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Client:
Natural Resources Defense Council
Year:
2020

On behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Synapse prepared a sweeping analysis and developed recommendations for New York to consider as the state begins a transition away from natural gas in order to meet its ambitious carbon reduction requirements. The report is being filed in the New York Public Service Commission's recently opened natural gas planning process docket.

This report is part of Synapse's continued support for New York State's "Reforming the Energy Vision" (or "REV") initiative. Find more of Synapse's work completed on behalf of NY REV here.

Related Publication(s)
Gas Regulation for a Decarbonized New York
Client:
Climate Majority Project
Year:
2020

Electricity generation from Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, and Southern Company utilities collectively represent 12.4 percent of U.S. power sector CO2 emissions – equivalent to 4.2 percent of total U.S. CO2 emissions. While all three utilities have announced plans to decarbonize their electricity generation by 2050 in order to meet climate targets, a deeper look into their generation portfolios and plans reveals that all three utilities are on track to fall short of their emissions reduction commitments.

On behalf of the Climate Majority Project, Synapse investigated the companies’ current plans for fleet decarbonization. We made the following recommendations to help ensure a path to reach climate targets by 2050: (1) develop science-based CO2 trajectories upon which all future plans and actions should be rooted; (2) conduct robust retirement and replacement analysis to determine the least cost path to retire each company’s existing fossil fleet and replace it with alternative zero-carbon portfolios; (3) invest in renewables and demand-side resources to meet future resource needs; (4) invest in grid-modernization solutions in tandem with retirement of existing resources and development of renewables; and finally (5) evaluate and plan for changing system needs, including load growth driven by electrification instead of traditional steady demand.

Related Publication(s)
Investing In Failure: How Large Power Companies are Undermining their Decarbonization Targets
Client:
Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Year:
2020

On behalf of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Synapse estimated the number of new gas wells that would be drilled if the PennEast and Adelphia Gateway pipelines were to be built. Additionally, Synapse provided an estimate of the increased emissions associated with the drilling and completion of these new wells and calculated the climate impact associated with both the emissions and the increased utilization of gas.

Related Publication(s)
Impacts of the PennEast and Adelphia Gateway Pipelines on Gas Drilling in Pennsylvania
Client:
Labor Network for Sustainability
Year:
2020, 2019

Synapse worked on behalf of Labor Network for Sustainability to analyze the economic benefits of improving energy, water, and transportation infrastructure in Massachusetts through increased state, municipal, and public investment. First, we identified spending gaps between existing investment plans for these three sectors and the level of investment needed to bring the sectors to a state of good repair. We used infrastructure needs reports, gap analysis studies, and state policy goals to identify the spending gaps. Next, we calculated the employment impacts of improving this infrastructure through increased investment between 2020 and 2030. We used IMPLAN, an industry-standard job impact model, to convert annual spending levels into annual job creation. We produced a final report summarizing the results for all three sectors as well as a selected set of city-specific case studies.

Related Publication(s)
Investing in Public Infrastructure in Massachusetts: Impacts of Investment in Clean Energy, Water, and Transportation
Client:
California Public Advocates Office
Year:
2020

Synapse is providing technical and expert witness services to the California Public Advocates Office in connection with the Long Term Procurement Plan proceeding affecting the three largest investor-owned utilities in California: Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric, and San Diego Gas and Electric. As part of this project, Synapse conducted modeling of the California ISO (CAISO) area using PLEXOS to assess loads and emissions throughout California based on various California Public Utilities Commission scenarios. Synapse analyzed model inputs, assumptions, forecast projections, and outputs, and examined alternatives including renewable energy integration and retirement scenarios. Synapse’s modeling enabled determination of areas within California that would be capacity constrained.

