Synapse provided an economic valuation of the Bellows Falls hydroelectric facility as of April 2006 for the Town of Rockingham, VT.
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The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) retained Synapse to review, from a public policy perspective, the merits of long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) between developers of wind power projects and providers of retail electric supply service (“load serving entities” or LSEs) in restructured electric markets. This review found that long-term PPAs encourage the development and/or expansion of wind power projects. Using Massachusetts as a case study, Synapse found that long-term PPAs provide several important benefits to customers of the contracting LSEs in particular, and to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Commonwealth) in general. The benefits of the PPAs to the customers of the contracting LSEs include mitigation of price volatility, mitigation of future increases in prices and reduction in the cost of RPS compliance reflected in those prices. In addition, because long-term PPAs encourage the development and/or expansion of wind power projects, they provide additional benefits to the customers of the contracting LSEs, and to the Commonwealth in general, in the form of reductions in dependence on natural gas, increased generation diversity, and reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide.
Synapse was hired to analyze the costs and effectiveness of supply-side and load-side up approaches for state carbon reduction policy for the electric power sector. Bruce Biewald prepared a simple Excel model and presented the results to CPUC/CEC.
Exploration of Costs for Load Side and Supply Side Carbon Caps for California Excel Workbook
Synapse reviewed the electric DSM programs of Tampa Electric Company (TECO or the Company), and identification of increases the Company could achieve to its planned DSM impacts on energy requirements and peak demands. Testimony of David Nichols identified additional potential based on two cost-effectiveness perspectives. Testimony was filed in FL Public Service Commission Docket No. 07-0467-EI concerning the determination of need for a new TECo power plant. TECo withdrew its application before the testimony was scheduled to be heard by the Commission.
Synapse’s Dr. Ezra Hausman submitted testimony before the Massachusetts State Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies regarding global climate change science and the benefits of a revenue neutral carbon tax.
Live Testimony on The Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax Study Bill
On the basis of Synapse’s analysis of likely future CO2 prices and a presentation by Synapse staff at a March 2007 workshop, the New Mexico Commission adopted a range of projected levelized CO2 emission allowance costs of between $8 and $40 that electric utilities will have to use in their future resource planning.
Chris James presented “The Business Case for Energy Efficiency: How to Bend the Curve” before the International Joint Commission in Bismarck, North Dakota on October 4, 2007.
David Schlissel presented “The Risks of Building New Nuclear Power Plants” before the Utah State Legislature Public Utilities and Technology Committee on September 19, 2007. The presentation covers the historical costs of nuclear construction; factors behind rising power plant construction costs; the economics of new nuclear units; and additional risks for plant owners and investors.
Assisted the valuation consultant retained by the Town of Jay by analyzing the expectations regarding the gas-fired cogeneration facility project's long-term annual revenues and operating costs for two set points in time.
In collaboration with Raab Associates, Synapse provided a summary overview of the background and context for implementation of the Least Cost Electricity Procurement in Rhode Island and an outline of the major issues associated with its implementation.
Synapse provided the Ohio Office of the Consumer Counsel and other consumer advocates with assistance in evaluating PJM's proposed Reliability Pricing Model (RPM) for capacity markets. Synapse reviewed, proposed modifications, and intervened in a contested process at FERC to determine the final design of the RPM capacity market. Our efforts helped secure modifications to the model that will save state ratepayers in PJM hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In addition, Synapse assisted the Office with transmission planning for economic and reliability upgrades (including cost allocation).
Synapse provided the Office of the People's Counsel with assistance in evaluating PJM's proposed Reliability Pricing Model (RPM) for capacity markets. On behalf of DC OPC and other consumer advocates in the PJM wholesale power system, Synapse reviewed, proposed modifications, and intervened in a contested process at FERC to determine the final design of the RPM capacity market. Synapse provided assistance to DC OPC in all phases of the review, comments, technical conferences, and settlement processes, and our efforts helped secure modifications to the model that will save state ratepayers in PJM hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In addition, Synapse assisted the Office with transmission planning for economic and reliability upgrades (including cost allocation).
