You can browse all project descriptions (below), or narrow the search results by selecting one or more filters (topic area, client, etc.).

Client:
Year:
2018

Synapse hosted special guests Jeannie Ramey from Climable and Dave Dayton from Clean Energy Solutions, Inc. (CESI) to discuss microgrids and selected distribution system topics, with a special focus on the environmental justice implications of our energy delivery systems. Our panelists described several innovative community-led microgrid projects in the Boston area that are part of Climable’s Resilient Urban Neighborhoods program. Climable is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based and woman-run nonprofit committed to fostering energy democracy and climate resilience. CESI, a Boston-based group that has consulted within the clean energy movement for over 25 years, is a Climable project partner, along with Synapse.

Webinar recorded live on August 16, 2018.

Watch the webinar here.

Related Publication(s)
Microgrid Webinar Slides
Client:
World Bank
Year:
2018, 2017

On behalf of the World Bank, Synapse developed a transparent, user-friendly, Excel-based model that can estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions resulting from changes to electric-sector policies. It attempts to produce a reliable, documented estimate of GHG savings attributable to the initiative, suitable for use in international analysis and crediting of GHG reductions. This software tool is a power sector model, designed to examine effects of policies such as price changes, subsidies, and emissions taxes on the operation of an existing electric system. The current, first implementation of the model developed with stakeholder involvement from agencies in Morocco and is based on data and policy options that are specific to Morocco. The software is designed to be easily updated as new data become available. It is also readily adaptable to other countries in future implementations. Development of the tool itself, a user manual, and an internal report demonstrating the tool’s abilities were finalized in Spring 2018.

Client:
Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers
Year:
2018

The Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers engaged Synapse to review National Grid’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) pilot program. Tim Woolf and Melissa Whited filed testimony in support of National Grid’s advanced metering functionality pilot, concluding that the program could provide net benefits to customers, spur company-wide AMF in Rhode Island, and provide long-lasting improvements to Rhode Island’s power sector.

Related Publication(s)
Testimony of Woolf and Whited on National Grid AMI Pilot
Client:
Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers
Year:
2018, 2017

Synapse is providing the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers with technical support for the National Grid rate case. The project includes expert testimony and addresses issues related to performance incentive mechanisms, multi-year rate plans, advanced metering, rate designs, and electric vehicles.

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Tim Woolf on National Grid Rate Case
Testimony of Tim Woolf and Melissa Whited on National Grid Rate Case
Direct Testimony of Tim Woolf and Melissa Whited on Power Sector Transformation Proposals
Client:
Natural Resources Defense Council
Year:
Ongoing, 2019, 2018

Synapse prepared testimony on energy efficiency targets and incentives on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council in the recent Con Edison rate case. The testimony addressed the need to develop electricity and gas efficiency savings targets that are consistent with the Commission's statewide targets as well as the state's carbon emission reduction goals. It also addressed the need to provide sufficient budget to allow the utilities to provide the efficiency services necessary to meet the targets. Synapse also recommended modifications to the utility's cost-effectiveness practices to be consistent with the Commission's recent order on Benefit-Cost Analyses and to ensure the implementation of all cost-effective efficiency resources. Finally, the testimony addressed the energy efficiency earning adjustment mechanisms (i.e., performance incentive mechanisms) to ensure that Con Edison has sufficient incentive to implement effective efficiency programs, but not overlapping or unduly excessive incentives.

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Woolf and Napoleon Con Edison Rate Case
Client:
Maine Office of the Public Advocate
Year:
Ongoing, 2018

Consulting on issues concerning utility rate proposals that seek to establish incentives to create non-wires alternatives to transmission and distribution investments.

 

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Melissa Whited on Utility Incentives for Non-Wires Alternatives
Client:
Southern Environmental Law Center
Year:
2019, 2018

In 2018, Duke Energy submitted to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality its analysis of options for the closure of eight of its coal ash basins spread over six sites. The Southern Environmental Law Center commissioned Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. to review Duke’s Summary Reports and the Company’s analysis on trucking impacts, community and regional impacts, environmental impacts, and the estimated closure costs and schedules. Our resulting report describes how Duke's evaluation framework was designed to skew results in favor of its “Closure-in-Place” option, and in fact, to effectively ignore environmental impacts and risks. On April 1, 2019, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality ruled that Duke Energy must remove all ash from existing unlined landfills and move the ash to new, lined landfills. 

