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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:
Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, Regulatory Assistance Project
Year:
2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

Synapse has been engaged with the Puerto Rico Energy Commission, now named the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau, since 2015. Our role includes providing technical support and expert review of materials submitted by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA, the island's sole electric utility). In early 2015, Synapse was engaged by the Regulatory Assistance Program (RAP) to help develop Puerto Rico's first Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) rules. The rule was successfully promulgated in May 2015. Subsequently, Synapse collaborated with RAP to assess PREPA's first IRP, and lead a commission investigation into the development and finalization of the IRP. Over the course of 2015 and into early 2016, Synapse led an increasingly intensive review of the IRP process and findings, as well as the Commission’s first public hearing. The IRP Final Order, largely a result of Synapse's work, was published September 2016.

We have also assisted the Bureau in crafting rules for microgrids and developing performance metrics and incentives. In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, we have also supported the Bureau as it guides the utility through its second IRP in the context of expected privatization or concessionaire structures for both generation and electric grid operations. Our engagement in Puerto Rico has been conducted in close partnership with the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP). Together, we act as a resource for support and an expansion of the technical and regulatory expertise available to the recently formed regulator.

In 2020, Synapse supported the Puerto Rico Energy Bureau in:

  1. Completion of the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan process and associated follow-up;
  2. development and execution of the Optimization proceeding to develop decision-making approaches for resilience investments;
  3. development of revised demand response and energy efficiency regulations, as well as beginning development of the required cost-effectiveness screening framework and avoided costs; and
  4. evaluation and development of performance metrics and structures for PREPA and LUMA.

 

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:
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 to the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers on energy efficiency, renewable energy, power sector transformation, performance incentive mechanisms, rate and bill impacts, grid modernization, beneficial electrification, and cost-effectiveness testing. Much of the support includes participating in the energy efficiency planning and reporting process. The work includes all aspects of energy efficiency program design, implementation, and review related to the National Grid electric and natural gas energy efficiency programs, which are some of the most aggressive and successful efficiency programs in the US. The work also includes conducting research and analysis and providing expertise on renewable energy programs in Rhode Island, including but not limited to the Community Remote Net Metering program.

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 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
Client:
Earthjustice
Year:
2020, 2019

On behalf of Earthjustice, Synapse reviewed the U.S. EPA's benefit-cost analysis of changes to the proposed power plant effluent limitations guidelines (ELG). Synapse created an expert report that Earthjustice submitted as part of its official comments on the proposed rule modification.

The purpose of this report is to (1) evaluate the proposed changes to the 2015 ELG rule; (2) review the four options the EPA lays out for compliance (focusing on Options 2 and 4); (3) review the EPA’s benefit cost analysis (BCA); (4) critique the EPA’s analysis and results; and (5) provide recommendations on how the EPA should structure its BCA and which compliance option it should recommend.

Related Publication(s)
Review of benefit-cost analysis for the EPA's proposed revisions to the 2015 Steam Electric Limitations Guidelines
Client:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Year:
2019, 2018

Synapse prepared a Technical Brief that provides an overview of benefit-cost analysis techniques for reviewing utility proposals for grid modernization investments. The Brief is written for regulators, consumer advocates, and other stakeholders who seek to determine whether grid modernization proposals are in the public interest; especially proposals for utility-facing technologies that help advance reliability, resilience, advanced metering, and the integration of distributed energy resources. The Technical Brief addresses some of the most challenging aspects of benefit-cost analysis for grid modernization, such as determining the appropriate cost-effectiveness test to use, accounting for interactive effects between grid modernization components, and accounting for qualitative benefits. Tim Woolf presented the material in a training course for consumer advocates at the meeting of National Association of Utility Consumer Advocates in November 2018. He also presented the material at the Mid-Atlantic Distribution Systems and Planning Training with the NARUC-NASEO Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning on March 8, 2019. The technical brief was published in February 2021.

Related Publication(s)
Benefit-Cost Analysis for Utility-Facing Grid Modernization Investments Training Slides
Benefit-Cost Analysis for Utility-Facing Grid Modernization Investments
Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2019, 2018

Tampa Electric Company (TECO) filed an application to construct a new 1090 MW gas-fired power plant at a cost of $895 million. This so called “modernization” project sought to repower an existing steam turbine at the site of the coal- and gas-fired power plant at the Big Bend Power Station in Tampa, Florida. Synapse provided analysis and expert testimony on behalf of the Sierra Club to evaluate the need for, and impact of, the proposed plant.

Synapse found that TECO's application did not demonstrate a need for the electricity generated by this new gas plant, and made numerous dubious claims about the project’s environmental and economic benefits. Witness Bruce Biewald submitted testimony on the climate damages that will result from the construction of the gas plant. Witness Devi Glick submitted testimony assessing the electrical energy needs of TECO’s customers, and identifying ways to meet those needs through better system planning and cleaner, lower cost alternative resources.

Related Publication(s)
Big Bend Analysis
The Proposed Plant at Big Bend: A Review of Climate Impacts
Client:
Bloom Energy
Year:
2019

Bloom Energy (Bloom) required consulting services and technical assistance to help it meet its short‐ and mid‐term goals for the incorporation of its Energy Server Platform fuel cell product into various energy efficiency programs in the United States, with an immediate focus on Massachusetts. Bloom’s fuel cell is unique as it produces electricity at higher efficiencies than that generated by natural gas combustion turbines or other typical fuel cell technologies. The result is cost savings for customers and reduced carbon emissions for states.