Synapse was retained to analyze and critique NSPI's application for an air emissions strategy to meet Provincial emission compliance regulations. Our focus was upon the alternatives and methodology used by NSPI to determine its preferred option for SO2 and NOX reduction. We reviewed the Company's STRATEGIST model runs.
Supplemental Evidence Regarding the Review of NSPI Emissions Compliance Plan
Synapse reviewed SIGECO's (Vectren's) environmental compliance plan and prepared testimony addressing system planning, the proper role of demand-side management and renewables in compliance planning, and the need to anticipate climate policy and carbon prices. Synapse's analysis and recommendations are presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald in Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Cause No. 42861.
Synapse evaluated the potential for developing better alternatives for moving electricity produced by renewable technologies from the San Diego County/Imperial County/Baja region into San Diego than the new 500 kV transmission line proposed by San Diego Gas & Electric.
Synapse evaluated the fairness of Empire Electric’s proposed rate treatment of off-system sales and consideration of a fuel clause adjustment. Synapse critiqued Empire’s modeling of fuel costs and projections of natural gas prices as part of a proceeding before the Missouri Public Service Commission and supported expert testimony before that commission. Project completed in November 2006.
Synapse evaluated the fairness of Kansas City Power and Light’s proposed rate treatment of off-system sales. KCPL proposed an unorthodox accounting treatment allocating “margins” or profit with an “Unused Energy” allocator. Synapse provided support for expert testimony before the Missouri Public Service Commission. Project completed in November 2006.
Synapse investigated a number of issues in a rate case: 1) whether Arizona Public Service’s (APS) acquisition of the Sundance Generating Station was prudent; 2) whether the amounts that APS requested for Operating & Maintenance expenditures (“O&M”) for the PWEC Units and the Sundance Plant were reasonable; and 3) the generation and associated costs included in APS’ base rate application. Synapse found that APS’ acquisition of the Sundance Plant was reasonable and prudent. However, we found that the Company’s requested power plant O&M was unreasonably high and should be reduced for both plants. Project completed in February 2006.
Direct Testimony of Rick Hornby Regarding the Audit of the Fuel and Purchase Power Practices of the Arizona Public Service Company
Surrebuttal Testimony of David Schlissel Regarding the Audit of the Fuel and Purchase Power Practices of the Arizona Public Service Company
Surrebuttal Testimony of Rick Hornby Regarding the Audit of the Fuel and Purchase Power Practices of the Arizona Public Service Company
Synapse evaluated the potential benefits and costs associated with the deployment of Broadband Over Power lines (BPL) in a utility’s service territory. The potential benefits of BPL include the ability to use the existing power lines and the wiring inside homes and other buildings to offer enhanced energy services and load control, to facilitate the use of distributed generation, for automatic meter reading, to provide internet and other informational services to customers, and for increased system monitoring and outage detection. Project completed in March 2006.
Synapse was asked to evaluate alternatives to the Broadwater LNG import facility, proposed as a floating storage and regasification facility to be located in Long Island Sound. Synapse concluded that the region does not have a pressing need for a new baseload resource to provide natural gas, and the region's energy needs for the next decade can readily be met through energy efficiency, implementation of existing renewable energy goals, expanded use of combined heat and power, and repowering of existing power plants. Finally, we found that there are other options for increasing gas supply to the region which would be far preferable to the Broadwater proposal. The most promising of these includes two LNG import facilities already under construction in Eastern Canada, together with the planned expansion of the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline from Eastern Canada into the northeastern United States. Project completed in February 2006.
