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Environmental Policy, Planning, and Compliance

In an era of increasingly complex, overlapping, and sometimes inconsistent environmental regulations and policies at the federal and state levels, Brattle assists utilities, merchant generation companies, and industry organizations through the risks, compliance planning, and opportunities created by these initiatives.

We provide analytical support and strategic guidance in engagements ranging from asset-specific valuations and retire/retrofit decisions, to company-level resource planning, to industry-wide evaluations of current and emerging environmental regulations. Our services cover two main areas:

  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) policies and regulations (such as potential federal policy like the now stayed Clean Power Plan, the AB32 program in California, and the RGGI program in the Northeast) and their relationship to compliance costs, power and gas market costs, and other investment decisions; and
  • Litigation support and expert testimony on air quality and other pollution control compliance areas such as New Source Review (NSR) cases.
Our perspective and breadth of capabilities in environmental compliance enables us to offer value to our clients by assessing the combined impact of technological, market, and regulatory risks and opportunities. Our team’s expertise in environmental economics is complemented by the firm’s depth in power market modeling generally and by its broader knowledge in energy, finance, and regulatory consulting, allowing us to serve a full range of client needs.
Areas of Expertise
NEWS

Brattle Principals Metin Celebi, Marc Chupka, Dean Murphy, Sam Newell, and Ira Shavel recently co-authored an article that analyzes the decline in coal-generated electricity in North America and discusses the implication of a recently-proposed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) rule that could shield certain coal and nuclear plants from competitive market forces.

Engagements
REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

Below is a list of representative engagements for our Environmental Policy, Planning, and Compliance practice.

New Source Review (NSR) cases
Brattle experts have been at the forefront of the major New Source Review (NSR) cases over the past decade, providing defendants with a breadth of analytic support and expert testimony in cases brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), states, and advocacy groups. These cases have focused on the emissions consequences of historic maintenance projects, and Brattle experts have successfully countered the plaintiffs’ experts’ theories and empirical findings with credible and persuasive alternatives. In addition to litigation support, Brattle experts assist generation owners in NSR-related compliance analysis, as ongoing NSR scrutiny requires many generation owners to reassess current compliance liabilities and assess the NSR implications of future capital projects at existing plants.
Market impacts of coal plant retirements
For Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, a Brattle expert provided testimony on the likely changes in energy and capacity prices as a result of projected coal plant retirements and environmental retrofits in the MISO region. The findings relied on a customized analytical tool to simulate the important aspects of generation dispatch and power price formation in Wisconsin and MISO market as a whole, and enabled isolating the market price impacts of a range of plant retirements and environmental retrofits.
Reliability and supply-chain implications of Regional Haze compliance
For an electric utility in the western U.S., Brattle experts conducted a study to assess reliability and supply-chain implications of compliance with the EPA’s Regional Haze Rule. The Regional Haze Rule aims to reduce haze-forming pollution (primarily due to emissions of particulate matter and its precursors SO2 and NOX) that reduces visibility in parks and wilderness areas, especially in the Western U.S. We assessed the impact of outages at coal units to tie-in the environmental retrofit equipment on available resources to meet the utility’s load obligations in the future. In addition, we compared the historical retrofits on coal units in the region against projected retrofits to comply with the Regional Haze Rule.
Compliance strategy for a municipal utility
Brattle experts assisted a municipal electric utility in developing a least-cost strategy to comply with the environmental regulations facing its largest coal plant. We developed a screening tool to compare the economics of environmental retrofits against alternatives such as replacement with a new gas-fired combined cycle or relying on market purchases of energy and capacity to meet the retail load obligations. We presented the results of the economic analysis and potential hedging strategies to the executive management.
Experts
Publications
Presentation
A Dynamic Clean Energy Market in New England
November 2017
Prepared by The Brattle Group and Coalition Partners (Conservation Law Foundation, Brookfield Renewable, NextEra Energy Resources, National Grid, and Robert Stoddard)
Report
The Future of Cap-and-Trade Program in California: Will Low GHG Prices Last Forever?
December 05, 2017
Yingxia Yang, Michael Hagerty, Ashley Palmarozzo, Hannah Sheffield, Metin Celebi, Marc Chupka, and Frank C. Graves
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.

