Concentric is Proud to Present the 2022 Abby’s House 5k

Concentric Energy Advisors is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the 13th Annual Abby’s House 5k, a hybrid virtual/in-person walk/run supporting Abby’s House in Worcester, MA. Abby’s House is a nonprofit organization that provides shelter, support, and advocacy to women, with or without children, escaping abuse or facing homelessness.

Thanks to our fellow sponsors, 5k participants, auction bidders, and individual donors, Abby’s House raised $55,000 through their 2021 hybrid virtual/in-person 5k race. Click here for more information about the 2022 Abby’s House 5k.

Thank you to Team Concentric for another year of faithful support of the AH5k!


Concentric Welcomes Bill Davis as an Assistant Vice President

Concentric is pleased to welcome William (Bill) Davis as an Assistant Vice President.

Before joining Concentric, Mr. Davis spent 16 years at a significant Midwest electric and gas utility. He is an experienced senior leader and expert witness specializing in renewable energy and the planning, implementation, and evaluation of utility energy efficiency programs. His expertise includes a wide range of regulatory matters, including load research, sales and revenue forecasting, rate design, class cost of service studies, lost revenue recovery, and prudence reviews. Mr. Davis is a member of Public Utilities Fortnightly Under 40 Class of 2020. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Economics from Illinois State University.

“Bill is an accomplished leader with significant expertise, and he will be an exemplary part of the Concentric family,” said John J. Reed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our clients will benefit from Bill’s comprehensive knowledge of utility energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, and broad regulatory background. I am excited to welcome him to our team.”

Concentric is celebrating twenty years of providing exceptional client service. To learn more about life at Concentric visit the careers page, and subscribe to the Concentric Connection to receive industry news and analysis from our team.

Concentric Celebrates Twenty Years of Energy, Service and Trust

Concentric Energy Advisors is pleased to announce that it is celebrating 20 years of client service.

After working together as REED Consulting Group, which was formed in 1988, the team evolved into Concentric Energy Advisors in 2002. Concentric has been a part of some of the most significant events affecting the energy and water industries and has conducted over 2200 projects for more than 750 clients.

Over its many years, Concentric’s focus has never wavered from providing economic and financial advisory services delivered by the most passionate, experienced, and dedicated consultants in the energy space.

“As I reflect on the last twenty years of our industry, I am amazed by all we have accomplished together,” said John J. Reed, Chairman and CEO. “We built on the values and success of REED Consulting Group and created a consultancy that has helped guide the energy industry through the enormous changes of the past two decades, and this anniversary is a testament to that success. We are now positioned and eager to continue our role on the forefront of change for many more years.”

Mr. Reed added that, “Our clients are the heart of our business, and we would not be celebrating today without them. On behalf of the entire Concentric team, thank you to our clients who have continued to entrust us with their projects. As we look forward, I am reminded of how much the energy landscape has changed and the extraordinary depth of experience we offer our clients. I am confident that through the commitment of our employees we will continue to advance our mission of energy, service, and trust.”

Learn more about employment opportunities and life at Concentric by visiting the careers page, and stay in touch by subscribing to the Concentric Connection.

Let Us Help You Drive Your EV Program

Do you need assistance assessing your Electric Vehicle (EV) program offerings?

We support the development of EV-specific rates, the design and implementation of EV incentive programs, and the overall evaluation of the EV market size and associated charging needs.

Below are summaries of a few of our specific EV-related capabilities:

Cost of Service Rate Design

Most states have, or are evaluating, the budgets required to implement EV programs, the recovery of associated costs, and other steps needed to initiate and implement EV programs for residential and commercial accounts.

Concentric has direct experience working with utilities on developing program budgets and providing regulatory support. We offer a team of experts on all ratemaking matters, including load analysis, revenue requirements, cost allocation, cost of capital, and rate design to help assure that program costs are recovered in a reasonable manner.

Charging Program Design

Regulators are now consistently requiring utilities to design and implement customer rebates approaching 100% of utility and customer make-ready capital costs. With early programs focused on residential and public-use charging fully implemented in many states, many regulators are now looking for ways to increase adoption in the medium-heavy duty (MHD) segment and through fleet conversions.

Concentric can help utilities determine the appropriate size of these MHD utility programs through detailed forecasting of vehicle charging requirements based on existing and forecasted vehicle registration data. This information is used to project charging infrastructure costs applicable to fleet operations.

