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Asset Strategy and Integrated Resource Planning

Brattle has experience with several models to inform clients on integrated resource planning (IRP) and related decisions, as well as asset retirement and investment strategies.

  • Long-Term Planning and Capacity Expansion/Retirement Models: These models determine optimal electric system capacity investment and retirement decisions based on expected capital costs of new units, load growth, fuel costs, environmental constraints/costs, and other drivers. For example, Brattle’s proprietary Xpand model is capable of modeling multi-sector carbon policies while simulating the operation of the electric sector in details.  By incorporating emissions and abatement cost curves for sectors beyond electricity, the Xpand model considers the economic trade-offs between reducing emissions in the electric sector and non-electric sectors to comply with an economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) cap, thus allowing GHG prices to be determined endogenously at economy-wide equilibrium. Similarly, the capacity expansion module of PSO allows us to run long-term planning models stochastically in addition to the traditional deterministic method. When it is run stochastically, the model will recommend a portfolio that gives the optimal results for the portfolio of futures, even if the results are not ideal for any specific future. The PSO capacity expansion model also enables us to represent the electrical system at the nodal level when making capacity expansion and retirement decisions. This feature allows us to make very detailed recommendations on the locational impacts of new units and potential retirement decisions. 
  • Nodal Energy Market Simulation Models: Our production cost models account for unit commitment and dispatch, transmission constraints, and the variability of renewable generation in more detail than the long-term planning model.  This enables us to evaluate production costs, pricing dynamics, and emissions with greater precision.  Often, we populate our production cost model with the optimal expansion plan from the long-term planning model.  Separately, we analyze alternative future scenarios with different load and generation profiles.
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Below is a list of representative engagements for our Asset Strategy and Integrated Resource Planning practice.

Long-term evolution of the generation fleet in Texas

Between 2012 and 2016, Brattle developed a series of four reports for the Texas Clean Energy Coalition (TCEC) analyzing how renewable and natural gas-fired electricity sources might interact in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) during the next two decades. Our analysis considered a range of market and regulatory factors including future natural gas prices and greater deployment storage and combined heat and power (CHP). These reports utilized a combination of PSO and Xpand models to capture the interaction of broad system trends and actual power system operations.

Integrated resource planning in Connecticut

Members of The Brattle Group have led the analysis of five successive Integrated Resource Plans (IRPs) for the two major utilities in Connecticut and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). These projects relied on an integrated modeling system that simulated the New England locational energy market (with DAYZER), the Forward Capacity Market, REC markets, and competitive suppliers’ likely investment/retirement decisions. The studies addressed electricity supply risks, natural gas supply into New England, RPS standards, environmental regulations, transmission planning, emerging technologies, and energy security. Brattle experts provided oral testimony before the DEEP and solicited input from stakeholders.

Economic and environmental impacts of nuclear power plants

Brattle experts have prepared a series of reports examining the economic and environmental impacts of nuclear power plants at both the national and state-specific levels. The economic impacts included GDP, employment and tax revenues, and the environmental impacts which addressed changes in criteria pollutant emissions and carbon emissions. The study prepared for New York has been particularly influential in policymaking regarding the promotion of zero carbon emission generating sources. Brattle has also applied such regional modeling to determine the value and market consequences of Zero Emission Credits (ZECs) as uplift payments for nuclear plants to preserve their societal value as clean resources.

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