On behalf of Bloom, Synapse Energy Economics developed a whitepaper to introduce this product to energy efficiency Program Administrators more generally, and a Massachusetts-specific cost‐effectiveness brief based on state-specific cost-effectiveness modeling. Our analysis found that the technology is cost-effective using the Massachusetts energy efficiency cost-effectiveness framework with a benefit-cost ratio greater than one, assuming a reasonable measure life. We also calculated the impact of including avoided health cost benefits on the benefit-cost ratio.

Related Publication(s)
Bloom Energy Fuel Cells
All-Electric Solid Oxide Fuel Cells as an Energy Efficiency Measure
Client:
Colorado Energy Office
Year:
2019

Synapse performed a study to examine opportunities for, barriers to, and economic impacts of energy storage deployment in the context of Colorado’s changing energy landscape. The resulting report discussed: storage’s role in meeting clean energy targets; existing facilities, industries, and legislation related to storage; available commercial technologies and their services to the grid; state barriers and example solutions from other states; and the impact of various policy scenarios on the energy storage in Colorado's future, based on electric system modeling results.

Related Publication(s)
The Future of Energy Storage in Colorado: Opportunities, Barriers, Analysis, and Policy Recommendations
Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2019

On behalf of Sierra Club, Synapse reviewed and critiqued the DSM Programs proposed by the Virginia Electric and Power Company (Dominion). Our testimony focuses on how well the proposed DSM programs comply with statutory and regulatory requirements, the proposed DSM program spending and savings levels, DSM cost-effectiveness, and DSM program design. Virginia’s Grid Transformation and Security Act requires Dominion to spend $870 million on energy efficiency between 2018 and 2021. The Company only proposed a budget of $262 million for its 2019-2023 DSM programs, which includes lost revenues. We argue the Company should increase its budgets and remove lost revenues from that budget to meet the statutory budget requirement. Based on the Company's potential study and energy efficiency program efforts in other states, there are plenty of savings available with an increased budget. The cost-effectiveness screening practices in Virginia could also be improved, including to account for all costs and benefits in each of the tests used in the state, and to evaluate rate and bill impacts more comprehensively than relying on the Rate Impact Measure test.

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Tim Woolf and Erin Malone Regarding Virginia Power and Electric Company's Application to Implement DSM Programs
Client:
North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association
Year:
2019, 2018

On behalf of the North Carolina Sustainable Business Association, Synapse modeled two scenarios: a "Duke IRP" scenario, which included the Company's planned retirements and additions of more than 9 GW of new gas capacity, and a "Clean Energy" scenario, which included increased penetrations of solar and battery storage technologies. We compared these two scenarios based on energy, capacity, emissions, and impacts to health, rates/bills, GDP, and jobs in North Carolina. Synapse also examined the same impacts for ratepayers in South Carolina on behalf of the South Carolina Solar Business Alliance. The Synapse analyses found that renewable and battery resource options are comparably cost-effective to new natural gas for Carolina ratepayers, and offer other benefits as well.

Related Publication(s)
North Carolina's Clean Energy Future: An Alternative to Duke's Integrated Resource Plan
Modeling Clean Energy for South Carolina: An Alternative to Duke's Integrated Resource Plan
Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2019

Synapse was retained by the Sierra Club to evaluate the prudence of coal combustion residuals and effluent limitation guidelines retrofits at the Victor Daniel coal-fired power plant in Mississippi in light of ongoing and future costs and future environmental risk.

Related Publication(s)
Economic Analysis of the coal-fired Plant Daniel in Mississippi
Client:
Year:
2019

The late January 2019 Polar Vortex weather event brought extreme temperatures to the upper Midwest through New England – the same stretch of the country where the most fossil fuels are used to heat buildings. As it becomes clear that a decarbonized electric grid is possible, “#ElectrifyEverything” has become a rallying cry for the path to transportation and building decarbonization. In this webinar, we explore the hypothetical: What if all the buildings from the Dakotas, to the Ohio River Valley, through Maine were heated with cold climate heat pumps instead? We estimate the impact on hourly peak electric loads, and we use this to tee up and discuss questions about what a cost-effective plan to decarbonize these buildings would need to address. 

 
Presenter: Asa Hopkins, PhD, Principal Associate
Moderator: Bruce Biewald
 
 
Webinar date: February 21, 2019
Client:
Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board
Year:
2020, 2019

For over a decade, Synapse has provided counsel to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NS UARB) with technical consulting services on demand-side management (DSM) issues. Synapse’s services to NS UARB for the current DSM planning cycle included review, analysis, and comments on the following issues: improving the accuracy of energy savings and spending projections; modeling DSM rate and bill impacts; designing a program to target DSM at locations where distribution system investment can be avoided; modeling avoided transmission and distribution system costs; and assessing a methodology for developing avoided energy, capacity, and carbon emissions costs. In addition, Alice Napoleon provided evidence on EfficiencyOne’s proposed 2020-2022 Demand Side Management Resource Plan.

Related Publication(s)
Evidence of Alice Napoleon in Matter No. M09096
Synapse Comments on EfficiencyOne Performance Alignment Study - M09096
Synapse Comments on EfficiencyOne's 2019 Rate and Bill Impact Analysis and Model - M09471
Synapse Comments on EfficiencyOne's 2020 Rate and Bill Impact Analysis - M09943

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