Commercial Strategy

Some regulators are limiting the role of utilities in providing EV charging incentive programs, so utility holding companies have begun to explore direct investment in charging infrastructure through competitive affiliates. Evaluating such investments requires a detailed analysis of market potential, estimated charging revenues, capital requirements, and operations costs. As an illustration, because utility make-ready costs, electricity rates, and charging revenue potential are often highly site-specific, EV charging investments must be evaluated at the site level.

Concentric has performed such evaluations of EV charging investments, including developing multi-site screening tools and detailed costing proformas for specific sites, formulating site-host pricing structures, and projecting future electricity rates applicable to EV chargers.

Fleet Management

Utilities are finding that the role of the commercial account representative is expanding to include helping customers evaluate and manage fleet electrification. This enhanced role requires a detailed understanding of anticipated fleet operations (e.g., routes and mileage) and the charging needs of various types of vehicles under specific operating circumstances to determine the optimal charger configuration (e.g., DCFC at varying voltages versus Level 2 chargers).

Concentric has undertaken these analyses to assess the charging requirements to support medium and heavy-duty fleet operations at both depots and on-route charging requirements.

Concentric is uniquely able to support clients as they navigate the emerging opportunities and challenges of adding EV programs to their offerings. Please contact Michael Kagan to learn more about our EV services.

Concentric Announces the Appointment of Michael Kagan to the Board of Directors

Concentric is proud to announce the appointment of Michael Kagan, Senior Vice President, to the Board of Directors.  

Mr. Kagan joined Concentric in 2013 and has more than 26 years of experience in management roles and consulting to utilities, independent power producers, large energy users, retail energy suppliers and infrastructure investors. His recent consulting work has included investment due diligence, litigation support, and regulatory and commercial strategy with a particularly focus on the renewables and electric vehicle space. 

“I am proud to welcome Michael to the Board of Directors,” said John J. Reed, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Concentric. “Michael brings diverse expertise and insight, and he has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to serving our clients. I look forward to his continued leadership.”  

Prior to joining Concentric, Michael served in a variety of leadership roles with Constellation, Exelon and AES Corp. including as president of Constellation NewEnergy. He has also been an adjunct professor at the George Washington School of Business. 

Mr. Kagan earned an M.A. in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an undergraduate degree in economics and business from Skidmore College.

December Storms Ease Crippling Drought that Hindered Hydroelectric Output in 2021

Published: January 14, 2022

By: Concentric Staff Writer

A December storm that brought a deluge of rain and snow to the western U.S. coast rang out a year of intense drought that had hydroelectric project reservoir levels plummeting to alarming lows, illustrating the complex relationship between weather and energy output in all regions.

The close-out of December and the end of 2021 brought much-needed precipitation, particularly to the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific Northwest, which is heavy with hydroelectric generation. But California’s water agency warned that the La Niña season storm is not quite enough to ease concerns about drought in 2022. The California Department of Water Resources’ (“CADWR”) first snow survey of the winter season at Phillips Station west of Lake Tahoe on Dec. 30 showed 78.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 20 inches, which is 202 percent of average for that location on that date.

“We could not have asked for a better December in terms of Sierra snow and rain,” CADWR Director Karla Nemeth said in a Dec. 30 written statement. “But Californians need to be aware that even these big storms may not refill our major reservoirs during the next few months. We need more storms and average temperatures this winter and spring, and we can’t be sure it’s coming. So, it’s important that we continue to do our part to keep conserving – we will need that water this summer.”

The U.S. Drought Monitor said on Dec. 30 that the heavy December precipitation, snow water equivalent numbers (the amount of water if the snowpack melted all at once), and Standardized Precipitation Index figures point to large improvements in the drought for California, parts of Nevada, and Utah. Precipitation between Dec. 21-27 exceeded two inches liquid-equivalent across much of California and western parts of Oregon and Washington state. Temperatures in that period were also below normal across California and the Pacific Northwest, and a more favorable snowpack was building from the Cascades to the Sierra Nevada.