On April 1, 2019, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality ruled that Duke Energy must remove all ash from existing unlined landfills and move the ash to new, lined landfills.

 
 
 
Related Publication(s)
Assessment of Duke Energy’s Coal Ash Basin Closure Options Analysis in North Carolina
Client:
Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board
Year:
2018, 2017

Review of the 2017 Nova Scotia Load Forecast.

Related Publication(s)
Evidence re the NSPI 2017 Load Forecast
Comments on NSPI Reply Evidence
Client:
Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board
Year:
Ongoing, 2019, 2018

As a continuation of previous work, Synapse provided NS UARB with consulting services on energy efficiency issues. Specific areas where Synapse provided technical support and analysis included: rate and bill impacts, non-energy benefits, methodology to determine program incentives, and benefits of location-specific efficiency targeting.

Related Publication(s)
Revised Comments on EfficiencyOne’s Proposed Enhancements to its Rate and Bill Impact Model
Comments on EfficiencyOne’sJanuary 21, 2019 Locational DSM Pilot –DSMAG Update
Client:
Carr Stevenson and MacKay
Year:
Ongoing, 2019, 2018

Synapse reviewed the Energy Efficiency Plan filed by the Prince Edward Island Energy Corporation for its conformance with the provisions of the PEI Electric Power Act.

Related Publication(s)
An Assessment of Prince Edward Island Energy Corporations' 2018 - 2021 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan
Client:
Alliance for Clean Energy New York
Year:
2018, 2017

Synapse was retained by the Alliance for Clean Energy New York to develop an analysis of the role of existing renewable generation in achieving New York’s goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. The report shows that so-called “Baseline” resources, which New York policymakers assumed would keep their energy and attributes in New York through 2030, have other markets for their production. If those resources are exported, New York would be forced to acquire substantial additional new renewable generation. Synapse analyzed policy options to compensate existing renewable resources for retaining their attributes in New York, and showed that they are less expensive than developing new renewable resources.

Related Publication(s)
Policies to Cost-Effectively Retain Existing Renewables in New York
Client:
Environmental Defense Fund
Year:
2018, 2017

With support from Environmental Defense Fund, Synapse convened a stakeholder advisory council and provided analysis to produce a vision of Ohio’s clean energy economic opportunities. The group—comprised of business leaders, manufacturers, academics, labor representatives, non-profits, and others—produced a shared vision report of how Ohio could create new jobs and economic growth by modernizing its energy economy. Essentially a business case for clean energy growth and innovation, the vision identifies multi-billion dollar opportunities related to attracting leading corporations, transforming transportation, building and deploying clean electricity and energy efficiency, and modernizing the grid, to demonstrate why Ohio is well-positioned to lead if it takes action. The vision also highlights the risks of failing to create conditions that allow Ohio businesses to compete on the national and global levels. After launching the shared vision on May 29, 2018, Synapse and the advisory group will use the report to engage additional Ohio stakeholders. Their combined input will add to a detailed roadmap of specific actions Ohio actors can take to achieve the vision. For more information, see www.poweringohio.org.

Read the report.

Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2018, 2017

Sierra Club retained Synapse to assess the 2017 Integrated Resource Pan (IRP) filed by Puget Sound Energy (PSE). Synapse's review found that the PSE IRP included a reasonable near-term resource plan but contained proposed actions that could lead to an unjustified deviation from that resource plan. In addition, Synapse identified a series of unjustified assumptions and conclusions regarding renewable resource costs and availability and coal plant retirement dates that resulted in a biased long-term resource plan. In comments submitted to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, Synapse recommended that the Commission ensure full oversight of PSE's upcoming resource procurement processes and require PSE to use updated assumptions and enable full stakeholder participation in future IRP cycles.

