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The past year has brought plenty of changes in the energy regulatory landscape, particularly in relation to climate change and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Accounting for the resulting costs of these and other policies by incorporating a CO2 price is now firmly in the realm of best practice for utilities and system operators engaged in long-term energy planning. To assist with such planning and to provide a resource for other stakeholders, Synapse’s CO2 price forecasts simplify the complex process of determining effective CO2 prices by combining our own modeling results with comprehensive analysis of other CO2 prices in use throughout the electricity sector.

Congratulations to Frank Ackerman on the release of his new book, Worst-Case Economics: Extreme Events in Climate and Finance! Juliet Schor describes it as "highly accessible but profound," and Samuel Bowles calls it "an important book and a delight to read." Dr. Ackerman will be doing a talk about the book at the Synapse office next Monday, December 4th at 7pm. Those of you in the Boston area won't want to miss this unique opportunity. We hope to see you there!

Capacity vs. Peak Demand in New EnglandThe Brayton Point coal-fired power plant will shut down for good in June 2017. Like coal plants across the country, its operators can no longer make enough money to keep it running. Now, the town of Somerset has an opportunity to influence the reuse of this sizable waterfront site.

New England’s growing dependence on natural gas has had some in the region worrying about supply constraints. In fact, concerns about natural gas supply and the impacts of proposed new pipelines prompted no fewer than three separate studies on the issue last year. In 2015, three consulting firms released separate reports for different clients analyzing the need for incremental natural gas pipeline in New England through 2030. The three distinctly different approaches to the studies have the potential to create uncertainty for those trying to compare the results.

Next Tuesday (February 2) the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) participating states and regional stakeholders will meet to begin their second in-depth review of the RGGI program. This meeting will solicit stakeholder input on RGGI program design elements, including considerations for compliance under EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The last program review in 2012 led to a 45 percent reduction in the regional CO2 cap, among other changes.

New York Times columnist Eduardo Porter quoted Dr. Elizabeth A. Stanton, a senior economist at Synapse, in his recent discussion on the tension between economic development and efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Latin America.