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In 2014, the U.S. electric system looked remarkably different from how it looked ten—or even five—years ago. In the past year alone, the system nearly doubled the amount of incremental installed capacity from renewables as compared to 2013, saw a 13 percent increase in renewable generation, and reached the lowest level of CO2 emissions since 1996.

Long used to encourage utilities to meet reliability, safety, and energy efficiency targets, performance incentive mechanisms are increasingly being used by regulators to address new challenges and opportunities facing the electric industry, ranging from smart grid adoption to clean energy goals.

Synapse recently prepared a regulatory guidance document on several key principles of energy efficiency cost-effectiveness screening for the NEEP Regional Evaluation, Measurement and Verification Forum. The EM&V Forum subsequently adopted the Cost-Effectiveness Screening Principles and Guidelines as a Forum product.

Synapse projects in its 2015 Carbon Dioxide Price Forecast that the cost of emitting one short ton of carbon dioxide in 2020 will be $15-$25, rising to $25-$54 in 2030 and $45-$120 in 2050. Synapse forecasts Low, Mid, and High CO2 price trajectories annually for planning purposes, to provide electric utilities and other stakeholders with a reasonable range of emissions costs that can be used to evaluate long-term resource investment decisions.

Synapse CEO and founder Bruce Biewald presented on energy efficiency as a resource for compliance with EPA’s Clean Power Plan at the 2015 NASEO Energy Policy Outlook Conference in Washington, DC on February 5. His presentation, part of a panel on privately delivered energy efficiency, included a discussion of how analysis using Synapse’s Clean Power Plan Planning Tool can help to understand and estimate the benefits of energy efficiency as an element of state CPP compliance plans.

Synapse has welcomed four new team member since Fall 2014. Ezgi Karaca joins us as a research fellow, Jenny Marusiak as marketing and proposal manager, Wendy Ong as an associate, and Nidhi R. Santen as a principal associate.

If New Hampshire backed out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), it would result in higher bills for New Hampshire consumers and would eliminate the least expensive way for the state to comply with upcoming federal regulations, Synapse’s Dr. Elizabeth A. Stanton testified on Thursday.

Synapse associate Sarah Jackson recently testified before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that the price stabilization rider (PSR) attached to Duke Energy Ohio’s proposed electric security plan could cost consumers millions through 2024.

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.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission found in a November 14 order that two utilities in the state should commission a study that examines the potential benefits of industrial demand-side management programs.

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