Synapse analyzed the value that renewable resources offer when acting as a hedge against volatile fossil-fuel prices. The analysis focused on the risk of fossil-fuel prices increasing over time in response to future environmental regulations. Synapse prepared a summary of recent activities to regulate or otherwise control CO2 emissions, and developed a quantitative estimate of the hedge value of emission-free renewables. The results were presented in the testimony of Tim Woolf before the California Public Utilities Commission, Docket No. 01-10-024. Project completed in April 2003.
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Synapse worked with UCS to encourage the development of effective load response programs in New England and to ensure that such programs were consistent with the long term goal of environmental quality. This project identified options for “clean” load response, determined how to incorporate these options in load response programs, and worked through stakeholder and regulatory processes to develop effective load response programs. In addition, Synapse participated in regional coordination efforts on load response with Pace Energy Center and Project for Sustainable FERC Energy Policy. Project completed in December 2003.
Synapse examined the feasibility and costs of meeting Ontario's commitments under the US-Canadian Ozone Annex by phasing out coal generation at the Nanticoke and Lambton power stations. Project completed in April 2003.
Synapse prepared a report on the proposed Maryland Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The analysis examined benefits of the policy, experiences in other states, elements of a successful RPS, renewable power generation resource options, and projected cost impacts of the policy. Project completed in April 2003.
Synapse analyzed settlement agreements in two Vermont rate cases and made recommendations for clarification and modification; specifically, the return on equity in one of the settlements was found to be too high. Neil Talbot prepared testimony that supported an alternative return. Project completed in December 2003.
Rate Schedules Analyzing Settlements in VT Electric Utility Rate Cases
Synapse conducted multi-area electricity market simulation analysis using the PROSYM-MULTISYM model to support analysis of generation, transmission, and demand-side resource options available to serve electric service needs in New York City. Project completed in April 2003.
Synapse examined the economic theory and methodology supporting the calculation of environmental externality values. These values were used in distributed utility planning in Vermont. The analysis was conducted by Dr. Frank Ackerman, Director of the Research and Policy Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University. Project completed in February 2003.
At the request of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, the Maine Office of the Public Advocate, and the New Hampshire Office of Consumer Advocate, Synapse analyzed the impact that the FERC’s incentive pricing policy would have on New England transmission costs. The report details the results of that analysis based on estimates of the value of New England’s transmission facilities, as well as the value of facilities proposed for construction over the next several years.
The Nevada Public Utilities Commission opened a docket to revisit the integrated resource planning regulations that have guided utility planning over the last decade. The regulations have been updated to account for new renewable portfolio standard requirements in Nevada, as well as recent developments in the electricity industry. Synapse assisted the BCP in providing comments at Commission workshops and in recommending modifications for the new regulations. Topics included the identification and evaluation of appropriate supply-side resources, the design and evaluation of demand-side resources, the integration of demand and supply-side resources, load forecasting, accounting for environmental impacts, and cost recovery issues.
Synapse estimated the potential for implementing cost-effective efficiency programs on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard through the year 2015. The estimates were based on efficiency measures and programs included in the Compact’s Energy Efficiency Plan: 2003-2007, and thus were based on real-world efficiency opportunities. The study investigated several different scenarios, including one to eliminate future load growth and one to stabilize CO2 emissions. Project completed in May 2003.
Synapse performed a comprehensive assessment of the emissions impacts of demand response programs in New England. As ISO New England continues to refine its nascent electricity markets, there is widespread interest in facilitating demand response (DR) -- the ability for customers to respond to high prices by reducing electricity use or producing their own electricity onsite. There is also widespread interest in the net air emissions impacts of DR.
Synapse assessed the net emissions impacts of selected DR programs using the PROSYM/PROMOD dispatch model. The programs assessed included the economic DR program proposed by ISO New England for the summer of 2003, an economic DR program proposed by the New England Demand Response Initiative (NEDRI) for the summer of 2004, and several scenarios that explored key variables and uncertainties in these programs. In addition, Synapse modeled several energy efficiency programs in order to compare the emissions impacts of these programs to the DR programs. For all programs assessed, Synapse explored both the emissions impacts of DR operation and the impacts of new DR capacity on ISO unit commitment. Project completed in May 2003.
Synapse reviewed whether Central Maine Power Company's proposed 69 kV transmission was needed to ensure adequate system capability and reliability in York County, Maine or whether a lower voltage line, demand side management, and/or distributed generation would have been adequate. Synapse also evaluated whether part of the proposed line could have been installed underground or inside existing transmission line rights of way. Project completed in July 2003.
In testimony filed at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in September and October 2003, Synapse found that the Wisconsin Public Service Corporation was over-collecting from ratepayers for funds that would be needed to decommission the Kewaunee Nuclear Plant at the projected end of its service life. Project completed in September 2003.
Surrebuttal Testimony Reviewing Kewaunee Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Costs
Synapse evaluated technical and economic issues related to Entergy Arkansas' decision to replace the steam generators and the reactor vessel head at the Arkansas Nuclear One Unit 1 nuclear plant. Project completed in June 2003.