Related Publication(s)
Testimony of Bob Fagan and Patrick Luckow in Order Instituting Rulemaking to Integrate and Refine Procurement Policies and Consider Long-Term Procurement Plans
Reply Testimony of Bob Fagan and Patrick Luckow in Order Instituting Rulemaking to Integrate and Refine Procurement Policies and Consider Long-Term Procurement Plans
Reply Testimony of Bob Fagan and Thomas Vitolo in Order Instituting Rulemaking to Integrate and Refine Procurement Policies and Consider Long-Term Procurement Plans
Client:
Natural Resources Defense Council
Year:
2020

On behalf of the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, Synapse provided technical support and expert witness testimony in California docket A19-11-019. Synapse conducted a bill impacts analysis for customers in three different climate zones who might electrify their home on Pacific Gas & Electric's proposed E-ELEC time-of-use rate. Dr. Erin Camp authored expert witness testimony, demonstrating that electrifying on the proposed E-ELEC rate is not likely to be economical for customers who live in multi-family buildings, especially those customers who are low-income. In her testimony, Dr. Camp advocated for a separate, additional electrification time-of-use rate for all low-income customers in PG&E's service territory to alleviate the barrier to electrifying for this vulnerable customer group. Her analysis led to a successful E-ELEC settlement rate.

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Alejandra Mejia Cunningham and Erin Camp, PhD on PG&E's Application to Revise its Electric Marginal Costs, Revenue Allocation and Rate Design
Client:
Maryland Office of People’s Counsel
Year:
2020

The Maryland Public Utilities Article (“PUA”) § 7-216 established the Maryland Energy Storage Pilot Program. The pilot program required each distribution utility to submit at least two energy storage project applications for Commission review. Synapse was retained by the Maryland Office of People's Counsel to assist with reviewing the applications and to provide technical analysis and recommendations. With Synapse’s assistance, OPC prepared extensive discovery requests for each of the four utilities, seeking information and data on their energy storage applications.

Synapse thoroughly reviewed each pilot energy storage project application. The review included an assessment of the proposed projects in three general areas. Synapse's Courtney Lane led the economic and ratemaking analysis of the projected costs, savings, and benefits of the proposed projects. Dr. Erin Camp led the assessment of environmental impacts and Dr. Steve Letendre addressed wholesale market issues. Synapse analysis raised concerns about wholesale market revenue risks, deferral value calculations, and emissions impact methods. Synapse expert witnesses participated in the Maryland Public Utilities Commission hearing held on July 13, 2020, to present to the Commission Synapse's analysis of the storage project applications.

Related Publication(s)
Counsel Comments and Synapse Report for Case No 9619
Client:
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
Year:
2020

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources retained Synapse and subcontractor DNV GL to produce a comprehensive assessment of mobile energy storage systems and their use in emergency relief operations. The study explored the landscape of available mobile energy storage systems, which are roughly divided into towable units and self-mobile systems in the forms of various electric vehicle (EV) platforms. Mobile energy storage systems may be uniquely capable of enhancing energy resilience in response to severe weather events and associated outage conditions. The study found that mobile energy storage systems can be self-mobile electric vehicles (light-duty vehicles, vans, or buses) or towable (towable or transportable via semi-trailer truck). This study provided a comprehensive assessment of mobile energy storage systems, their use in emergency relief operations, and their use on typical (non-outage) days. Specifically, this report addressed four fundamental questions: state-of-the-art, usage on typical days, opportunities and challenges to deploy in response to outages, and potential advantages over stationary battery energy storage systems.

The final report, Mobile Energy Storage Study: Emergency Response and Demand Reduction, is available on the Department of Energy Resources website.

Client:
E4TheFuture
Year:
2020

Synapse worked for the National Efficiency Screening Project (NESP) with E4TheFuture as coordinator to develop a National Standard Practice Manual for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Distributed Energy Resources (NSPM). The purpose of the NSPM is to improve the way that utility customer-funded distributed energy resources are evaluated for cost-effectiveness throughout the United States, and to inform decision-makers regarding which resources are in the public interest and what level of investment is appropriate. The NSPM provides a set of policy-neutral, unbiased, and economically sound principles, concepts, and methodologies to support benefit-cost analysis for distributed energy resources, including: energy efficiency, demand response, distributed generation, distributed storage, and building and transportation electrification. Synapse's primary role was as the lead technical consultant. The manual was developed with a Drafting Committee of five experts and incorporated input from a nation-wide Review Committee. The NSPM is available here.