A discussion paper examining the trends of the California greenhouse gas (GHG) market and analyzes the underlying future drivers that will affect California GHG prices to achieve the state’s ambitious goal of 80% decarbonization by 2050.

Article
The Future of the U.S. Coal Generation Fleet
November 30, 2017
Excerpt from the Fall 2017 newsletter for the ABA Antitrust Section, Transportation and Energy Industries Committee

The article analyzes the decline in coal-generated electricity in North America and discusses the implication of a recently proposed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) rule that could shield certain coal and nuclear plants from competitive market forces.

Report
Comments on Expanding CES Eligibility to Existing Nuclear Units
November 30, 2017
Onur Aydin, Metin Celebi, David Luke Oates, Tony Lee, and Kelly Oh
Prepared for NextEra Energy Resources, and presented to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection in response to the proposed Clean Energy Standard-Existing (CES-E)

The report evaluates the cost and emission impacts of retaining existing clean generators through a Clean Energy Standard (CES) program.

Presentation
When Coal is the Goal: Environmental Policy and Energy Markets
October 17, 2017
Presented at the Energy Bar Association's (EBA) 2017 Mid-Year Energy Forum
An analysis of the electricity generation sector and coal market finds that the Trump Administration’s energy and environmental policy initiatives tend to favor natural gas as a generation fuel, likely reducing coal production and mining employment.
Report
Blending In: The Role of Renewable Fuel in Achieving Energy Policy Goals
August 31, 2017
Marc Chupka, Michael Hagerty, Philip K. Verleger, and Jr.
Prepared for Growth Energy
Report
Pricing Carbon into NYISO’s Wholesale Energy Market to Support New York’s Decarbonization Goals
August 10, 2017
Prepared for the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO)
The study, prepared for the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), finds that adding a carbon charge into the wholesale energy market could improve the state’s ability to meet its decarbonization goals cost-effectively.
Presentation
Future of Coal: Clean Power Plan, Market Drivers, and Other Regulations
January 24, 2017
Presented at the American Coal Ash Association’s (ACAA) 2017 Winter Membership Meeting
Presentation
CO2e Cap-and-Trade: Interactions with Electricity Markets
November 15, 2016
Presented to the Association of Power Producers of Ontario
Presentation
CO2 Regulations and Coal
November 10, 2016
Present at Energy Bar Association's (EBA) Energizer, "Ongoing Climate Imperative"
Article
Preliminary Comment on New York Department of Public Service “Staff’s Responsive Proposal for Preserving Zero-Emissions Attributes”
July 12, 2016
Prepared for the New York State IBEW Utility Labor Council, Rochester Building & Construction Trades Council, and Central and Northern New York Building & Construction Trades Council
Report
Clean Energy Resource Options for Massachusetts: Overall Recommendations
June 21, 2016
Project Funded by the Barr Foundation
Report
The Clean Power Plan: Focus on Implementation and Compliance
January 2016
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Article
Hurry or Wait – The Pros and Cons of Going Fast or Slow on Climate Change
July 2015
Eleanor Denny and Jürgen Weiss
Published in The Economists' Voice, Volume 12, Issue 1
Article
State Cooperation Under the EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan
April 2015
David Luke Oates and Paulina Jaramillo
Published in The Electricity Journal
Report
EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Reliability: Assessing NERC's Initial Reliability Review
February 2015
Prepared for Advanced Energy Economy Institute
Article
How Will The EPA's Clean Power Plan Impact Wind?
July 01, 2014
Published in North American Windpower
Report
Policy Brief - EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan: Implications for States and the Electric Industry
June 2014
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Report
A Market-based Regional Approach to Valuing and Reducing GHG Emissions from Power Sector
April 2014
Prepared for Great River Energy
Report
Coal Plant Retirements: Feedback Effects on Wholesale Electricity Prices - Revised
November 2013
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Article
Production Cost and Air Emissions Impacts of Coal Cycling in Power Systems with Large-Scale Wind Penetration
2013
David Luke Oates and Paulina Jaramillo
Published in Environmental Research Letters
News & Knowledge
December 05, 2017
Reaching California's Deep Decarbonization Goals May Require Large Increases in Carbon Prices in the Absence of Further Technological Breakthroughs, According to Brattle Economists

A discussion paper by economists at The Brattle Group examines the trends of the California greenhouse gas (GHG) market and analyzes the underlying future drivers that will affect California GHG prices to achieve the state’s ambitious goal of 80% decarbonization by 2050. 

