Synapse was contracted by the Energy Foundation to perform a re-analysis of an econometric study regarding the cost of energy efficiency nationwide. The initial study examined trends in several hundred utility power deliveries, and structured a regression model to predict the impact of demand-side management (DSM) spending on ultimate deliveries to consumers. The study found a relatively high cost of energy efficiency, indicating that fairly little energy efficiency could be achieved, and at a high cost. The re-analysis examined initial data assumptions and the validity of the model construct in close cooperation with the initial study's authors. The final deliverable of this project us a white paper and executive briefing for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Information Administration, both charged with modeling the atmospheric impacts and costs of pending climate legislation in the U.S.
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Along with Eastern Research Group, Synapse provided the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection with a set of factsheets detailing specific greenhouse gas reduction strategies and resources that could be incorporated into projects subject to Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act requirements.
Synapse was retained to advise CERES on issues related to the long-term future of regulated electric utilities. Specific topics included financing of de-carbonization efforts and ratemaking issues for energy efficiency.
Synapse was contracted by the State of Utah to estimate the water and health co-benefits of implementing energy efficiency (EE) and increasing renewable energy (RE) resources in Utah. This modeling-based exercise drew upon power system expertise at Synapse, civil engineering at Tufts University, and emissions-receptor modeling from the Harvard School of Public Health. New EE and RE resources reduced in-state demand, which reduced some aspects of in-state generation. Synapse and team members identified current and future water and health externalities from baseline generation and load growth; co-benefits are identified as the difference between externalities from baseline generation and the EE/RE scenarios. For this project, Synapse modified an in-house statistically-based hourly dispatch model, developed using publicly available historical generation and emissions data. Future build-out and resource replacement were explicitly modeled. Total generation and emissions from each scenario were used to estimate externalities and associated costs: water consumption was based on reported water use for unit-specific cooling systems; the externality cost of water was the regional marginal cost of water, derived from transaction data; mortality and morbidity were calculated from the formation, dispersion, and geographically distributed population uptake of primary and secondary particulates and ozone; externality values were based on the statistical value of life and healthcare costs for hospital visits and lost productivity.
Co-Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Utah - Presentation
Synapse analyzed a scenario for the Civil Society Institute in which energy efficiency and renewable energy replace coal-fired power generation by 2050. The analysis divided the country into eight regions and investigated how each region could phase out coal-fired electricity. The study found that, by 2050, expanded energy efficiency efforts could reduce electricity demand from current levels by 15 percent and that renewable energy could provide nearly half of the 2050 demand. Importantly, the coal-fired generation could be eliminated without increasing the country's reliance on nuclear power. The plan would involve modest near-term costs but would save money over the long term. "Beyond Business as Usual: Investigating a Future without Coal and Nuclear Power in the U.S" was released in May 2010.
Synapse provided technical advice and guidance to Plains Justice, which was a stakeholder in a process to implement the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) order to increase the quantity of energy saved by energy efficiency measures to 1.5% annually. Earlier, Synapse testified in an IUB hearing that this level of savings was both achievable and cost-effective.
Synapse provided technical services during the discovery phase of a rate case in connection with the adequacy of decommissioning fund collections.
Synapse analyzed the potential ratepayer impacts of a proposed new Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (“IGCC”) generating facility in Kemper County, Mississippi.
Synapse provided expert witness services during the Mississippi PSC’s consideration of several newly enacted PURPA standards relating to resource planning and DSM.
Synapse provided expert advice on and analysis of energy efficiency and CHP 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’ monthly performance, designs and budgets, avoided energy supply cost estimates, cost-benefit analyses, energy savings protocols, EM&V studies, and overall administrative structure. We also periodically reviewed and commented on New Jersey Energy Master Plans, and on a three-year energy efficiency program plan called the Comprehensive Resource Analyses.
Synapse prepared a review of and testimony on the NSPI 2010 DSM program, budget, and cost recovery proposal.
Synapse assisted the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) with its intervention in the case pertaining to Philadelphia Gas Works’ (PGW) first five-year gas demand-side management plan, submitted to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in 2009. Synapse provided the OCA technical support for the collaborative stakeholder processes, including discovery and settlement processes, and prepared testimony in several key areas, including: program designs, program implementation schedules, budget, coordination with other entities, cost-effectiveness, rate and bill impacts, cost recovery, and lost revenue mechanism.
Synapse prepared a report for EarthJustice examining the need to analyze federal and state public policy mandates in planning processes for the bulk power system.
Synapse and Lanzalotta Associates performed a review and critique the CMP and MPS application for a new 345 kV transmission line in northern Maine.