Client:
E4TheFuture
Year:
2020

E4TheFuture retained Synapse to investigate whether New England is well-suited to handle the electrification transformation within the next decade. Electrification is a key strategy to reducing emissions and shifting away from fossil fuel reliance. Heat pumps and electric vehicles have gained traction as two technologies that will help that vision become a reality. Up until now, implementation has been fairly slow, but a combination of forward-looking policies and technology improvements may change that. Our question is – does increased electrification pose a threat to New England’s electric grid within the next decade? Synapse framed its' analysis in the context of ISO New England’s 2020 Capacity, Energy, Load, and Transmission forecast. Synapse found that policymakers can set an ambitious path to meet climate goals without significant disruption to the electric grid, by incorporating updated EV charging rates and controls. By continuing to offer efficiency programs, states can mitigate or even eliminate grid impacts due to electrification.

Related Publication(s)
A New Era of Load Growth? Preparing For the Rise of Heat Pumps and EVs in New England
Client:
Renewable Energy Vermont
Year:
2020

Using hourly, publicly available data, Synapse examined the impact of solar on energy benefits. From 2014-2019, behind-the-meter solar created $1.1 billion in energy benefits in the six New England states. These include savings resulting from purchasing less electricity, as well as savings due to lower overall electricity prices. We estimate that solar contributed to $87 million in public health benefits, and reduced CO2 emissions by 4.6 million metric tons, equivalent to taking one million cars off of the road.

Related Publication(s)
Solar Savings in New England
Client:
New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel
Year:
2020, 2019, 2018, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

Synapse provided expert advice on and analysis of energy efficiency programs offered by New Jersey's Clean Energy Program for the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel. We reviewed, analyzed, and commented on various energy efficiency-related matters, including the state-administered programs’ designs and budgets, avoided energy supply cost estimates, cost-benefit analyses, energy savings protocols updates, and fiscal year budget proposals. We also reviewed and commented on New Jersey Energy Master Plans, a three-year energy efficiency program plan called the Comprehensive Resource Analysis, and various proposals associated with the new energy efficiency program framework including program delivery structure, program design, performance incentives, and cost recovery.

Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2020

Of all U.S. states, Florida will feel the largest direct impacts from climate change. Given the City of Orlando’s vulnerability to climate impacts, Mayor Dyer and Orlando City Commissioners commitment to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 was a critical move. Yet Orlando’s electric utility, the Orlando Utilities Commission, still relies almost entirely on fossil fuels to supply the City’s electricity. The City is currently conducting an integrated resource planning exercise to determine the future of its electricity system; this study focuses strongly on fossil resources and includes an evaluation of whether to keep the Stanton Energy Center online, convert the units to gas, or retire the plant. In response to the utility’s IRP exercise, Synapse conducted a study on behalf of the First 50 Coalition to evaluate an alternative renewable and clean energy portfolio that can provide the City with the energy and capacity it needs at a lower cost and lesser environmental impact than the fossil heavy system that the City’s IRP will propose.

Related Publication(s)
Orlando's Renewable Energy Future: The Path to 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2050
Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2020

On behalf of the Sierra Club, Dr. Erin Camp authored comments to the Florida Public Service Commission. Her comments included a recommendation for developing an electric vehicle (EV) adoption projection for Florida, which has a direct impact on the build-out of charging stations across Florida. Her comments also include an estimate of the EV stock in Florida through 2030 and the number of necessary highway fast chargers to support expected EV adoptions in Florida.

Related Publication(s)
Comments Regarding EVs and Charging Infrastructure Needs in Florida
Client:
National Grid
Year:
2020

National Grid commissioned Synapse to develop a Microsoft Excel-based analytical model to assess the long-term rate and bill impacts of its Rhode Island energy efficiency natural gas programs. The model was designed to analyze annual and long-term rate and bill impacts from natural gas energy efficiency programs implemented over a course of three years. Synapse designed the model to analyze rate and bill impacts from natural gas energy efficiency programs in Rhode Island for four customer types: residential, income-eligible, small commercial, and large commercial and industrial (large C&I) and for each program contained within those categories. The model was designed for National Grid’s 2021–2023 Three-Year Energy Efficiency Program Plan and its 2021 Annual Program Plan, but it can be updated for subsequent prospective and retrospective analyses in assessing how the Plans meet the requirements for energy efficiency in Rhode Island.

Related Publication(s)
Rate and Bill Impact Analysis of Rhode Island Natural Gas Energy Efficiency Programs
Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2020

Synapse is providing expert testimony and analysis to support Sierra Club in Duke Energy Indiana’s Fuel Adjustment Cost (FAC) dockets for the period of September 2019 through May 2020.

