse assisted a coalition of intervening parties in a utility environmental compliance settlement involving a multi-unit coal and oil generation station in Salem, MA. Synapse provided an analysis of the impact of future transmission upgrades on the reliability need for coal and oil units that were out of compliance with Massachusetts environmental regulations for air emissions. The interveners were considering possible settlement strategies to allow for the continued operation of the non-compliant units contingent on the addition of specific short-term remedial actions to reduce emissions. Project completed in September 2005.
Synapse and Tellus Institute developed a plan for the aggressive implementation of energy efficiency and renewable resources in seven Interior West states. The analysis included PROSYM electricity market simulation modeling, a technical assessment of cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities, a technical and economic assessment of renewable resource potential, and the development of policies for overcoming market barriers to these clean resources. The study also assessed the role of renewable and distributed generation resources in addressing transmission constraints.
Synapse developed and analyzed scenarios for the electric power system in the United States, comparing “business as usual” with a clean energy development path. Project completed in May 2004.
Synapse was hired by NESCAUM to help review the modeling performed for the Connecticut Climate Change Stakeholder Dialogue in 2003. This modeling work assessed the impacts of a number of different policies focused on reducing carbon emissions. NESCAUM and Synapse developed summaries of this modeling work for use in discussions with Connecticut lawmakers and regulators. Project completed in December 2004.
Synapse investigated the sources of air pollution in Queens County, assessed their local impact on air quality, and recommended remedies for the sources causing the greatest threat to public health. The study included evaluations of energy efficiency resources, unit repowering, emissions control technologies, and other options for improving air quality. The PROSYM model was used to develop a cohesive clean air plan for the county. Project completed in May 2003.
Air Quality In Queens County: Opportunities for Cleaning Up the Air in Queens County and Neighboring Regions
Synapse developed a clean electricity plan for the Hudson River Valley. While the plan explored options for reducing electricity use and adding new renewable generation throughout the Valley, it focused on reducing the environmental impacts of four, older power plants on the lower Hudson River: Bowline, Lovett, Danskammer and Roseton. As part of the work, Synapse modeled the future operation of these plants in a "business-as-usual" scenario, prioritized action in terms of the plants' environmental impacts and assessed a variety of options for reducing the water and air impacts from the plants.
Synapse reviewed the recent electricity consumption and billing history of all the Audubon facilities located in Massachusetts. Synapse compared the default and standard offer prices available from the local electric company with competitive electric power options, and advised Audubon how to purchase their electricity. Project completed in October 2003.
At the request of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, the Maine Office of the Public Advocate, and the New Hampshire Office of Consumer Advocate, Synapse analyzed the impact that the FERC’s incentive pricing policy would have on New England transmission costs. The report details the results of that analysis based on estimates of the value of New England’s transmission facilities, as well as the value of facilities proposed for construction over the next several years.
Synapse performed a comprehensive assessment of the emissions impacts of demand response programs in New England. As ISO New England continues to refine its nascent electricity markets, there is widespread interest in facilitating demand response (DR) -- the ability for customers to respond to high prices by reducing electricity use or producing their own electricity onsite. There is also widespread interest in the net air emissions impacts of DR.
Synapse assessed the net emissions impacts of selected DR programs using the PROSYM/PROMOD dispatch model. The programs assessed included the economic DR program proposed by ISO New England for the summer of 2003, an economic DR program proposed by the New England Demand Response Initiative (NEDRI) for the summer of 2004, and several scenarios that explored key variables and uncertainties in these programs. In addition, Synapse modeled several energy efficiency programs in order to compare the emissions impacts of these programs to the DR programs. For all programs assessed, Synapse explored both the emissions impacts of DR operation and the impacts of new DR capacity on ISO unit commitment. Project completed in May 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 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 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.