Direct Testimony of Neil Talbot in the Empire District Electric Co. General Rate Case
On behalf of the Regulatory Assistance Project and the Energy Foundation, Synapse prepared a manual on Portfolio Management that reflects state-of-the-art thinking on integrated resource planning, energy efficiency program planning, and risk management for electric utilities. Project completed in October 2003.
Tim Woolf presented “Potential Cost Impacts of a Vermont Renewable Portfolio Standard” to the Vermont RPS Collaborative on September 11, 2003. The presentation summarized Synapse’s report of the same name prepared for the Vermont Public Service Board.
In July 2003, NRDC retained Synapse to develop a white paper reviewing the literature on selected benefits of a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The resulting report was titled "Cleaner Air, Fuel Diversity, and High-Quality Jobs: Reviewing Selected Potential Benefits of an RPS in New York State." The report was submitted by The Renewable Energy Technology and Environment Coalition (RETEC) in the New York Public Service Commission's proceeding reviewing the proposed New York RPS.
Subsequently, Synapse commented on work submitted by other parties. During August and September 2003, Synapse evaluated studies of the potential cost of such a standard prepared by other parties and summarized the findings in a report titled "Comments on the RPS Cost Analyses of the Joint Utilities and the DPS Staff." This report was also submitted by RETEC for the record in that proceeding. In June 2004, the Public Service Commission issued a recommended decision in support of the RPS. Project completed in August 2003.
Synapse examined whether PG&E could independently decide to permanently retire one or more of the generating units at its Salem Harbor Station. The results of this analysis were presented in testimony submitted to the Joint Committees of the Massachusetts Legislature on Government Regulations and Energy. Project completed in March 2003.
Synapse reviewed and critiqued the Hydro-Quebec Energy Efficiency Plan: 2003-2006, and investigated opportunities for improvement or expansion. The review focused on the design of residential programs, as well as budgetary priorities and rate impacts. It also included a comparison with leading energy efficiency programs offered by US electric utilities. Project completed in April 2003.
Synapse reviewed TransGas Energy’s proposal to build an 1100 MW combustion turbine facility on the East River in Brooklyn, New York. Among the issues addressed by Synapse was whether the proposed plant would produce economic, environmental, and reliability benefits for the electric systems in New York City and/or New York State. Project completed in November 2003.
Rebuttal Testimony Reviewing a Proposed 1100 MW Power Plant in Brooklyn NY
Surrebuttal Testimony Reviewing a Proposed 1100 MW Power Plant in Brooklyn NY
Synapse reviewed Kings Park Energy’s proposal to build a 300 MW combustion turbine facility in Suffolk County, New York to determine whether the proposed plant would produce economic, environmental, and reliability benefits on Long Island and/or in New York State. Synapse also examined whether the repowering of existing generating facilities near the proposed site on Long Island would be a reasonable alternative for achieving the same or greater environmental benefits. Project completed in January 2003.
Synapse reviewed recent efforts to estimate emission reductions from renewable energy and energy efficiency in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The CEC was interested in developing a comparable methodology to calculate displaced emissions from these technologies across North America. Working with consultants in Mexico and Canada, Synapse assessed recent efforts to quantify the benefits of energy efficiency and renewables and presented the key methodological challenges and best practices in such quantification efforts. Project completed in September 2003.
Synapse reviewed the power procurement and risk management practices of Nevada Power Company and Sierra Pacific Power Company in the Western markets for a test year that included the summer of 2002. The results of this review were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald (PUCN Dockets 02-11021 and 03-1014). Project completed in May 2003.
Following the 2003 Blackout, a group of Synapse authors published an article in The Electricity Journal about system reliability. Access “The 2003 Blackout: Solutions that Won’t Cost a Fortune” here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040619003001374.
Synapse reviewed Reliant Energy’s proposal to repower its Astoria Generating Station in Queens County, New York. The analysis focused on whether the plant would produce environmental and reliability benefits in New York City and/or New York State. Synapse also reviewed the Applicant’s strategy for mitigating salt deposition from the proposed repowered facility. This assessment led to a proposed settlement among the parties in the case. Project completed in March 2003.
On behalf of its New England consumer advocacy clients, Synapse prepared a paper reviewing the structure and history of the New England wholesale electricity markets, examining market design, and reviewing various options for pricing capacity resources. The paper concludes with a brief review of future market design initiatives.
Synapse and Resource Insight prepared estimates of the market value of eight hydro-electric generation facilities in Vermont. These facilities were assessed using the income approach, the replacement cost approach and the comparable sales approach. The income approach relied upon computer simulation modeling of the New England electricity market. Project completed in 1999, with subsequent support following negotiations continuing until May 2003
Synapse worked with Resource Insight to estimate the value of a power plant site leased by the regulated utility company to its affiliate generating company for use at a new combustion turbine generating facility. Project completed in February 2003.
Synapse reviewed the plans of two large Iowa utilities to comply with environmental regulations. This included the analysis of generating plant air emission control options, costs, and effectiveness. Project completed in June 2002.
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