Synapse is evaluating the unit commitment and dispatch practices for Duke’s four coal plants at Edwardsport, Cayuga, Gibson, and Gallagher as part of the Company’s regular Fuel Adjustment Cost Adjustment (FAC) dockets. We find that Duke has been uneconomically committing most of its units a majority of the time throughout this entire time period. These commitment and dispatch practices were further exacerbated by the Company’s implementation of a fuel price decrement in FAC 125 (March – May 2020) to address the Company’s coal oversupply.

We find that as a result of the Company’s uneconomic commitment and dispatch practices, Duke has accumulated net revenue losses (based on just variable and fuel costs) at most or all of its units during at least one (and in most cases all) of the FAC 123, FAC 124, and FAC 125 periods between September 2019 and May 2020. As a result of our work in FAC 123, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission agreed to open a subdocket to examine the issue of unit commitment more closely. Synapse has provided expert support and testimony in all three FAC periods as well as the subdocket.

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Devi Glick in Cause No. 38707-FAC123
Cause No. 38707-FAC123 Devi Glick Exhibits 1 through 5
Cause No. 38707-FAC123 Devi Glick Exhibits 6 and 7
Direct Testimony of Devi Glick in Cause No. 38707-FAC124
Cause No. 38707-FAC124 Devi Glick Exhibit 1
Cause No. 38707-FAC124 Devi Glick Exhibit 2
Cause No. 38707-FAC124 Devi Glick Exhibits 3 and 4
Direct Testimony of Devi Glick in Cause No. 38707-FAC125
Direct Testimony of Devi Glick in Cause No. 38707-FAC123 S1
Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2020

Synapse provided expert testimony and analysis to support the Sierra Club in reviewing Indiana Michigan Power Company (I&M)’s fuel cost reconciliation application for the 2019 calendar year in Michigan Public Service Commission Docket U-20224. Synapse testimony focused on evaluating the reasonableness of purchased power costs paid to (1) the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC) for power from the Clifty Creek and Kyger Creek plants; (2) American Electric Power Generation (AEG) for power from the share of Rockport owned by AEG. We also reviewed the operational practices of I&M at Rockport Units 1 & 2 and identified the avoidable losses incurred at the share of the plant owned by I&M during times when I&M's own data showed that operating the units would incur net losses, yet it operated them anyways.

We found that I&M purchases power from OVEC, an affiliate company, at above-market prices and passes the unnecessary costs on to ratepayers. I&M does the same with the power purchased from AEG. We also found that I&M regularly self-commits Rockport Units 1 and 2, and as a result of its unit commitment practices, incurred large net losses relative to the market that it passed on to ratepayers. We recommended that the Commission disallow in the present, and in all future reconciliation dockets, recovery of the excess fuel costs incurred at Rockport that were avoidable if I&M had followed the results of its own price-based unit-commitment process. We also recommended that the Commission disallow $2.6 million in excess costs that I&M paid for OVEC services (relative to the market value of the service). Further, we recommended that in all future reconciliation dockets, the Commission disallow recovery of all costs paid to OVEC above the market equivalent cost for those products and services as determined by the value of energy, ancillary services, and market prices for capacity as delivered at OVEC’s zone.

Related Publication(s)
Testimony of Devi Glick Regarding I&M's Power Supply Cost Recovery Plan
Client:
Apogee Climate and Energy Transitions
Year:
2020

Apogee Climate and Energy Transitions (Apogee) engaged Synapse to review the publicly available documents associated with the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency's (KYMEA) 2020 Integrated Resource Plan. Synapse provided Apogee with a memo detailing its concerns with KYMEA's IRP and providing short, medium, and long-term recommendations. Dr. Thomas Vitolo summarized these findings and recommendations in a public comment at a KYMEA Board meeting on September 24, 2020.

Dr. Vitolo advised the KYMEA Board against further investments in fossil-fuel power plants or long-term contracts. He explained that the KYMEA has no need to invest in new power supplies until 2027 at the earliest and is fortunate that a 100-Megawatt coal contract is expiring in 2022, freeing KYMEA of the plant’s costs and risks. Dr. Vitolo also noted that KYMEA had an immediate opportunity to reduce its commitment to a natural gas peaking power contract with Paducah Power Systems, from 90 Megawatts to 30 Megawatts. He advised the KYMEA to actively pursue re-negotiating each of their existing power contracts in light of the much lower prices available in MISO. Lastly, Dr. Vitolo observed that for the medium and long-term perspectives, in-state solar power contracts are likely to provide low-cost, low-risk, and reliable energy to their customers.