Related Publication(s)
Comments on Puget Sound Energy's 2017 Integrated Resource Plan
Client:
Southern Environmental Law Center
Year:
2018

Synapse provided analysis and expert testimony on behalf of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy for Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) 2018 annual update of Net Energy Metering (NEM) Distributed Energy Resources (DER) methodology in DECs Annual Review of Base Rates for Fuel Costs. Witness Devi Glick submitted testimony regarding the appropriateness and accuracy of the utility's 2018 value of NEM DER update.

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Devi Glick Regarding Annual Review of Base Rates of Fuel Cost for Duke Energy Carolinas
Surrebuttal Testimony of Devi Glick Regarding Annual Review of Base Rates of Fuel Cost for Duke Energy Carolinas
Client:
New Brunswick Electric Utility Board
Year:
2018, 2017

Synapse reviewed New Brunswick Power's 2018/2019 General Rate Case application on behalf of the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board Staff.

Related Publication(s)
Review of New Brunswick Power 2018-2019 Rate Case Application
Client:
Year:
2018

Join us as we trace the evolution of a new reliability standard that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) appears to be endorsing as a part of its docket on resiliency. The FERC rejected the U.S. Department of Energy's recent request for an immediate FERC rule-making to support “fuel-secure resources.” Instead, the FERC initiated an administrative docket (AD 18-7) to solicit comments from RTOS and stakeholders on how to meet new reliability concerns related to fuel storage. Two recent FERC Orders suggest that the FERC is not waiting for a resolution of the AD 18-7 process before directing RTOs to modify their tariffs to “support” necessary resources whether through capacity market enhancements or through cost-of-service agreements. In this webinar, recorded live on July 19th, 2018, Synapse's Paul Peterson provides a play-by-play analysis of these ongoing actions and developments related to reliability. 

We then take a deep dive into distribution level reliability, using New Jersey as a case study. Max Chang leads a discussion on how utilities and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities have invested in distribution infrasture to withstand future large-scale storms in the aftermath of major storm events in 2011 and 2012: Hurricane Irene, the October '11 snowstorm, and Superstorm Sandy.

Moderated by Jenn Kallay

Watch the recording here

Related Publication(s)
Storming Ahead Webinar Slide Deck
Client:
Year:
2018

For the January edition of Synapse's Third Thursday webinar series, we talked strategic electrification with Asa Hopkins, PhD, Kenji Takahashi, and Danielle Goldberg. 

Dr. Hopkins led a big picture discussion on issues that come up for regions that adopt strategic electrification as a strategy for decarbonization, including what quantitative work can be done to assess the opportunity strategic electrification represents, and its impact on the electric system. He provided helpful examples drawn from Synapse's recent work analyzing strategic electrification opportunities in New York and New England for the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships. Kenji Takahashi and Danielle Goldberg then got into the nitty gritty details of a specific efficiency electrification technology: cold climate heat pumps. Mr. Takahashi and Ms. Goldberg have analyzed heat pump cost-effectiveness by examining various scenarios of fuel switching from fossil fuel heating to cold climate/advanced heat pumps. This includes retrofits, early retirements and new construction for different baseline fuels. 

Bruce Biewald, CEO and Founder of Synapse, moderated the discussion, which took place on January 18, 2018. 

Watch the recording.

Related Publication(s)
Strategic Electrification Webinar Slides
Client:
Newfoundland and Labrador Public Utilities Board
Year:
2018

Synapse was engaged by the Newfoundland and Labrador Board to provide detailed technical support during a first-phase review of “rate mitigation” approaches associated with the impending start-up of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric generating station in Labrador.  Synapse evaluated the Province’s load forecast, the potential for beneficial electrification and more aggressive energy efficiency policies, and the amount of surplus energy available for export.  Synapse will also address time-of-use and related rate design issues, and a more in-depth analysis of all issues during a second phase of work in 2019. 

Related Publication(s)
Phase 1 Findings on Muskrat Falls Project Rate Mitigation
Client:
NA
Year:
2018

We've spent early 2018 absorbed in data recently released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). We've been analyzing numbers, creating snappy data visuals, and preparing the Synapse Electricity Snapshot 2018 (available here). In this webinar from March 16, 2018, we discuss the historical trends we found. We also look to the future by reviewing EIA's 2018 Annual Energy Outlook projections for energy use from the electric power, residential, commercial, and transportation sectors through 2050.

