In “Co-Benefits Experience and Lessons from the U.S. Electric Sector,” published in Pollution Atmosphérique, Synapse authors discuss the challenge of achieving co-benefits (or secondary benefits from a program or regulation with a different target, e.g., reducing CO2 with programs targeting SO2 or NOX) in emissions regulation in the U.S.
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Synapse prepared comments for the AARP to be submitted to the Connecticut Energy Advisory Board in February 2008.
Synapse submitted comments in response to the Notice of Intent (NOI) published by the U.S. Department of Energy regarding its plan to issue a competitive Funding Opportunity Announcement for grant applications under the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program. Comments addressed two elements of the NOI: the criteria for evaluating grant applications and the anticipated maximum levels of grants.
For the U.S. EPA, Synapse researched and analyzed concerns that consumer organizations have raised regarding energy efficiency programs in general and ratepayer funded efficiency programs in particular. Project completed in February 2009.
Synapse was hired to review plans proposed by the local distribution company (PEPCO) to provide energy efficiency and demand response programs to consumers in the District of Columbia. Prior to any significant work on this project, the DC Commission approved a proposal for a stand-alone efficiency utility. Due to this decision, our client effectively abandoned its analysis of PEPCO’s programs and ended the contract.
The Sierra Club and the Oklahoma Sustainability Network retained Synapse to provide support in a state Commission rulemaking on demand-side management (DSM) by electric utilities. Synapse provided assistance in drafting comments, attended workshops and negotiation meetings, and advised on strategy and economic impacts. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission adopted a new DSM rule as a result of this proceeding.
Synapse produced a report analyzing how electricity markets and regional economies would be affected by restrictions on mountaintop/valley fill coal mining in Central Appalachia. The report ultimately finds that alternative sources of electricity and alternative sources of coal are economic and available for serving electric load in the eastern U.S.
Synapse assisted the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board with a variety of rate case issues including electric load forecasting, demand-side management, and power plant depreciation. Project completed in February 2009.
On behalf of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Synapse reviewed the Duke Energy Save-A-Watt Energy Efficiency Plan Proposal. The review is focused on Duke Energy's proposed programs and the proposed cost recovery mechanism. Also, joint intervenor comments on a Rulemaking Proceeding have been formally filed by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Environmental Defense and the Southern Environmental Law Center with the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission. Concurrently, communications consisting of feedback and recommendations on the Save-A-Watt proposal occurred with Duke Energy.
Progress Energy Proposed Distribution System Demand Response Program
Testimony Regarding Application of Progress Energy for the Establishment of Procedures for DSM/EE Programs
Surrebuttal Testimony of Rick Hornby Regarding Duke Energy Carolinas Save-A-Watt Programs
The Cape Light Compact contracted for a custom energy efficiency tracking system that will enable to them to better track all aspects of their energy efficiency program installations and improve customer service. Synapse assisted The Cape Light Compact in ensuring that all critical system requirements have been met by the database provider.
Synapse evaluated the cost-effectiveness of residential Direct Load Control (DLC) and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) proposals filed by Public Service Electric and Gas.
On behalf of Citizens Action Coalition in Indiana, Synapse reviewed the Duke Energy Save-A-Watt Energy Efficiency Plan Proposal. The review focused on Duke Energy’s proposed programs and the proposed cost recovery mechanism.
Supplemental Direct Testimony Regarding Duke Energy Indiana Save-A-Watt Proposal
Synapse produced memos for interested stakeholders about the impact of price responsive demand (PRD) participation as a supply resource in the ISO-New England day-ahead energy market.
Expanded Analysis of PRD Participation in Day-Ahead Energy Market
Synapse was retained by Plains Justice to participate in the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) docket for an IPL energy efficiency case. Synapse reviewed IPL's filings, its annual reports, and its proposed plans to achieve the objectives of IUBs order. Direct and rebuttal testimony were prepared and submitted. Briefings for Iowa agency heads and legislators were planned for the first quarter of 2009.
Surrebuttal Testimony of Chris James Regarding Interstate Power and Light Company Proposed Energy Efficiency Program
This project involved arranging meetings for Union Fenosa with Japanese and Korean organizations that produce energy efficiency products and services (e.g., high efficient heat pump and zero emission house) or are engaged in energy efficiency related programs and policies; and visiting Japanese organizations with the delegates of Union Fenosa and providing them technical and translation help so that they were able to gain and understanding of Japanese energy efficiency products, services, programs and policies. While the main focus was on efficiency, renewable energy and distributed generation technologies were also studied during the tour in Japan.