Related Publication(s)
Tommy Vitolo KYMEA Public Comments
Review of KYMEA's Integrated Resource Plan
Client:
Maryland Office of People’s Counsel
Year:
2020

Synapse assisted the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel (OPC) with a review of the Joint Utilities (Baltimore Gas and Electric, PEPCO, and DPL) petition to adopt an electric vehicle charging distribution demand charge credit rider.

Related Publication(s)
Review of the Analyses of Maryland’s Demand Charge Credit Program Expansion
Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2021, 2020

On behalf of the Sierra Club, Synapse is providing expert comments and analysis in the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s investigation into the Self Scheduling and Self-Commitment practices of the state’s Coal-fired power plants.

In 2020, Synapse evaluated the unit commitment and dispatch practices of two Minnesota Utility companies: Minnesota Power’s two Boswell units and Otter Tail Power’s Big Stone and Coyote units.

Based on data and information submitted as part of the Companies’ 2020 Annual Compliance Filings, we found that both Otter Tail Power and Minnesota Power uneconomically self-committed and often appeared to have uneconomically self-scheduled their coal units throughout the 2020 reporting periods. Both utilities incurred significant losses (relative to the market price of energy) based on their unit commitment and dispatch decision-making processes. Otter Tail Power’s losses resulting from its commitment and dispatch practices were driven in large part by two factors:

(1) the Company’s decision to enter into a long-term fuel contract for Coyote at the mine that serves the plant (co-located with the mine) that designates a significant portion of its fuel costs as fixed costs; and

(2) the joint ownership structure and dual market operation of both the Big Stone and Coyote plants.

In 2021, Synapse evaluated Otter Tail Power’s units, focusing on the long-term coal contract and joint ownership structure issues outlined above. We evaluated the contract buy-out cost for Otter Tail Power to exit the coal contract at Coyote, and whether ratepayers would be better served by exiting the contract or continuing to operate the unit at a loss. We also reviewed actions the Company has taken to enable economic commitment at Big Stone, its plans to do the same at Coyote, and the challenges posed to attempting to implement fully economic operations based on the joint market and joint ownership at both plants.

Related Publication(s)
Comments in Response to Otter Tail Power's 2021 Compliance Filing
Comments in Response to Otter Tail Power's 2020 Annual Compliance Filing
Surreply Comments in Response to Otter Tail Power's 2020 Annual Compliance Filing
Comments in Response to Minnesota Power's 2020 Annual Compliance Filing
Surreply Comments in Response to Minnesota Power's 2020 Annual Compliance Filing
Client:
Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources
Year:
2020

On behalf of the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER), Synapse conducted a geospatial analysis to determine an estimate of the likely solar potential available within a number of solar siting categories. Synapse examined and quantified solar potential for the following six siting categories:

-Rooftop solar (including rooftops of residential single family, residential multifamily, commercial, industrial, municipal, and other building types)

-Ground-mounted solar in the following four categories: (1) Landfills, (2) gravel pits, (3) brownfields, and (4) commercial and industrial developed and undeveloped lots

-Parking lot / carport solar

We used geospatial analysis to examine the following types of potentials for each category of solar:

-Total Potential, an estimate of the solar potential for the entire area under consideration, with no exceptions.

-Technical Potential, an estimate of the potential excluding areas not suitable for solar development. These challenges may reduce technical potential, relative to total potential.

For residential rooftop solar, we also analyzed:

-Economic Potential, an estimate of the solar potential that is likely to be installed, given the current cost of the technology, the current financial incentives available, and the household economics specific to a municipality. This potential category was analyzed for residential rooftop solar only.

In addition, for each category of solar, we compiled estimates of these MW potentials translated into gigawatt-hour (GWh) generation potential, solar costs (based on costs available as of late 2019 / early 2020), avoided greenhouse gas emissions, and possible impacts on distribution system hosting capacity.

On August 18th, 2020, Synapse staff presented the results of this analysis in an online webinar presentation, which can be found here. A list of webinar attendees can be found here.