Synapse evaluated the reasonable costs of decommissioning the Diablo Canyon, San Onofre, and Palo Verde nuclear power plants. Synapse recommended significant reductions in the annual decommissioning costs that needed to be collected from ratepayers. The case was settled with the companies agreeing to substantially reduce their requested annual decommissioning cost collections. Project completed in May 2006.
Synapse provided technical and managerial support to the Cape Light Compact as part of the Compact’s investigation of cooperative business models that may assist the Compact in furthering its goals. Project completed in November 2006.
This report is designed to assist utilities, regulators, consumer advocates and others in projecting the future cost of complying with carbon dioxide regulations in the United States. These cost forecasts are necessary for use in long-term electricity resource planning, in electricity resource economics, and in utility risk management.
After a Technical Conference in February 2006 on PJM capacity market and reliability issues, FERC provided a comment period for parties to make supplemental statements. Synapse assisted a broad coalition of PJM Members (Coalition of Consumers for Reliability, CCR) in developing Comments. Synapse also provided an affidavit from Ezra Hausman that described concerns with PJM's process for establishing the "cost of new entry" (CONE) for a typical peaking unit. This specific project is part of a larger on-going effort that assists the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate with PJM wholesale market and bulk power transmission system issues. These Comments were filed in FERC Dockets ER05-1410-000 and EL05-148-000. Project completed in June 2006.
RPM 2006: Windfall Profits for Existing Base Load Units in PJM
Affidavit of Ezra Hausman for FERC Technical Conference on RPM
Post-Technical Conference Comments on FERC Technical Conference on RPM
Pre-Conference Comments on FERC Technical Conference on Proposed Variable Resource Requirement (VRR) Curve in PJM
Post-Technical Comments on FERC Technical Conference on Proposed Variable Resource Requirement (VRR) Curve in PJM
Synapse reviewed the gas supply strategy and proposed rate recovery of Connecticut Natural Gas. Project completed in December 2006.
Synapse was asked by the United States EPA to develop content for the EPA's Clean Energy Website on the calculation and evaluation of displaced pollutant emissions resulting from energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. The website content includes a description of several approaches that could be used to calculate displaced emissions, as well as descriptions of their applicability, resource requirements, and precision. The product is to be available as a "decision support" tool for anyone involved in energy efficiency or renewable energy projects to help them assess the emissions benefits of their efforts. Project completed in April 2006.
Synapse was asked to provide prefiled testimony in a 248 proceeding (Certificate of Public Need) on behalf of a private sector wind developer, outlining the economic and environmental benefits of a proposed wind farm in Deerfield, Vermont. Synapse evaluated the need for new energy resources in Vermont, the demand for renewable energy to fulfill state Renewable Portfolio Standards in the region, and the economic benefits of clean energy and displaced emissions. In addition, Synapse projected project costs and revenues to demonstrate the economic viability of the proposal. Project completed in March 2006.
Synapse was asked to provide prefiled testimony in a 248 proceeding (Certificate of Public Need) on behalf of Catamount Energy, Inc., outlining the economic and environmental benefits of a proposed wind farm in Glebe Mountain, Vermont. Synapse evaluated the need for new energy resources in Vermont, the demand for renewable energy to fulfill state Renewable Portfolio Standards in the region, and the economic benefits of clean energy and displaced emissions. In addition, Synapse evaluated how the proposed project conformed to the Vermont Electric Plan. Project completed in April 2006.
Synapse was retained to assist the Arkansas Public Service Commission Staff on issues related to electric policy initiatives on both a state and regional level. Specific tasks included a review of the proposed purchase of a merchant generation facility by the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation; a review of the Southwest Power Pool’s application to be named the regional transmission provider; and an analysis of regional energy planning processes. Project completed in May 2006.
Surrebuttal Testimony Regarding Review of Wrightsville Facility Purchase
Bruce Biewald presented “Electricity Price Increases: Causes, Effects, and Solutions” at the Restructuring Roundtable on May 19, 2006. The presentation focused on the electricity price increases for small customers in New England.
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