In typical Synapse style, we walk through the data using some of our favorite interesting graphs and charts. 

Featuring: Pat Knight, Tommy Vitolo PhD | Moderator: Bruce Biewald

Watch the webinar on our YouTube page.

Related Publication(s)
Trend Setting Webinar Slide Deck
Client:
Sierra Club
Year:
2018, 2017

Sierra Club retained Synapse to review the input assumptions and modeling methodologies underlying the 2017 Integrated Resource Plans (IRP) filed by Arizona Public Service Company (APS) and Tuscon Electric Power Company (TEP). In comments submitted on behalf of Sierra Club, Synapse presented evidence that APS's plan to build thousands of megawatts of new natural gas-fired capacity was based on a a series of analytical errors and flawed assumptions including an unrealistically high load forecast, under-statement of available cost-effective energy efficiency, inflated renewable costs, and deflated natural gas prices. Synapse recommended that APS hold off on procuring new gas capacity until it had produced an analysis containing a more reasonable set of assumptions. In comments on TEP's IRP, Synapse recommended that TEP revise its modeling to capture a wider range of scenarios and potential portfolios, and more rigorously assess the economic status of its coal units. Citing Synapse's comments, the Arizona Corporation Commission declined to acknowledge the IRPs submitted by APS and TEP, and imposed a series of requirements to ensure that future IRPs incorporate reasonable load-growth scenarios and evaluate a reasonable range of portfolios and sensitivities.

Related Publication(s)
Initial Comments on APS 2017 IRP
Initial comments on TEP 2017 IRP
Sierra Club Reply to Staff's Comments and Proposed Order
Client:
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Year:
2018, 2017

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy engaged Synapse to provide technical support regarding the Tennessee Valley Authority’s electricity rates. Synapse reviewed trends in electricity prices for industrial and residential customers to assess whether TVA allocates costs across customer classes fairly. Synapse published a white paper on our findings, "Electricity Prices in the Tennessee Valley: Are customers being treated fairly?"

Related Publication(s)
Electricity Prices in the Tennessee Valley
Client:
Conservation Law Foundation, Acadia Center, New Hampshire Office of the Consumer Advocate, PowerOptions, RENEW Northeast, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
Year:
2018

Synapse reviewed ISO New England’s Operational Fuel Security Analysis (OFSA) study published in January and compared the model results with alternative scenarios suggested by New England stakeholders. The report shows how assumptions about demand for energy (electric and gas) and variations in supply resources might impact grid operations and reliability during an extreme winter in 2024/25. The report finds that using reasonable assumptions about demand and supply resources show minimal grid operation concerns and no rolling blackouts. This finding is starkly different from the ISO’s conclusions in its January OFSA study.

Our report was prepared for Conservation Law Foundation, with support from the Barr Foundation, on behalf of a group of NEPOOL participants that requested that additional scenarios be modeled as part of ISO New England’s OFSA.

Related Publication(s)
Understanding ISO New England's Operational Fuel Security Analysis
Maintaining Reliability Under Extreme Conditions: Understanding ISO New England's Operational Fuel Security Analysis
Client:
Minnesota Department of Commerce
Year:
2018

Synapse was awarded a Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) grant by the Minnesota Department of Commerce to produce a white paper with recommendations on updates to Minnesota's energy efficiency cost-effectiveness framework. The objective of this project was to describe how the key elements of the National Standard Practice Manual (NSPM) could be applied to energy efficiency cost-effectiveness analyses in Minnesota. To determine how the NSPM’s principles could be applied to Minnesota’s cost-effectiveness framework, Synapse examined Minnesota’s current energy efficiency screening policies and practices and interviewed stakeholders. We used the Resource Value Framework (RVF) described in the NSPM to recommend a Minnesota-specific test as the state's primary test.

Related Publication(s)
Updating the Energy Efficiency Cost-Effectiveness Framework in Minnesota
Stakeholder Presentation - Updating the Energy Efficiency Cost-Effectiveness Framework in Minnesota
Client:
Southern Environmental Law Center
Year:
2018

Synapse provided analysis and testimony on behalf of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy on Duke Energy Progress' proposed updated value of solar calculations in their annual fuel cost docket. Witness Devi Glick submitted testimony (Docket no. 2018-1-E) regarding the appropriate calculation of benefit categories associated with the value of solar NEM calculations and compliance with the 2014 settlement agreement regarding distributed energy resources.

