Prior to the 2005 solicitation of supply bids to serve Maine standard offer customers, the Maine Office of Public Advocate requested that Synapse evaluate the 2004 standard offer procurement rules developed and implemented by the Maine Public Utilities Commission pursuant to ME PUC Docket No. 2004-147. Synapse filed comments in the proceeding that recommended the adoption of a portfolio management approach. Key elements included a multi-year procurement horizon and the specific acquisition of renewable resources as a hedge against fossil fuel price uncertainty. Project completed in September 2005.
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Reply Comments in Docket No. 2004-147: Strategies for Procuring Residential and Small Commercial Standard Offer Supply in Maine
Procuring Default Service: Relationships between Contract Duration and Contract Price
Synapse investigated whether the proposed sale of the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant was in the interest of the ratepayers. Among the issues addressed in Synapse’s testimony were the plant’s likely costs and operating performance; whether the plant could and should be relicensed; the risks of selling the plant and building a new coal plant in its place; likely future market prices; and whether the proposed sale was structured to benefit shareholders or ratepayers. Project completed in November 2005.
Surrebuttal Testimony of Ezra Hausman Regarding the Retirement of Duane Arnold Energy Center
Direct Testimony of David Schlissel Regarding the Retirement of Duane Arnold Energy Center
Surrebuttal Testimony of David Schlissel Regarding the Retirement of Duane Arnold Energy Center
Synapse investigated the impact that the March 1979 accident has had on the cost of decommissioning Three Mile Island Unit 2. Synapse also evaluated whether ratepayers should have to pay these additional costs. Finally, Synapse examined whether the Three Mile Island Unit 2 decommissioning funds are already fully funded given the likelihood that the start of decommissioning of the facility will be significantly later than previously planned. Project completed March 2005.
Synapse assisted a coalition of intervening parties in a utility environmental compliance settlement involving a multi-unit coal and oil generation station in Salem, MA. Synapse provided an analysis of the impact of future transmission upgrades on the reliability need for coal and oil units that were out of compliance with Massachusetts environmental regulations for air emissions. The interveners were considering possible settlement strategies to allow for the continued operation of the non-compliant units contingent on the addition of specific short-term remedial actions to reduce emissions. Project completed in September 2005.
Synapse conducted electricity price forecasts for St. Lawrence hydro plants. Project completed in March 2005.
Synapse analyzed the procurement approaches used by Ohio utilities for providing default service to retail electricity customers. Project completed June 2005.
Through a grant from The Energy Foundation, Synapse provided technical support to several environmental groups participating in the northeastern Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The clients included: Environment Northeast, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Union of Concerned Scientists. Synapse was involved in reviewing the inputs for the RGGI modeling work and helped the client groups analyze and comment on the modeling results. Project completed in June 2005.
Synapse provided consulting services to the Board regarding its evaluation of Nova Scotia Power’s Open Access Transmission Tariff proposal. Nova Scotia is one of the last remaining Canadian provinces to consider adoption of the US FERC 888 pro forma tariff structure. Synapse evaluated the tariff application and provided expert witness testimony to the Board, focusing on issues that included generation interconnection standards, ancillary service rates, and reciprocity concerns. Project completed in September 2005.
Synapse reviewed numerous categories of documents provided by the defendants during discovery related to Clean Air Act lawsuits against American Electric Power Company and Cinergy Corporation and evaluated whether the public release of these materials would cause competitive harm to the companies. Project completed in January 2005.
The Connecticut DPUC has opened a proceeding to consider possible Alternative Transitional Standard Offers (TSOs) authorized by the legislature. On behalf of the Office of Consumer Counsel, Synapse prepared recommendations for how to structure and procure Alternative TSOs for both renewable energy and energy efficiency products made available to residential and small commercial customers who do not shop for competitive offers. Project completed in November 2004.
Synapse conducted an analysis of several case study utilities in PJM. Synapse estimated the unbundled pre-deregulation prices for the generation portion of bundled electric service and indexed those prices forward in time to allow for comparison with the deregulated generation service market prices. Project completed in August 2004.
Amy Roschelle and Paul Peterson presented “Best Practices in Procurement of Basic Electric Service for Residential and Small C&I Customers: The end of the transition period in Massachusetts” before the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General on May 17, 2004.