November 30, 2017
Brattle Economists Discuss the Future of U.S. Coal Generation Fleet in ABA Article

Brattle Principals Metin Celebi, Marc Chupka, Dean Murphy, Sam Newell, and Ira Shavel recently co-authored an article that analyzes the decline in coal-generated electricity in North America and discusses the implication of a recently-proposed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) rule that could shield certain coal and nuclear plants from competitive market forces.

October 17, 2017
Marc Chupka to Present at Energy Bar Association’s Mid-Year Energy Forum

Brattle Principal Marc Chupka will present during the Energy Bar Association’s (EBA) Mid-Year Energy Forum, taking place October 16-17, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

October 17, 2017
Brattle Economist: Trump Administration’s Energy and Environmental Policy Likely to Reduce Coal Production and Mining Employment

An analysis of the electricity generation sector and coal market by an economist at The Brattle Group finds that the Trump Administration’s energy and environmental policy initiatives tend to favor natural gas as a generation fuel, likely reducing coal production and mining employment.

August 14, 2017
Brattle Economists: NYISO Carbon Charge Could Help Meet New York Decarbonization Goals More Cost-Effectively

A report authored by Brattle economists and prepared for the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) finds that adding a carbon charge into the wholesale energy market could improve the state’s ability to meet its decarbonization goals cost-effectively. The study reveals that refunding collected carbon revenues back to customers results in minimal impact on customer electricity costs compared to current policies.

July 11, 2017
Judy Chang to Present at NEWIEE Panel on Women Shaping the Agenda

Brattle Principal Judy Chang will present at the New England Women in Energy and the Environment’s (NEWIEE) 3rdAnnual Panel “Women Shaping the Agenda: New England’s Energy Mix and Environmental Future,” taking place July 11, 2017 in Kingston, RI.

June 14, 2017
Philip Hanser to Present at The Climate Resilient Grid Forum

Brattle Principal Philip Hanser will present at The Climate Resilient Grid: A Forum on Energy, Climate, and The Grid, taking place June 14-15, 2017 in Asheville, NC.

February 08, 2017
Marc Chupka to Present at Energy, Utility & Environment Conference

Brattle Principal Marc Chupka will present at the 20th Annual Energy, Utility & Environment Conference (EUEC), taking place February 8-10, 2017 in San Diego, CA.

January 24, 2017
Metin Celebi to Present on the Future of Coal at ACAA Winter Membership Meeting

Brattle Principal Metin Celebi will present at the American Coal Ash Association’s (ACAA) 2017 Winter Membership Meeting, taking place January 24-25, 2017 in Jacksonville, FL.

November 10, 2016
Robert Mudge and Metin Celebi to Participate in EBA Energizer: Ongoing Climate Imperative

Brattle Principals Robert Mudge and Metin Celebi will participate in the Energy Bar Association’s (EBA) Energizer, “Ongoing Climate Imperative,” taking place November 10, 2016 at Milbank, Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP’s Washington, DC office.

June 07, 2016
Neil Lessem to Present at International Energy Policy & Programme Evaluation Conference

Brattle Senior Associate Neil Lessem will present at the upcoming International Energy Policy & Programme Evaluation Conference (IEPPEC), “Make the Paris agreement a reality with effective evaluation for energy efficiency,” taking place June 7-9, 2016 in Amsterdam.

February 23, 2016
Robert Mudge and Marc Chupka to Present at Practical Law Webinar on U.S. Power Industry Developments and Trends

Brattle Principals Robert Mudge and Marc Chupka will present at the upcoming Thomson Reuters Practical Law webinar, “Key Developments and Trends in the U.S. Power Industry,” taking place on February 23, 2016 from 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm EST.

February 11, 2016
Ira Shavel to Present at Resources for the Future and Electric Power Research Institute Seminar

Brattle Principal Ira Shavel will present at the upcoming Resources for the Future (RFF) and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) Seminar, “The Impact of the Clean Power Plan: Modeling for Strategic Insights,” taking place February 11, 2016 in Washington, D.C and through webcast.