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Devi Glick Regarding the Value of Distributed Energy Resources in Duke Energy's 2018 Annual Review of Fuel Costs
Surrebuttal Testimony of Devi Glick Regarding the Value of Distributed Energy Resources in Duke Energy's 2018 Annual Review of Fuel Costs
Client:
Southern Environmental Law Center
Year:
2018

Synapse provided analysis and expert testimony on behalf of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy for South Carolina Electric & Gas’ (SCE&G) 2018 annual update of solar PV avoided costs under PURPA. Witness Devi Glick submitted testimony (Docket no. 2018-2-E) regarding the appropriate calculation of benefit categories associated with the value of solar calculation for PURPA QF rates and for Act 236 compliance.

Related Publication(s)
Direct Testimony of Devi Glick on SCE&G Fuel Costs
Surrebuttal Testimony of Devi Glick on SCEG Fuel Costs
Client:
Year:
2018

Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) and Synapse conducted a regional assessment of the tools, resources, and data sources used and useful as the region embarks on plans to help meet carbon reduction goals via Strategic Electrification. The work was supported by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

On September 20, 2018, NEEP's Elizabeth Titus joined Synapse's Asa Hopkins and Kenji Takahashi to share the results of the survey and collect additional input on how to move strategic electrification forward in the region.  

This webinar is part of Synapse’s Third Thursday webinar series. Watch the webinar on our YouTube channel.

Related Publication(s)
What's Available and What's Needed for Strategic Electrification Planning and Forecasting in the Northeast Slides
Client:
Natural Resources Defense Council
Year:
2018

Synapse conducted a study on the economic impacts of a statewide ban on fracking in Florida.

Related Publication(s)
Why Drill for Oil in Florida?
Client:
Energy Foundation
Year:
2018, 2017

Report on the impacts of utility investment in developing competitive markets, particularly with respect to electric vehicle infrastructure.

Related Publication(s)
Utility Investments for Market Transformation
Client:
Year:
2017

Wild fires rage in California. Communities continue rebuilding after devastating storms. The next financial crisis could lurk around the next corner. Worst-case scenarios are happening, but the current public policy framework leaves communities defenseless against them.

On December 21, 2017, we celebrated the release of Worst-Case Economics: Extreme Events in Climate and Finance, the latest book by Frank Ackerman (Synapse Principal Economist). Dr. Ackerman joined Bruce Biewald for our Third Thursday webinar series to discuss his new book, which Juliet Schor described as "highly accessible but profound" and Samuel Bowles called "an important book and a delight to read." 

Here's a brief description from Dr. Ackerman:

Worst-Case Economics Cover

The stocmarket and the climate are well-behaved most of the time – but those are not the times we worry about. Worst-case scenarios are all too real and all too common. The financial crisis of 2008 was not the first or the last to destroy jobs, homeownership and savings for millions of people. Ever-weirder weather includes megastorms clobbering communities from New York to Bangladesh, rising sea levels, and heat waves killing thousands across Europe.

Climate and financial crises are serious events, requiring vigorous responses. Yet public policy is trapped in an obsolete framework with a simplistic focus on average or likely outcomes rather than on dangerous extremes. What would it take to create better analyses of extreme events in climate and finance, and an appropriate policy framework for worst-case risks? Worst-Case Economics offers accessible and surprising answers to these crucial questions.

 

Worst-Case Economics is available in hard-copy and e-book from Amazon or in hard-copy from Barnes & Noble and UK distributors Wordery and Book Depository.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Related Publication(s)
Worst-Case Economics Webinar Slides
Client:
AESC Study Group
Year:
2018, 2017

Avoided Energy Supply Costs in New England 2018 study materials:

For more information about the AESC study, please visit our project page.

Synapse has also conducted supplemental analysis on the avoided costs of compliance of the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act. Visit here for more details.

Related Publication(s)
Appendix B - AESC 2018
Appendix C - AESC 2018
Appendix D - AESC 2018
Appendix J - AESC 2018
AESC 2018 Presentation of Results

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