For this project, Synapse provided a report comparing state IRP regulations.
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Synapse prepared a report examining integrated resource planning (IRP) regulations and rules in the United States. Among other things, the Synapse report examines required planning horizons, frequency with which plans must be updated, resources to be required, and rules regarding coal plant decommissioning.
Synapse provided expert testimony on behalf of the Sierra Club regarding Kansas Utility KCPL’s resource plan, and specifically their request for advanced ratemaking principles for substantial environmental upgrades for the company’s coal fleet. Synapse provided testimony on likely future environmental upgrade costs that should be considered in evaluating the long-term cost-effectiveness of KCPL’s coal fleet and on the appropriate regulatory treatment of these costs. In addition, Synapse reviewed and critiques KCPL’s modeling approach, input assumptions, and the robustness of the company’s scenario analysis. Project completed in 2011.
Synapse provided brief testimony before the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities outlining the carbon emissions and economic status of generation owned by Public Service of New Hampshire, a Northeast Utilities subsidiary. Project completed in 2011.
William Steinhurst of Synapse Energy Economics wrote a comprehensive report for the National Regulatory Research Institute providing basic information on the US electric industry. Project completed January 2011.
For this study, Synapse evaluated and compared two scenarios:
• Business as Usual (BAU): Under this scenario, the country continues to rely on fossil and nuclear generation to meet its energy needs, and electric-sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions continue to increase.
• Transition Scenario: Under this scenario, the country moves toward a power system based on efficiency and renewable energy, and CO2 emissions are reduced substantially. In the Transition Scenario, all U.S. coal-fired power plants are retired, along with nearly a quarter of the nation’s nuclear fleet, by 2050.
Synapse estimated the net costs and benefits of the Transition Scenario relative to BAU using a spreadsheet model that accounted for generating capacity, energy, fuel use, costs, emissions, and water use. The study found that the Transition Scenario was significantly less expensive than the BAU Scenario—saving a present value of $83 billion over 40 years. This finding was particularly striking, given that the BAU Scenario included no carbon costs or carbon reductions. Project completed in 2011.
For this project, Synapse researched and wrote a whitepaper on options for providing enhanced revenues to selected resources in PJM’s wholesale markets. Three categories of resources were evaluated: those that provide operational flexibility to respond to system needs in two hours or less, those that satisfy specific state and federal policies (such as renewable portfolio standards), and those that reduce the carbon footprint of system resources. Options for enhanced revenues evaluated in the study include energy, capacity, and reserve market revenues. An initial draft was presented at an ACSF workshop in October 2011. The final draft was produced in December 2011.
Synapse provided analytical and policy support to the Vermont Department of Public Service in its development of a State Comprehensive Energy Plan. Synapse assisted in the definition of energy future scenarios and analyzed the cost, emissions, and broader economics of these plans. Using Market Analytics, Synapse modeled base and alternative scenarios for energy efficiency targets and renewable procurement, in order to estimate the changes in wholesale electricity costs. Working with VT DPS, and using the REMI model, Synapse then modeled the economic impacts (in terms of jobs, real disposable income, and GSP) of these cost changes, and of the associated investments. Synapse also provided support for the development and presentation of the final plan.
Synapse provided expert testimony on the proposed long-term power purchase contract.
Synapse developed a competitive mechanism for the purchase of water efficiency resources in the Metropolitan Water District service territory of southern California. The project entailed writing a report for NRDC that described the competitive mechanism and how it would function. Synapse also provided explanations for the mechanism to various stakeholder groups, soliciting feedback, and modifying the recommendations.
For this project, Synapse reviewed wholesale market opportunities and recent revenues for demand response in ISO-New England, PJM, SPP, and MISO, with a particular focus on rules and revenues for backup generation. Project completed in August 2011.
Tim Woolf presented “Why Consumer Advocates Should Support Decoupling” at the 2011 ACEEE National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource on September 27, 2011.
This project entailed an analysis of the effect of the Commission Order of December 9, 2009 in Cause 42693 on the August 15, 2008 settlement agreement between the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) and Duke Energy Indiana.
Ezra Hausman presented “Addressing Climate Change While Protecting Consumers” at the NASUCA Annual Meeting on November 16, 2010. The presentation gives an overview of the impacts of global climate change and discusses options for regulatory/market innovations to reduce the impacts, including a new idea for pricing carbon and supporting low-carbon resources.