Synapse provided technical assistance and advice to NEEP in a project that 1) determined how states in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic measure the energy savings from their energy efficiency programs and 2) evaluated how these energy savings are in turn converted into displaced emissions that air regulators can consider as part of their air quality plans. Project completed in 2010.
For this project, Synapse reviewed company filings and identified electric reliability and infrastructure related issues in the support of legal briefs that were filed as part the Company’s base rate case.
Synapse reviewed the Title V air quality permit for the PSNH Merrimack power plant and developed comments for submission to the New Hampshire DES. The comments provided recommendations to improve the enforceability of the permit; ensured that emissions were appropriately monitored, recorded and reported; and that the anticipated emissions reductions would occur.
Alaska Energy Authority hired Black and Veatch (B&V) to develop an IRP for the Railbelt region of Alaska. This is the region that covers the area from roughly Fairbanks to Seward and where the bulk of Alaska’s population resides. B&V’s IRP evaluated the resources it believes Alaska will require over the next 50 years to meet its energy demand. Synapse developed comments for the client that included an assessment of generation technologies (including renewables), their costs and benefits, transmission and reliability requirements, and what Alaska should consider in its resource planning.
Synapse performed a preliminary assessment of Eastern Kentucky Power Cooperative’s 2008 resource planning.
Synapse evaluated the Integrated Resource Plan filing of Delmarva Power and Light. Synapse reviewed the way in which the plan complied or did not comply with state directives on integrated resource planning and provision of default service supply. Synapse also provided advice to the Commission on related issues with Delaware's RFP for new generation to be long-term contracted with Delmarva. The first phase of the project was completed in 2009, and a second phase was completed in 2010.
In conjunction with Lanzalotta & Associates, Synapse performed a review and critique of the CMP application for a 1.5 billion transmission project in Maine, MPRP.
Surrebuttal Testimony In Regard to the Maine Power Reliability Program
Synapse, as a subcontractor to Resource Insight, Inc., provided expert testimony on portfolio management alternatives to the Companies’ proposed declining clock auction for rolling three-year, slice of system contracts.
Synapse provided expert testimony on the IRP submitted to the Virginia PUC by Dominion. Key issues included energy efficiency programs, conservation voltage reduction, and supply portfolios.
Synapse evaluated questions that public utility commissions and stakeholders can ask if they want smart grid investments to improve distribution system efficiency, focusing on conservation voltage reduction and optimizing voltage and var control.
Synapse was hired to assist the Low Income Energy Affordability Network (LEAN) on technical issues in its low-income multi-family program. In particular, we reviewed the existing data format for communicating cost and savings information to program administrators, and the program’s cost-effectiveness methodologies and outputs. We then made recommendations to improve the cost-effectiveness methods as well as transparency, documentation of the overall process, and credibility of the outputs.
Synapse provided expert witness services in a proceeding to review SCE&G’s proposed DSM programs. Topics included cost-benefit testing, inclusion of carbon costs, cost allocation, and DSM services for hard-to-reach customers including limited-income customers.
Kenji Takahashi presented “Review of Utility DG Business Models for New York” at the Northeast CHP Initiative Meeting in New York on April 13, 2010. He presented case studies (Detroit Edison, National Grid, and Austin Energy) and discussed the feasibility of utility owned distributed generation for New York.
Synapse conducted a high level analysis to determine the benefits of using the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds to fund energy efficiency programs in the ten participating states. With the benefit of one year of auctions, RGGI auctions generated almost $600 million in proceeds with almost half that amount devoted to energy efficiency. Our original analysis, completed in 2010, found that in states with a focus on electricity energy efficiency programs, the benefits range from $2.17 to $3.76 for every dollar of program cost. Some states chose to fund all fuels programs, whereas other states used their proceeds to fund more traditional electric energy efficiency programs. Our analysis focused on the electricity energy efficiency benefits, but recognized that fuel efficiency programs provide substantial benefits. This analysis was updated in 2012, and includes an evaluation of other fuel programs funded through RGGI.
Energy Benefits Resulting from the Investment of 2010 RGGI Auction Revenues in Energy Efficiency
Synapse reviewed company filings and identified electric reliability and infrastructure related issues in the support of legal briefs that were filed as part the Company’s base rate case.
Synapse provided expert witness services for a multi-utility proceeding before the Florida Public Service Commission concerning setting new ten-year goals for utility electric DSM programs. Synapse testimony focused on DSM ratemaking, cost-effectiveness testing, and selected program design issues.
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