Synapse assisted stakeholders in the Midwest ISO (MISO) to advocate for the inclusion of demand resources, energy efficiency, and demand response in MISO markets and transmission planning. As part of this work, Synapse researched and published an analysis of the Global Energy Partners report on energy efficiency and demand response potential in MISO in the fall of 2010.
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On behalf of the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, Synapse reviewed filings from Atlantic City Electric to identify electric reliability and infrastructure related issues in the support of legal briefs to be filed as part the company's base rate case.
Using results from the recently completed AESC 2011 study, Synapse calculated the avoided costs achieved by the installation of a sample set of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Project completed in 2011.
"Big Risks, Better Alternatives" evaluates two proposed nuclear energy projects in the U.S.—Levy 1 and 2 in Florida and Vogtle 3 and 4 in Georgia—and compares them to potential alternatives that are capable of meeting projected consumer demand in their respective states. The study finds that there are major risks associated with the construction of both the Levy and Vogtle projects, and that, based on publicly available data, there are alternative options readily available to Progress Energy and Georgia Power that could meet consumers’ energy needs and be implemented at a lower cost, with far less risk to ratepayers.
Synapse worked with the MCEA and Izaak Walton League to draft comments on the Advance Prudence Determination Petition issued by Otter Tail Power in relation to the Big Stone I plant.
Synapse was retained by the California Energy Commission to assess the possibility of abating air emissions in California through the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable generation programs. The project occurred in two phases. The goal of the first phase of the project was to first build upon existing data and models to develop a framework for estimating the emissions reductions attributable to specific clean energy resources and then to apply these methodologies to develop estimates of emissions reductions applicable to clean energy projects in California. The primary steps of the project consisted of identifying and characterizing various renewable energy projects and the state’s energy efficiency potential, the assessment of models and their strengths and limitations, a discussion of the protocol for determining SIP credits, and the identification of evaluation procedures to validate the effectiveness of projects or measures. This project involved the development of both a near-term and a long-term emission displacement quantification framework.
In phase two, Synapse developed a spreadsheet tool for California air districts to use to estimate the quantity of air emissions that can be reduced from the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) programs. Synapse performed electric system dispatch modeling to evaluate energy effects on EE/RE, and whether the location of the EE/RE resource reveals differences in what generation is displaced. Model outputs were then used to calculate potential criteria and greenhouse gas pollutant reductions. The spreadsheet tool is intended to be an asset to air districts, as they assess the efficacy of various control measures that can be implemented to attain ozone and fine particulate air quality standards, and to help meet California’s 2050 greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Synapse provided a description of forward capacity market models in U.S. for a U.K. audience, and assisted the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) in understanding and describing the PJM and ISO-NE forward capacity markets.
For the Sierra Club, Synapse evaluated the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Integrated Resource Plan and assessed the economics of several alternative future scenarios for the city that include increased energy efficiency and renewable energy penetration.
The Maryland Office of the People's Counsel retained Synapse to review and present testimony on the smart grid project update filed by Delmarva in Case 9206. Rick Hornby filed testimony regarding the Company’s estimates of the value of reducing demand and of the percentage of residential customers likely to respond to its proposed critical peak rebate.
Over a multi-year period (2008-2010), Synapse evaluated mechanisms to integrate demand resources into wholesale energy, capacity, and ancillary services markets. One particular focus was the integration of energy efficiency resources into the RPM capacity market in PJM. Synapse also monitored New England, New York, and MISO wholesale markets for demand response integration. The work under this contract supported much of the basic research that led to three papers in the fall of 2010: Synapse comments on GSP MISO report on EE and DR potential; report for MA AG on demand response participation in day-ahead energy markets for FERC DR NOPR; and Earthjustice report on transmission planning for FERC Tx NOPR.
Synapse provided assistance to the Regulatory Assistance Project to help inform and participate in state, regional, and national discussions on climate policy. These included but were not limited to: RGGI, WRCAI, and several bills that were being considered at that time in Congress. The focus of these efforts was to assure that robust energy efficiency, DSM, and renewables would be integrated into the various climate programs under consideration, to help achieve the goals of stabilizing the Earth's climate, increasing energy security, and maximizing consumer benefit.
For this project, Synapse performed analysis of a proposed revenue decoupling mechanism.
Together with the Pace Energy Project, Synapse provided NYSERDA with analyses regarding distributed generation (DG) and combined heat and power (CHP) in New York. This project comprised three major phases. First, Synapse estimated the price benefits of incorporating DG/CHP in New York utility systems, conducting a gap analysis of what would be necessary to realize the benefits and summarizing available options, drawing on case studies of quantifiable DG/CHP benefits. Second, Synapse and Pace investigated the implications and impact of DG/CHP rules and regulations in New York (with an emphasis on decoupling) on the development of these resources. Finally, Synapse and Pace examined three models illuminating policy options to encourage DG (utility DG model, DG development zone model, and refined RFP model) from various perspectives, including the level and overall cost of DG/CHP development in New York.