Synapse testified and prepared recommendations to the California PUC with regard to California's long-term resource plans for electric utilities. In particular, Synapse focused on making sure plans were clear, comprehensive, forward-looking, and integrated, especially with respect to renewables generation and energy efficiency. To do this, Synapse focused on the concept of scenario planning with respect to carbon emission regulation and gas price forecasts, as well as making sure that transmission lines would be in place to serve renewable generation facilities. In addition, Synapse examined the effect of debt equivalency on long-term contracts for renewables. As a result of our contribution, the CPUC lowered the value of debt equivalency on all long-term contracts. In addition, the CPUC adopted our recommendation regarding carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions with regard to their use in fossil fuel plants. Specifically, the CPUC will consider cleaner generation sources more cost-effective than fossil fuel plant generation sources if the cleaner generation sources prevent carbon emissions at a cost of less than $8 - $25 per ton. Project completed in December 2004.
Rebuttal Testimony Reviewing California Utilities Long Term Resource Plans
Synapse reviewed and reported on mechanisms designed to ensure resource adequacy for regions that have adopted ISO-administered competitive wholesale energy markets. These include demand curves as well as alternative mechanisms.
Synapse and Tellus Institute developed a plan for the aggressive implementation of energy efficiency and renewable resources in seven Interior West states. The analysis included PROSYM electricity market simulation modeling, a technical assessment of cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities, a technical and economic assessment of renewable resource potential, and the development of policies for overcoming market barriers to these clean resources. The study also assessed the role of renewable and distributed generation resources in addressing transmission constraints.
Synapse assisted the company in a rule-making proceeding concerning small, customer-sited distributed generation. Project completed in July 2004.
Bruce Biewald presented “Electric Transmission Technical and Policy Issues” before the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates in Austin, Texas on June 14, 2004.
Synapse evaluated the rate filing of Public Service of Indiana. The results of this evaluation were presented in testimony before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Project completed in July 2004.
Bruce Biewald presented “Electricity Portfolio Management” at the Illinois State University Institute for Regulatory Policy Studies Conference on “Beyond 2006” in Springfield, Illinois on May 20, 2004.
Bruce Biewald presented “Estimating Emissions Reductions from Energy Efficiency in the Northeast” at the ACEEE Summer Study in California in August 2004.
Building on our 2003 work for the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), Synapse analyzed several non-modeling based methods of estimating emission reductions from energy efficiency and renewable energy. Based on a review of numerous papers, Synapse identified three common methods of estimating emission reductions using simplifying assumptions about power system dynamics. Synapse assessed the extent to which each of these methods was likely to provide an accurate and credible assessment of emission reductions. The most promising method sought to identify the marginal generating unit(s) in the relevant system based on a load curve analysis. The report identified several aspects of this method that need to be further investigated to determine how robust the method is. Project completed in November 2004.
Synapse conducted a comprehensive assessment of BC Hydro’s Power Smart energy efficiency programs. The assessment included the review of program design, program cost-effectiveness, program budgets, and BC Hydro’s assumptions regarding program costs and benefits. The analysis indicated the Power Smart programs to be highly cost-effective and well-designed, and that the Company should pursue additional efficiency opportunities. Synapse also found that the rate impacts of the Power Smart programs are likely to be small and should not hinder the Power Smart programs or their expansion. The results of the analysis were provided in direct testimony of Tim Woolf, filed before the British Columbia Public Service Commission on April 20, 2004. Project completed in August 2004.
Bruce Biewald presented “Incorporating Renewable Generation into a Risk Management Strategy” at the New England Conference of Public Utility Commissioners in Brewster, Massachusetts on May 25, 2004.
In “Long-Term Power Contracts: The Art of The Deal,” published in Public Utilities Fortnightly, Synapse authors discuss long-term cooperative supplier relationships. Access the article here: http://www.fortnightly.com/fortnightly/2004/08/long-term-power-contracts-art-deal.
Synapse developed and analyzed scenarios for the electric power system in the United States, comparing “business as usual” with a clean energy development path. Project completed in May 2004.
Synapse evaluated whether California utilities should be allowed to enter into long-term contracts for liquid natural gas (LNG). As part of this evaluation, Synapse investigated the need for additional natural gas supplies in California in light of the potential savings in gas use from the repowering of older, inefficient power plants and the potential impact of aggressive energy conservation and renewables on natural gas demand. Project completed in March 2004.
Synapse investigated the practicality and cost of installing cooling towers at the Indian Point nuclear power plants. Synapse also evaluated the operating cost and reliability impacts of installing such cooling towers. Project completed in March 2004.
Synapse reviewed and summarized literature on the costs and performance of nuclear power plants in the United States. Project completed in December 2004.
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