Electric System Planning & Wholesale Markets

Good system planning requires big picture thinking informed by a deep understanding of the many interconnected details that make up electric systems and markets. To help plan ahead for a reliable and affordable system, Synapse analyzes the economic and technological interactions that drive system costs.

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We bring strategic thinking and expert analysis to energy planning processes. This includes assessing existing and proposed generation resources and wholesale market interactions in the context of the physical constraints of electric grids. We analyze legacy fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, renewable resources, and technologies such as energy storage and grid modernization components to help find the best path forward for electric system customers.

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Resource Planning

Due to plummeting costs for various energy resources and widespread commitments to reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants, traditional planning processes based on inflexible, baseload power plants are winding down. We apply resource planning best practices and up-to-date industry data to assess and develop portfolios that need to meet system requirements for reliability, resilience, equity, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

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Avoided Costs & Value of DERs

To create an even playing field for alterative energy resources in system and program planning, it's critical to value them correctly. Synapse quantifies the avoided costs energy system costs attributable to distributed energy resources such as solar, energy efficiency, storage, and demand response. Our analysis includes evaluation beyond just energy and capacity costs; we assess locational and temporal impacts of these resources, as well as benefits such as resilience and public health.

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Renewable & Legacy Power Plants

The economics of both renewable resources and legacy power generation are changing fast, as is the need for flexibility in the electric system. We assess the economics and operating profiles of coal, gas, oil, nuclear, hydro, solar, and wind power generation resources to inform decision-making.

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Synapse evaluates proposals for transmission infrastructure investments to determine if they are necessary and if they can or should be deferred by non-wires alternatives. We also provide technical support on related regulatory treatment and cost allocation.

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Distribution system planning has become much more complicated than it used to be due to customer-sited solar and storage, building and vehicle electrification, and other changes to the way customers use these aging systems. Synapse supports these processes by analyzing data integration, interconnection and hosting capacity issues, locational value of distributed resources, and grid modernization topics.

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Grid Modernization

Grid modernization has emerged as both a pressing need and an area of regulatory uncertainty. Our experts are helping to develop best practices for the treatment of and planning for grid modernization needs. We apply these best practices to utility proposals for grid modernization portfolios and technologies to ensure ratepayer money is well spent.

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Wholesale Markets

Designed originally based on legacy power plants, wholesale markets have been shifting to accommodate alternative energy resources and a broader range of stakeholders. Our experts delve into market designs, operations, and planning processes to support our clients' goals for cost-effective and equitable outcomes. We apply this knowledge to broader system planning and to assessment of market power and merger impacts.