For Natural Resources Defense Council and the Energy Foundation, Synapse produced a report assessing the Michigan Public Service Commission's "2007 21st Century Electric Plan." Synapse's report, titled "Energy Future: A Green Energy Alternative for Michigan,” concluded that the 21st Century Plan focused too heavily on fossil fuel generation and presented a variety of alternative resources to make for a cleaner and more cost-effective energy future for the state.
Synapse sought to determine the ability of energy efficiency and agriculture offsets to provide greenhouse gas reductions in order to meet goals of S 2191 (Lieberman-Warner Bill).
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.
Synapse produced a report assessing the economics and costs of a future generation of nuclear power plants. The report, titled "Nuclear Loan Guarantees: Another Taxpayer Bailout Ahead?," explores Congress's nuclear loan guarantee program its potential burdens on taxpayers.
Synapse assisted the Ohio OCC in responding to a request for comments issued by the Ohio Commission regarding the benefits of participation in RTOs and, specifically, whether Ohio should join a single RTO (Midwest ISO or PJM) rather than continue to participate in both RTOs. The responses, developed jointly by Synapse and the OH OCC, answered a series of detailed questions posed by the OH Commission. Synapse developed an initial set of responses and then a reply set of responses that addressed the comments field by other parties to the proceeding.
Synapse provided advice to Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, a local non-profit organization that both advocates and acts in the marketplace on behalf of consumers and the environment, regarding their ability to participate in New England's Forward Capacity Market. The FCM is the first capacity market to allow small on-site generation resources to be compensated for the capacity they provide to the regional grid.
Synapse was involved in a three-year effort in coordination with Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and District of Columbia advocates to monitor RTO activities in PJM. The central focus of the project was on RPM development and also market monitoring, transmission planning, and load forecasts.
Synapse evaluated and issued direct testimony on the costs and risks of proceeding with proposed Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 nuclear power plants in Georgia. The project also entailed reviewing an updated Georgia Power Company's Integrated Resource Plan.
In 2009, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) retained Marbek Resource Consultants (Marbek) to prepare a report on strategies and conditions which enable aggressive energy efficiency. These strategies and conditions encompass policies, regulatory frameworks and institutional arrangements. Synapse assisted Marbek with its review of these issues in the U.S. Synapse also contributed a whitepaper addressing the major financial incentives of utilities that need to be aligned with aggressive pursuit of energy efficiency. The paper presented the problems that utilities in general have experienced over the years due to mismatches between their financial incentives and the pursuit of energy efficiency, and the general approaches to correcting that problem. The paper also presented an overview of the current financial incentives of Ontario electricity distribution companies relative to the pursuit of energy efficiency, and suggested steps to further improve that alignment.
Synapse modeled the impacts of a range of cap-and-trade allowance allocation scenarios on consumer and generator welfare in regulated and deregulated electricity markets in the United States. The analysis, which represents the early years of a national cap-and-trade program before generation changes or load reductions can be implemented, is unique in its treatment of economic impacts at the generating plant level, and in its focus on consumer impacts at the state and regional levels. The results indicated that cap-and-trade regulation will result in consumer-funded windfall profits for certain generators in deregulated electricity markets, and that any free allowance allocation to merchant generators will increase these windfall profits and the cost to consumers. Results are presented at the RTO and state levels to highlight regional differences in these impacts.
Productive and Unproductive Costs of CO2 Cap-and-Trade: NASUCA Consumer Protection Committee Conference Call
Synapse provided analysis of Public Service Enterprise Group filing for rate recovery of solar photovoltaic investment and provision of testimony addressing Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) treatment.
For this project, Synapse assessed the risks of constructing a new nuclear power plant in Calvert County, Maryland. David Schlissel provided direct testimony before the Public Service Commission of Maryland presenting these risks.
Synapse evaluated the economics of a proposed coal plant in Louisiana. Synapse found that Energy Louisiana had not prudently considered the potential for further increases in the cost of building the plant or the costs of likely federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. The Louisiana Public Service Commission approved the plant; however, Sierra Club sought judicial review of that decision.
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