Synapse assisted the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel by reviewing filings regarding Baltimore Gas & Electric’s pilot AMI program, including the program design and choice, accelerated DSM implementation, technology options, cost-benefit analysis, cost recovery mechanisms and the level of sufficient recovery, and alternatives to the program. Synapse also conducted a similar review of filings by PEPCO and Delmarva to take actions similar to BGE.
Synapse analyzed cost allocation and rate design issues for the Alaska state Attorney General.
Synapse was hired to review issues with the acquisition of Constellation Energy Group (including Baltimore Gas and Electric Company) by Electricite de France. Our analysis focused on risks and financial impacts associated with the Calvert Cliffs nuclear station.
Synapse provided an analysis of the benefits and methodology associated with the Department of Energy’s value for carbon dioxide in its proposed appliance standard. In addition, Synapse provided recommendations on an alternative valuation of carbon dioxide based on the long-term marginal abatement cost of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
The project reviewed, critiqued and provided expert testimony on distributed generation and demand response aspects of Ontario Power Authority’s proposed “Integrated Power System Plan.”
Synapse analyzed two proposed Smart Grid Pilot Projects filed by Rockland Electric Company (RECO) that were awarded Department of Energy Smart Grid Grants. One proposed project would be to install automated distribution equipment in two substations within the RECO service territory. Another proposed project would incorporate distributable back-up battery storage technologies into existing solar photovoltaic systems installed within the RECO service territory. Although both projects were awarded federal stimulus funding that would defray 50% of approved costs, Synapse recommended that the battery storage system pilot project be funded through New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program since the results would benefit all New Jersey ratepayers, not just RECO ratepayers.
On behalf of the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Appalachian Voices, and the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, Synapse provided expert testimony regarding the 2009 integrated resource plan filed by the Appalachian Power Company.
Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT) Journal Square Urban Renewal applied to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for a ruling to enable it to submeter and charge tenants in its new project for electricity, in lieu of utility submetering. The proposal was tied to a plan to use in-house fuel cells to generate electricity. This project evaluated the application from the viewpoints of energy conservation and consumer protection.
On behalf of the Energy Foundation, Synapse prepared analysis of and reported on consumer impacts of federal climate legislation with and without supplemental investments in energy efficiency, by state, for the contiguous United States. Although the analysis was based on H.R. 2454 passed by Congress in 2009, the analytical approach and conclusions apply generally to cap-and-trade regulation.
Synapse was retained to collaborate with Nova Scotia Power on an update to its Integrated Resource Planning process. The planning was done subject to a hard cap on system carbon dioxide emissions, and other constraints. The resulting reference plan included aggressive development of wind and biomass, and rapid ramp-up of energy efficiency programs.
Synapse prepared expert reports on the planning and modeling conducted by defendants in a series of lawsuits involving the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act. This work has included a review of the Companies’ application of the PROMOD and PROSYM models and the development of PROSYM model runs to analyze the relationships between power plant availability, generation, and emissions.
Jeremy Fisher presented “Consumers at the Water/Energy Nexus” at the NASUCA Annual Conference on November 16, 2010. The presentation focuses on how to protect electricity and water consumers in a water-constrained world with measures such as requiring long-term water resource planning, pricing water by its social value for planning purposes (not by the utility’s contractual cost or a price of $0), and stress testing cross-sectoral plans by investigating how operations and consumer welfare will be affected under low water, high temperature conditions.
Synapse provided an explanation of why the IEE Whitepaper conclusions are not directly applicable to the varying situations of different utilities and different jurisdictions throughout the country.
On behalf of the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Appalachian Voices, and the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, Synapse provided expert testimony regarding the integrated resource plan filed by Dominion.
In 2010, Synapse developed a draft rule for the Arkansas Public Service Commission Staff specifying demand-side management reporting requirements. The reporting requirements were developed to:
- Enable the Commission and stakeholders to assess programs;
- Standardize reporting data across utilities;
- Clarify definitions;
- Ensure that utility DSM programs are comprehensive, thorough, cost-effective, and adhere to best practices;
- Enable a concise overview of resource allocation, savings, and trends in those items in order to further Commission and public understanding of demand-side management programs; and
- Maximize progress towards least-cost utility service via comprehensive acquisition of all cost-effective demand-side management resources.
William Steinhurst presented “Electricity Trends in Pennsylvania” to the Central Susquehanna Citizen’s Coalition on April 1, 2010. The presentation gives an overview of PJM and covers expiration of generation supply rate caps and electricity choice, net metering and feed-in tariffs for residential renewable generation, and Pennsylvania policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation.
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