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.
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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.
Synapse conducted research on the costs of nuclear power plant spent fuel storage. Project completed in December 2004.
Synapse, working with the Conservation Law Foundation, examined the potential for performance-based regulation to encourage greater reliance on energy efficiency and renewable energy resources by Green Mountain Power. Project completed in August 2004.
Synapse reviewed Wisconsin Public Service Company's request for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the proposed Weston Unit 4 generating facility. In particular, Synapse examined whether there were cost effective and technically feasible alternatives superior to the proposed facility. Project completed in August 2004.
Surrebuttal Testimony Reviewing Wisconsin Public Service Corporation Application for a Certificate for Construction of the Weston 4 Generating Plant
Testimony on Environmental Impact Statement Issues in the Review of Wisconsin Public Service Corporation Application for a Certificate for Construction of the Weston 4 Generating Plant
Synapse provided testimony in an on-going retail choice proceeding involving an Entergy subsidiary in East Texas (Entergy Gulf States). Synapse assisted the Texas Office of People’s Counse in evaluating Entergy’s proposal for an “independent” subsidiary to oversee the transition to a retail open access structure authorized by the Texas legislature. Synapse compared the proposed “independent” Entergy subsidiary to the standards and criteria that FERC applies to applications for Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and provided testimony before the Texas PUC. Project completed in May 2004.
Testimony of Bruce Biewald Reviewing Entergy Gulf State Petition for Certification of Independent Organization
Synapse was hired by NESCAUM to help review the modeling performed for the Connecticut Climate Change Stakeholder Dialogue in 2003. This modeling work assessed the impacts of a number of different policies focused on reducing carbon emissions. NESCAUM and Synapse developed summaries of this modeling work for use in discussions with Connecticut lawmakers and regulators. Project completed in December 2004.
Synapse evaluated the Public Service of Indiana's current and proposed energy efficiency programs. William Steinhurst prepared testimony critiquing these programs and recommended the establishment of a clear mandate to implement cost effective efficiency programs, a system benefit charge, and an independent third party DSM administrator. The results of this evaluation were presented in testimony before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Project completed in October 2004.
Synapse was hired by the Public Interest Research Groups to review drafts of state greenhouse gas reduction reports. The reports explored the brief history and context of greenhouse gas reduction efforts in selected states and performed calculations to estimate emission reductions from a suite of policies. In January and February 2004, Synapse edited the text of the Massachusetts and Connecticut reports and reviewed the spreadsheets containing these calculations. Synapse also met with PIRG staff to discuss methodological and editorial issues and provided technical support during the drafting of these reports. Synapse’s work on the Massachusetts and Connecticut reports was completed in February 2004.
Synapse reviewed the avoided costs used by the four electric utilities in Minnesota for their Conservation Improvement Programs. The analysis included a description of "best practices" for estimating avoided costs, a review of each utility's methodology and assumptions, a comparison of avoided cost results across all four utilities, and a set of recommendations for future avoided cost estimates. Synapse reviewed avoided energy, avoided generation capacity, avoided transmission, and avoided distribution costs. Synapse further reviewed the methodology used to estimate avoided gas demand costs. Project completed in December 2004.
Synapse reviewed the reasonableness of National Grid’s settlement of litigation over Northeast Utilities’ mismanagement of the Millstone Unit 3 nuclear power plant. Project completed in August 2004.
Synapse evaluated the policy basis for natural gas energy efficiency programs for the Vectren North service territory in Indiana. William Steinhurst prepared testimony critiquing the Company's lack of programs and recommended establishing a clear mandate for implementing cost effective efficiency programs, a system benefit charge, and an independent third party DSM administrator. Project completed in November 2004.
How to Deliver the Efficiency Goods: Why an Independent Third Party Works Best and How to Make Sure It Works Well
Synapse reviewed what length of Northeast Utilities' proposed Middletown-Norwalk 345-kV transmission line can be built underground without adversely affecting electric system reliability. Synapse worked with surrounding towns to identify alternative overhead routes for the proposed transmission line that would have less of an impact on the towns and their residents living near the proposed right-of-way. Project completed in July 2004.
Synapse investigated whether the two Wisconsin utilities that currently own the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant would receive the unit’s fair market value as part of the proposed sale to a subsidiary of Dominion Resources, Inc. Synapse also examined the regulatory consequences of selling the power plant to a subsidiary of an out-of-state multi-tiered holding company. Project completed in June 2004.
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