 

Related Publication(s)
Solar Siting Opportunities for Rhode Island
Solar Siting Opportunities for Rhode Island: Slide Deck
Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2020, 2019

Synapse provided expert witness testimony and analysis to Sierra Club for Southwestern Public Service Company's (SPS) 2019 rate case in the states of New Mexico and Texas. The case focused on the retirement date for the Tolk Plant, which the Company was requesting be moved up based on a water shortage in the region that would limit the ability for SPS to continue economically operating the plant year-round through its current retirement date. Synapse’s testimony and analysis focused on both the recent historical and future projected economic performance of Tolk under the Company’s proposed seasonal operations plan for the plant moving forward. We also evaluated the Harrington Coal-fired Power Plant. We found that both plants are likely to lose money going forward relative to alternatives and the market, and therefore SPS should develop a plan to retire both plants. SPS has been required to update its analysis on the future operation of the Tolk Power Station.

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Devi Glick in Case No. 19-00170-UT
Testimony of Devi Glick in Case No. 19-00170-UT
Direct Testimony of Devi Glick in PUC Docket No. 49831
Client:
Natural Resources Defense Council
Year:
2021, 2020

On behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Synapse is providing technical and policy support in a number of New York Public Service Commission (NY PSC) and Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) proceedings.

In the ongoing Niagara Mohawk rate case before the NY PSC, Synapse filed testimony on earnings adjustment mechanisms to align utility incentives with New York's energy and climate goals. Synapse also developed a white paper on the planning practices necessary to guide and support the transition from today’s fossil gas utility industry to one that complies with the emission requirements of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), supports the equitable distribution of energy-related benefits and burdens, maintains essential energy services, manages costs, and protects all customers. In a joint filing with other stakeholders, NRDC filed the Synapse white paper in the NY PSC’s ongoing proceeding to consider changes to gas utility planning and procedures in light of the policy changes facing the industry.

In Pennsylvania, Synapse submitted testimony on the Act 129 Energy Efficiency and Conservation plans of PPL Electric Utilities Corporation and PECO Energy Company. Separately, Synapse assisted NRDC with developing comments for the PUC's proceeding on Utilization of Storage Resources as Electric Distribution Assets.

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Alice Napoleon and Kenji Takahashi regarding Niagara Mohawk’s proposed earnings adjustment mechanisms
Revised Direct Testimony of Alice Napoleon and Kenji Takahashi In regard to PPL Electric Utilities’ proposed energy efficiency and conservation plan
Direct testimony of Alice Napoleon and Courtney Lane regarding PECO Energy's proposed energy efficiency and conservation plan
Comments to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on the utilization of storage resources as electric distribution assets
Long-Term Planning to Support the Transition of New York’s Gas Utility Industry
Client:
Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers
Year:
2020

Synapse provides technical and policy support for the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers on a range of topics including renewable energy, power sector transformation, performance incentive mechanisms, rate and bill impacts, grid modernization, beneficial electrification, and cost-effectiveness testing. This work includes supporting the Division with all aspects of energy efficiency program design, review, and implementation. The work also includes conducting research and analysis on renewable energy programs in Rhode Island.

In 2020 and early 2021, the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carries engaged Synapse to prepare two reports. The first estimates the costs and benefits of the Rhode Island Community Remote Net Metering Program and the Community Remote Distributed Generation program using the Rhode Island benefit-cost test. The second estimates the macroeconomic impacts of the program including job creation, personal income, business income, state tax revenue, and stage gross domestic product.

Related Publication(s)
Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Rhode Island Community Remote Net Metering Program
Macroeconomic Impacts of the Rhode Island Community Remote Net Metering Program
Senate Bill 472: More Costly than Other Community Solar Options
Client:
The Utility Reform Network
Year:
2020

Synapse prepared and sponsored expert witness testimony on issues related to the investor-owned utilities’ plans for their low-income energy efficiency programs (called the “Energy Savings Assistance Program” or "ESA") for the 2021-2026 period. The testimony made recommendations regarding program goals, depth of savings, cost effectiveness, addressing the mobile home segment, consideration of health and safety measures, review of pilot proposals, and consideration of long-lived fossil-fuel burning equipment. Synapse also participated in workshops and provided technical support with comments on the draft and final proposals of the Staff of the California Public Utilities Commission Energy Division, which set forth a vision and framework for the ESA program to ensure that participants realize greater energy bill savings.

