The Brattle Group is an industry leader in analyzing the regulatory and financial challenges surrounding transmission operations, planning, pricing, siting, and cost-benefit analyses.
We bring a deep understanding of the transmission system’s technical characteristics, applicable regulatory frameworks, and surrounding market structures. Our clients include regulated and merchant transmission companies, transmission customers, generators, independent transmission system operators (ISOs) and regional transmission organizations (RTOs), trade associations, and government entities in North America and Europe.
Our recent experience includes designing and evaluating regional transmission tariffs, evaluating the benefits of new transmission projects, reviewing mergers and acquisitions among transmission companies, assessing congestion pricing, and improving market monitoring to facilitate nondiscriminatory network access. We provide both strategic evaluations and expert testimony.
Transmission Planning & Cost-Benefit Analyses
Brattle experts have assisted transmission planners and testified in U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state proceedings regarding the benefits of proposed transmission lines. We have analyzed a wide array of transmission-related benefits, including production cost savings, congestion relief, economic and tax impacts, increased competitiveness and market liquidity, enhanced reliability, insurance and risk management benefits, resource diversity, investment climate improvements, and synergies with other planned transmission projects. We have also helped improve regional transmission planning processes to apply scenario-based planning approaches, assessed infrastructure-related risk mitigation, explained the benefits of broad-based independent transmission planning, and provided policy recommendations with respect to transmission infrastructure development.
Transmission Strategy & Competitive Transmission
For several clients, Brattle experts have quantified 20-year transmission investment needs for various regional markets across North America. Through our engagements, we have estimated future transmission investment opportunities driven by public policy, reliability, and economic interests. This includes assessing the new transmission projects required to address renewable energy development, environmental regulations, and generation asset retirements, among other drivers.
In the wake of FERC Order 1000, we have analyzed and evaluated the opportunities and threats posed by competitive transmission development across several regional markets in North America. We have also assisted several merchant transmission developers in due diligence efforts, open solicitation and open season processes, and in planning efforts to determine the optimal timing and size of the project.
We have provided support for clients on these matters through testimony, evaluation of specific projects or initiatives, external discussion papers or reports, and strategic engagement with senior executives.
Transmission Rates & Tariffs
We assist clients in their efforts to revise their transmission access charge, manage stakeholder and regulatory processes, collect data, model transmission revenue requirements, and perform cost-benefit analyses for various access charges and membership scenarios. We also assist in the drafting of ISO’s implementation guidelines, assist counsel in revising transmission tariff language, and provide expert testimony on the costs and benefits associated with the new methodology.
Brattle experts have experience assessing charges levied on generators for interconnection with the transmission grid and have advised clients on interconnection agreements, including assessing the potential risks associated with existing procedures for interconnecting generators and comparing them with alternative agreements. We have helped European clients evaluate the relative advantages and disadvantages of “deep” and “shallow” (“network” and “radial”) charging schemes. We have also provided advice on ways in which a transmission company’s connection policy could be improved, particularly in relation to deciding between competing connection charges.
Transmission System Modeling & Topology Control
The Brattle Group has modeled the transmission system and markets to identify and estimate the benefit of alleviating major constraints, quantify congestion costs and financial transmission rights (FTR) revenues, ascertain impacts on generation costs and wholesale power and natural gas markets, and evaluate how transmission development may allow for integrating renewables and the potential for carbon emission savings.
Through an engagement sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (ARPA-E), we and our partners have developed transmission topology control models and algorithms that our clients use to identify transmission switching solutions to eliminate overloads and reduce the economic impact of transmission congestion.
Impact of Market Seams
Brattle experts have assessed the implications of inefficient seams between power markets within the U.S., Canada, and Europe. We have evaluated options for improving seams through inter-regional transmission upgrades, energy market scheduling and dispatch, transmission rights models, and resource adequacy. We have also analyzed seams-related market conditions under alternative RTO configurations, the economic hurdles across RTO seams, and the extent to which inter-RTO coordination can mitigate seam-related impacts.
Benefits and Costs of RTO Participation and Rate-Depancaking
The Brattle Group has analyzed the configuration and effectiveness of several proposed ISOs and RTOs along with expansions of existing RTOs. We have performed cost-benefit analyses for utilities interested in RTO participation. Brattle has also evaluated the impact of RTO seams elimination efforts, assessed various long-term transmission cost allocation designs, analyzed eliminating pancaked transmission costs across RTOs and non-RTO utilities, and quantified the potential customer impact of each design.
Transmission-Related Market Power Concerns
The Brattle Group has performed market power analyses in the context of major electric utility mergers, focusing how transmission availability and constraints affect the potential for the exercise of generator market power. In the context of improperly-functioning markets, such as the California market in the Western Power Crisis of 2000-2001, we have evaluated numerous transmission-related trading strategies and the extent to which individual market participants used those strategies to game market rules and manipulate spot energy and ancillary service markets.