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.
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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.
Tim Woolf presented “The Cape Light Compact Energy Efficiency Plan: Overview and Current Status” to the Massachusetts Electric Restructuring Roundtable on June 30, 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 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 analyzed nuclear decommissioning costs for Commonwealth Edison's Zion nuclear power station and developed recommendations for the regulatory framework for recovering decommissioning costs from customers. The results were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald in Illinois Commerce Commission Docket No. 99-0115. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse provided testimony before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities regarding the appropriate use of the New Jersey system benefits charge, on behalf of the New Jersey Public Interest Interveners. The testimony identified the potential energy savings and the likely air emissions benefits of energy efficiency programs, assessed the cost-effectiveness of the programs, and recommended the amount of the system benefits charge that should be allocated to energy efficiency programs. Project completed in 1998.
Synapse conducted a statistical analysis of coal power plant capacity factors and their correlation to plant age. Project completed in September 1998.
Synapse drafted comments on the Energy Information Administration’s notice regarding the continued availability of electric industry data. Synapse also provided technical support in an on-going effort to negotiate multi-party recommendations to EIA on data collection and confidentiality. Project completed in August 1998.
Synapse worked with Exponent Failure Analysis to analyze the potential for market power problems if retail competition was established in Aroostook county, northern Maine. This region faced unique market power concerns due to the fact that it was not interconnected with NEPOOL and has a very limited number of potential generation companies. The study assessed a number of regulatory, institutional, and technical options for mitigating market power concerns. Report dated November 1998.
Synapse addressed the advantages of delivering energy efficiency programs through municipal aggregators, as well as the appropriate amount of funding for such efforts. The results were provided in the testimony of Tim Woolf before the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy in Docket No. 97-111. Testimony filed in January 1998.
Synapse provided direct testimonies before the Vermont Public Service Board regarding the economics of the Hydro-Québec purchase by Central Vermont Public Service Company and Green Mountain Power Company (GMP). Synapse’s analysis found that the purchase represented excess capacity in both cases and recommended that these excess costs be shared between ratepayers and stockholders. In the GMP case, the Board found in favor of Synapse’s used-and-useful recommendation, and required a sharing of the above-market costs of the purchase. Testimonies filed in February 1998 and September 1998.
Synapse analyzed the economic distortions to electricity markets by grandfathering older power plants under the Clean Air Act. The study estimated that grandfathering allowed existing coal plants to avoid paying roughly $9 billion per year in control costs that are now required of new plants. Requiring all US coal plants to meet environmental standards comparable to those that apply to new power plants would reduce SO2 and NOx emissions by roughly 75 percent, but would not result in the retirement of many existing coal units. The study also analyzed policies to make air emissions regulations comparable for new and existing plants. Report dated June 1998.
Synapse Energy Economics evaluated the market power implications of the proposed merger of Allegheny Power System and Duquesne Light Company. The results were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Docket No. EC97-46-000. Testimony filed in June 1998.
Synapse conducted a study requested by the Legislature to "examine how a competitive electric industry may be structured or regulated to protect electric power trade and commerce from unlawful restraints, price discrimination, price fixing, oligopolization, and monopolization." Synapse reviewed several analyses of market power in New England, including Hartman and Tabors for the Massachusetts Attorney General, Hieronymus for NEPOOL, and Pace for Massachusetts Electric. Synapse also conducted independent modeling analysis of market power in New England under various assumptions about market structure and mitigation. Report dated December 1998.
Synapse worked in conjunction with Environmental Futures and Tellus Institute to establish a system for tracking the electricity transactions that occurred in the restructured New England wholesale electricity market. The tracking system may be an essential tool in supporting such regulatory policies as fuel mix and emissions disclosure, generation performance standards, and renewable portfolio standards. Project completed in October 1998.
New England Tracking System Project
Synapse prepared an analysis of the costs associated with nuclear power plant decommissioning options and recommended that guidelines be established regarding the use of money raised for nuclear power plant decommissioning trust funds. The results were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald before the California Public Utilities Commission in Docket No. 97-12-020. Rebuttal testimony filed in August 1998.
Hydro-Québec proposed a performance-based ratemaking system for setting its generation rates. Peter Bradford provided direct testimony critiquing this proposal on behalf of this group of regional environmental counsels in Québec. Synapse supported Peter Bradford’s testimony, focusing on how PBR can be designed to provide regulated utilities with financial incentives to implement energy efficiency programs. Project completed in June 1998.
Synapse worked with the Global Development and Environment Institute to study the implications of ozone and NOx that is transported into the Northeast region from Midwest states. This study compared the costs of controlling NOx from the electricity sectors in both regions and estimated the additional costs that were expected to be incurred in the Northeast to offset the NOx transported from the Midwest. Project completed in 1998.