Related Publication(s)
Prepared Testimony of Alice Napoleon In Applications Nos. 19-11-003 Through 19-11-006
Comments of The Utility Reform Network on the Energy Division Staff Proposal and Utility Applications
Client:
Energy Matters Community Coalition
Year:
2020

Ahead of Duke Energy Indiana's 2021 integrated resource planning (IRP) process, Synapse worked with Energy Matters Community Coalition to advocate for an all-source request for proposals (RFPs) to reveal essential cost data that could be used to improve IRP modeling. This effort culminated in a November 2020 report titled, The Benefits of an All-Source RFP in Duke Energy Indiana’s 2021 Integrated Resource Planning Process. The report identified best practices in issuing all-source RFPs, and explained how all-source RFPs can reduce costs for consumers and open utility resource planning to cleaner technologies. Due to the recent rapid cost reductions for renewable and storage technologies, it is important to identify accurate and up-to-date cost data to ensure realistic modeling outcomes. The report also noted examples of other utilities that have issued all-source RFPs and successfully received low-cost bids from clean, renewable resources that saved consumers money.

Related Publication(s)
The Benefits of an All-Source RFP in Duke Energy Indiana's 2021 IRP Process
Client:
Office of the People's Counsel for the District of Columbia
Year:
2020, 2019, 2018

On behalf of the Office of the People's Counsel for the District of Columbia, Synapse performed a Ward-level analysis of three future solar scenarios for the 2019-2041 timeframe. Using geospatial and economic analysis, Synapse also calculated the likely mix of private and community solar for the District, as well as the likely mix of rooftop, parking lot, and ground-mount solar through the study period. Based on the scenarios developed, Synapse recommended courses of action to help the District meet its ambitious solar carve-out goal (10% in-District solar by 2041). Finally, Synapse conducted a rate impact assessment of each solar scenario to determine which has the best impact on ratepayers in the District. Synapse recommended the District government closely monitor progress of the solar installations relative to the carve-out, as benefits are greatest if compliance is achieved early in the study period.

Related Publication(s)
Future of Solar PV in the District of Columbia: Feasibility, Projections, and Rate Impacts of the District's Expanded RPS
Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2020, 2019

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) filed a rate case with the Arizona Corporation Commission requesting approval to place into rate base its purchase of the Gila River Unit 2 natural gas combined cycle plant and its investments in ten new reciprocating internal combustion engine (RICE) units. Synapse experts Avi Allison and Devi Glick filed testimony on behalf of Sierra Club evaluating the prudence of these purchases and assessing the economics of TEP's remaining coal units.

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Avi Allison in Docket No. E-01933A-19-0028
Surrebuttal Testimony of Avi Allison in Docket No. E-01933A-19-0028
Response to Late-filed ACC Staff Testimony of Devi Glick in Docket No. E-01933A-19-0028
Client:
Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement du Québec
Year:
2020

On behalf of Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement du Québec, Synapse prepared a report on the importance of using competitive procurement processes to implement demand response programs in Quebec. The report describes the challenges associated with utilities hiring unregulated affiliates to provide services that can be provided by competitive companies. It also provides examples of states and provinces that use competitive procurement practices to hire vendors to design and implement energy efficiency and demand response programs.

Related Publication(s)
Utility Procurement of Third-Party Demand-Side Services
Client:
District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment
Year:
2020, 2019

On behalf of the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), Synapse provided expert witness testimony regarding Pepco’s proposed multi-year rate plan and performance incentive mechanisms. Synapse also drafted comments in response to the Commission's Notice of Inquiry regarding implementation of the CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018, which requires the Commission to consider the “effects on global climate change and the District’s public climate commitments.”

Related Publication(s)
DCG Comments on Technical Conference III Regarding F.C. 1156
GD2019 04 M: DC DOEE Comments Responding to Notice of Inquiry
Direct Testimony of Courtney Lane in Formal Case No. 1156
Rebuttal Testimony of Courtney Lane in Formal Case No. 1156
Surrebuttal Testimony of Courtney Lane in Formal Case No. 1156
Supplemental Testimony of Courtney Lane in Formal Case No. 1156

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