Patrick Knight

Senior Principal


MA Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy, Tufts University

BS Geophysics, Boston College

Patrick Knight

Patrick Knight performs consulting, conducts research, and assists in writing testimony and reports for Synapse. Much of his work focuses on analysis and modeling of the New England electric system in light of new and existing laws and regulations, including carbon policies, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and strategic electrification. Mr. Knight also specializes in the analysis of U.S. coal unit economics and resources to displace coal units’ capacity, generation, and emissions. Mr. Knight’s recent work has included developing free, open-source tools for assisting policymakers’ analysis of the national electric system.

Mr. Knight’s recent work at Synapse includes analyzing the dispatch, economic, and emissions impacts of expanding state renewable portfolio standards in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine. He has also performed analyses of strategic electrification initiatives on behalf of state agencies, advocates, and utilities in California, New England, Pennsylvania, and New York. In particular, Mr. Knight led a project team of dozens of analysts across five organizations to assess avoided costs of demand-side resources in the 2018 Avoided Energy Supply Cost (AESC) study. Mr. Knight worked with a team of stakeholders which included representatives from each of the energy efficiency program administrators in all six New England states to explore the avoided costs, including energy, capacity, renewable compliance, and GHGs, using hourly production cost modeling. In the past, Mr. Knight analyzed the implications of expanding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by modeling least-cost strategies for reducing emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The study provided key information on cross-sector interactions between energy end-uses going into the future. He has also recently led an analysis examining the need for, and the cost of, the Access Northeast (ANE) natural gas pipeline—with a particular focus on how state clean energy policies would impact natural gas demand going forward.

Mr. Knight also led development of the Electric Vehicle Regional Emissions and Demand Impacts (EV-REDI) model, a stock-flow model that analyzes the multiple impacts of transportation electrification for specific states, as well as leading the development of the Multi-Sector Emissions Model (M-SEM), a spreadsheet-based tool used for evaluating historical and future energy use. Mr. Knight has been the author of numerous reports focused on the New England electricity system, including analyses that examine the avoided cost of energy efficiency, the emissions and economic impacts of increased renewable portfolio standard policies, and the cost impacts of expanding natural gas pipeline infrastructure. He led the construction of an energy efficiency costing tool for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to support the EPA’s development of the draft Clean Power Plan rule for limiting CO2 emissions from existing power plants. He also built Synapse’s Coal Asset Valuation Tool (CAVT), a spreadsheet-based database and model that forecasts the costs for individual coal units to comply with environmental regulations and compares these forecasts to electricity market prices. CAVT is used in several Synapse analyses to identify and investigate coal units at risk for retirement, including two studies led by Mr. Knight for the Energy Foundation: Displacing Coal: An Analysis of Natural Gas Potential in the 2012 Electric System Dispatch (August 2013), and Forecasting Coal Unit Competitiveness: Coal Retirement Assessment Using Synapse’s Coal Asset Valuation Tool (October 2013).

Prior to joining Synapse in 2010, Mr. Knight worked for New Ecology, Inc., where he helped develop a utility tracking and management software program. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Geophysics from Boston College and a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy from Tufts University.