February 03, 2016
Marc Chupka to Present on the Clean Power Plan at Energy, Utility & Environment Conference

Brattle Principal Marc Chupka will present at the 19th Annual Energy, Utility & Environment Conference (EUEC), taking place February 3-5, 2016 in San Diego, CA.

January 20, 2016
Associate Michael Hagerty Examines CPP Implications for the Western Interconnect at EUCI Conference on Carbon Market Mechanisms

Brattle Associate Michael Hagerty presented on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) and its implications for the western interconnect at a recent EUCI conference, “Optimizing Carbon Market Mechanisms in the Western Interconnect."

January 20, 2016
Associate Michael Hagerty Presents on CPP Implications for the Western Interconnect at EUCI Conference on Carbon Market Mechanisms

Brattle Associate Michael Hagerty presented on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP) and its implications for the western interconnect at a recent EUCI conference, “Optimizing Carbon Market Mechanisms in the Western Interconnect."

January 06, 2016
Policy Brief by Brattle Economists Examines Compliance and Implementation Options Under EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Economists at The Brattle Group issued a policy brief that examines the compliance and implementation challenges facing states and utilities under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed CO2 emissions standards for existing fossil units under the Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 111(d), known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

November 19, 2015
William Zarakas to Present on Climate Resilience Investment at U.S. Department of Energy Conference

Brattle principal William Zarakas will present at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Conference, “Partnership for Energy Sector Climate Resilience,” taking place November 19, 2015 in Washington, DC.

May 07, 2015
Associate David Luke Oates Co-Authors Article Examining Economic Effects of Compliance with the EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan

Brattle associate David Luke Oates co-authored an article published in the April 2015 issue of The Electricity Journal that examines the economic effects of state cooperation under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan.

May 05, 2015
Jürgen Weiss to Participate in National Governors’ Association Workshop on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Brattle principal Jürgen Weiss has been selected to participate in a panel discussion on the Clean Power Plan and reliability at the upcoming National Governors’ Association workshop, “Policy Academy on Examining Federal Greenhouse Gas Rules in the Electric Power Sector.” The event will take place on May 5-7, 2015 in Annapolis, MD.

April 08, 2015
Yingxia Yang to Present at University of Texas Workshop on the Impact of the EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan Rules on Texas

Brattle associate Yingxia Yang will present in the upcoming workshop, “EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan Rules: Economic Modeling and Effects on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Region,” co-hosted by the Central Texas Association for Energy Economics and the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. The workshop will take place April 8, 2015 in Austin, TX.

March 31, 2015
Marc Chupka and Judy Chang to Present at Conference on EPA Clean Power Plan Implementation

Brattle principals Marc Chupka and Judy Chang will present at the Infocast conference, “EPA Clean Power Plan Implementation: Multi-State Perspectives, Plans, and Implications of 111(d),” taking place March 31 to April 02, 2015 in Atlanta, GA.

March 31, 2015
Metin Celebi to Discuss Impact of Coal Retirements at EUCI Conference on EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Brattle principal Metin Celebi will participate at the EUCI conference, “The EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Its Effect on Electric Reliability in North America,” taking place March 31-April 1, 2015 in Houston, TX.

February 12, 2015
Compliance with EPA’s Clean Power Plan Unlikely to Materially Affect Electric Grid Reliability, According to Report by Brattle Economists

Brattle consultants released a report analyzing concerns raised by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) in its Initial Reliability Review (IRR) about the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) for reducing carbon emissions.

August 12, 2014
Sam Newell to Present at Goldman Sachs Power, Utilities, MLP and Pipeline Conference

Principal Sam Newell has been invited to present at the upcoming Goldman Sachs Power, Utilities, MLP and Pipeline Conference, taking place August 12 in New York, NY.

June 18, 2014
Policy Brief by Brattle Economists Provides Insights into EPA’s Proposed Carbon Emission Standards for Existing Fossil Units

Brattle economists issued a policy brief that examines the primary features and implications of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed CO2 emissions standards for existing fossil units under the Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 111(d).

May 29, 2014
Judy Chang Quoted in Bloomberg Article Discussing State and Utility Plans to Adapt to Climate Change Rules

Principal Judy Chang was quoted in a Bloomberg article that examines plans to adapt to new climate rules to curb carbon emissions proposed by President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency.