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In 2014, the City of Burlington, Vermont became the first city in the United States to power itself on 100 percent renewable electricity. Synapse Energy Economics (Synapse) and Resource Systems Group (RSG) are proud to partner with the City to take its next big step, developing a roadmap to put the community on the best path to achieve Net Zero Energy by 2030.

In August 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a rule to roll back the requirements for automobile fuel economy standards. While existing standards are set to increase throughout model years 2017 to 2026, the proposed rollback would hold the standards constant at 2020 levels for model years 2021 through 2026. Synapse recently completed a report for Consumers Union and a second report with Consumer Reports related to the U.S. EPA’s and NHTSA’s proposed rollback.

My friend Frank Ackerman died on Monday, July 15th. We worked together at the Tellus Institute in the 1980s and 1990s, and more recently at Synapse. Frank's intellect and ability to get to the heart of complicated technical, economic, and institutional issues made him a powerhouse in climate and energy policy. His sense of humor made him a pleasure to work with.

Synapse is delighted to announce that Steve Letendre, PhD and Cheryl Roberto have joined our team. Cheryl and Steve bring deep expertise and commitment to the important work of our clients.

Earlier this year, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) released a nonbinding resolution for a Green New Deal. The 14-page document outlines a sweeping set of goals related to greenhouse gas emissions, infrastructure investments, and labor markets--largely through a lens of justice and equity.

Today’s electric system is almost unrecognizable from the electric system a decade ago. Generation from natural gas and renewables has accelerated to replace the rapid and unprecedented retirement of coal-fired generators. Wind, solar, and geothermal electric generating capacity in the United States has now eclipsed capacities from hydroelectric and nuclear resources combined. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have reached their lowest levels since 1987. Meanwhile, both total generation and electric sales have held relatively steady for 10 years.

On January 17, 2019, Brown University announced it would be converting a Rhode Island gravel pit into a 250 acre, 50 megawatt (MW) solar facility. This project is expected to offset 70 percent of the university’s electric load. To address Brown’s remaining supply needs, the university plans to enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with an 8 MW wind facility in Texas.

On February 11, 2019, ISO New England published its latest draft distributed solar (“DG PV”) forecast. As in previous years, ISO New England has developed this forecast based on historical data and information about public policies in the six New England states. These policies include state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies, long-term procurements, net energy metering, federal tax credits, and other drivers.

On January 24, 2019, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the 2019 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO). AEO 2019 contains projections of energy use from the electric power, residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors through 2050. As in prior years, EIA has released a Reference case alongside many other cases exploring futures with various levels of economic growth and oil and gas availability.

A new study from the Massachusetts Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth argues for a bold public policy to counter the challenges of climate change and inequality over the coming two decades. Titled “Choices for Stewardship,” the report calls policymakers, municipalities, and industry to action with a broad agenda of 18 recommendations for modernizing the state’s transportation sector.

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