Deployment of Distributed Generation for Grid Support and Distribution System Infrastructure: A Summary Analysis of DG Benefits and Case Studies ‒ Conceptual Benefits to Deployment of DG for Grid Support, Task 1
Deployment of Distributed Generation for Grid Support and Distribution System Infrastructure: A Summary Analysis of DG Benefits and Case Studies ‒ DG Business Models, Task 2
Deployment of Distributed Generation for Grid Support and Distribution System Infrastructure: A Summary Analysis of DG Benefits and Case Studies ‒ Comparative Analysis of DG Implementation Models ,Task 3
Deployment of Distributed Generation for Grid Support and Distribution System Infrastructure: A Summary Analysis of DG Benefits and Case Studies ‒ Analysis of Regulatory Disincentives to Utility Ownership/Facilitation of DG and Remedial Policies, Task 4
Deployment of Distributed Generation for Grid Support and Distribution System Infrastructure: A Summary Analysis of DG Benefits and Case Studies ‒ Final Report Summary, Task 6
Ezra Hausman presented “Do RTOs Need a Capacity Market?” at the ELCON Fall Workshop and State Industrial Group Meeting on October 25, 2011. Topics covered included environmental compliance planning and energy costs, capacity markets’ paradigm flaws, and alternatives to capacity markets.
Together with Optimal Energy, Synapse examined the economic impacts of Energy Efficiency Utility investments in Vermont based on the 2012 budgets for energy efficiency spending proposed by the Vermont Department of Public Service. The costs, savings and economic benefits resulting from the efficiency programs were evaluated by sector (residential, commercial, industrial) and modeled over a 20-year study period (2012-2031) using the REMI PI+ economic model.
Synapse conducted a project for the International Joint Commission (IJC) to develop electricity price forecasts for the hydroelectric facilities along the U.S.-Canadian border in the Upper Great Lakes region. This was part of a larger study to evaluate operation of the structures and procedures for hydraulic operations in that region. The project produced electricity price forecasts through 2040 for the upper Midwest and the western region of New York, taking into consideration such factors as fuel prices, generation mix changes, and possible carbon costs.
Synapse assisted the Bureau of Consumer Protection in reviewing and critiquing Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power’s energy efficiency programs and triennial integrated resource plans. The analysis included the review of appropriate energy efficiency budgets and the role of energy efficiency in complying with the state’s renewable portfolio standard.
Tim Woolf presented “Energy Efficiency Cost-Effectiveness Tests” at the NEEP Annual Public Meeting on October 12, 2011.
Synapse assisted the Utility and Review Board with technical support on a variety of energy efficiency policies to support the aggressive amounts of energy efficiency provided by the Nova Scotia Efficiency Corporation, an independent efficiency program administrator. In April 2011, Synapse provided expert testimony on the appropriate way to consider rate and bill impacts associated with energy efficiency programs.
Tim Woolf presented on energy efficiency issues at the Efficiency Maine Symposium, “In Pursuit of Maine’s Least-Cost Energy.”
For this project, Synapse developed and presented three-year recommendations for aggressive energy-efficiency resource acquisition by Vermont’s energy-efficiency utility.
Synapse researched and wrote a paper describing the need for changes to PJM system planning procedures and rules in order to address the challenges of the 21st century. Changes include better forecasting of future loads, and resources that incorporate public policy goals and future efficiency trends. The report focuses on PJM’s current reform efforts, the compliance requirements of FERC NOPR on Transmission Planning (Order 1000), and the impact of EPA regulations. Ultimately, PJM must demonstrate that its planning process contributes to just and reasonable rates with no undue discrimination.
Synapse conducted analysis of economic and ratemaking issues associated with proposed smart grid projects.
Synapse conducted an evaluation of New Jersey Large Energy Users Coalition Request for mitigation of efficiency program surcharges.
For this project, Synapse performed analysis of economic and ratemaking issues associated with a proposed smart grid project.
For this project, Synapse provided expert testimony, comments, and litigation support in three cases before the Kentucky Public Service Commission involving resource planning and environmental upgrade expenditures by Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities (the Companies). In two certificate of public convenience and necessity cases, Synapse reviewed and critiqued the Companies’ proposals to invest billions of dollars in existing coal-fired power plants to make them compliant with potential environmental regulations that may apply to those plants. Synapse’s comments on the Companies’ 2011 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) covered the modeling process and assumptions regarding energy efficiency, load forecasts, renewable energy, and other supply-side alternatives. In all of these cases, our review included factors influencing the decision to retire a plant versus the costs of bringing a plant into compliance with anticipated environmental regulations. Testifying on behalf of the Sierra Club, Synapse demonstrated that the proposed investments at two of the Companies' coal-fired units were not reasonable because it was more cost-effective for the Companies to retire those two units and acquire replacement capacity and energy from other resources. In November 2011, the Companies entered a settlement under which they agreed to retire the two units as Synapse had recommended.
Synapse assisted the Project for Sustainable FERC Energy Policy for a three-month period in the fall of 2011 while the Project hired a full-time analyst/advocate. Synapse reviewed documents, filings, analyses, and reports related to wholesale bulk power system issues that would impact the goals of the Project. Our consulting services focused primarily on three RTOs: PJM, MISO, and ISO-NE.
Synapse reviewed whether Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company’s requested acquisition of the OU Spirit Facility, purchase of wind energy under wind energy purchase agreements with Keenan and Taloga, and resulting rate recovery were in the public interest.
Across the country, water demand from power plants is combining with pressure from growing populations and other needs and straining water resources, especially during droughts and heat waves. Synapse’s Jeremy Fisher contributed to a study from the Union of Concerned Scientists assessing both the effects of power plant cooling on water resources across the U.S., and the quality of information available to help public- and private-sector decision makers make water-smart energy choices.
Synapse analyzed and filed direct testimony regarding cost allocation and rate design issues in the Heritage Gas rate case on behalf of counsel for the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
Additional Evidence Regarding Heritage Gas Rate Case
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