Energy GPS noted on Dec. 30 that the current weather pattern is bringing cooler temperatures across the Midwest, East, and South-Central regions going into 2022. This will increase the marginal cost of energy in those regions, but there are no signs that a similar situation exists to February 2021, when Winter Storm Uri propelled drastic increases in natural gas and electricity prices and led to widespread grid outages, human suffering, and fatalities in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas region.1

However, in the East, the Drought Monitor’s Dec. 30 assessment showed declining soil moisture and an expansion of moderate drought across eastern West Virginia. Abnormal dryness persisted across the northern Mid-Atlantic, where 60-day precipitation deficits range from 2 to 6 inches. Moderate drought also expanded in northern and western parts of Virginia, with short-term precipitation deficits, and there was an expansion of dry conditions across parts of Alabama, Georgia, and the Florida Panhandle.

Experts say that despite the stormy December, it will take an exceptional water year to beat back the devasting drought of 2021, which brought many hydroelectric reservoirs to critically low capacity. For example, low reservoir levels at the 646-MW Edwards Hyatt Power Plant at Lake Oroville, California, caused the hydro plant to shut down in August for the first time since it began operating in 1969. After the storms, the plant resumed operation on Jan. 1, 2022. Over the summer, power production also dropped heavily at Lake Shasta in California’s Central Valley and at the 2000-MW Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.

At the peak of summer, 100 percent of California was experiencing some degree of drought, the snowpack was severely below normal, and melting water from the snowpack often didn’t reach western reservoirs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”). EIA expects that data from 2021 will show it was a lower year for hydroelectric output, which was down by 37 percent in the first four months of the year compared with 2020, and 71 percent lower than the same period in 2019. EIA projects that hydroelectric output in California will be down by 19 percent over the entire year from 2020, decreasing from 16.8 million MWh in 2020 to 13.6 million MWh in 2021.

The reduced hydropower output offset an increase in solar and wind generating capacity nationally. This effect put the share of all renewables in the U.S. electricity capacity at about 20 percent in 2021, about the same level as 2020 despite the addition of new renewable projects, EIA said. National renewables output is expected to be about 22 percent of U.S. electricity generation in 2022.

As of Dec. 15, before a strong surge of rainfall caused by the La Niña season, the snow-water equivalent was at 18 percent of the April 1 average and 73 percent of a normal read for the Dec. 15 date. The Central Sierra’s snow-water equivalent was at 87 percent of normal for the Dec. 15 date, and the Southern Sierra was at 97 percent of normal for that date, according to CADWR.

The Drought Monitor reported that dry winter seasons in 2020 and 2021 have created concerns about the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which serves as the “blood supply” for the state’s water system. CADWR announced Dec. 1 that the “initial water allocation” to state water contractors would be at zero percent for the first time. For comparison, the initial allocation in 2020 was 10 percent, and the final allocation in May was 20 percent.

But strong snowfall was predicted for the remainder of the year in the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades in southern British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, the Great Basin—which includes the Great Salt Lake, Pyramid Lake, and the Humboldt Sink—and the 3000-mile Rocky Mountains that stretch from western Canada to New Mexico.

This will replenish hydroelectric reservoirs that serve Pacific Northwest utilities and electric grids as far away as Arizona, which imports a good portion of Northwest hydropower.

But even as the West shows signs of recovery, drought was still prevalent as 2021 closed out, although precipitation had improved. As of Jan. 4, two to locally six inches of precipitation was reported from the Cascades westward to the West Coast in the Pacific Northwest and parts of California, “further reducing dryness and drought in areas where such conditions have already been removed,” the Drought Monitor said. Some areas in California received more precipitation in the past three months than they had in the prior 12 months, the agency said.

The surge in rain and snow in December shows that weather systems work in cyclical ways, but the impact of drought on power production and water allocations for agriculture and other activities serious. However, for the time being, it seems that the parched soil in the West and throughout the country is beginning to experience some relief.

All views expressed by the contributors are solely the contributors’ current views and do not reflect the views of Concentric Energy Advisors, Inc., its affiliates, subsidiaries, or related companies. The contributors’ views are based upon information the contributors consider reliable at the time of publication. However, neither Concentric Energy Advisors, Inc., nor its affiliates, subsidiaries, and related companies warrant the information’s completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such

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Concentric Recognizes and Promotes Key Team Members

Concentric Energy Advisors proudly announces several significant team member promotions.

John Stewart was promoted to Senior Vice President. Mr. Stewart is an expert on ratemaking, regulatory policies, utility mergers and acquisitions, and future of energy matters.

Ruben Moreno was promoted to Vice President. Mr. Moreno is a recognized expert in energy procurement and risk management.

Caroline O’Neill was promoted to Vice President. Ms. O’Neill offers a broad range of expertise, including regulatory policy formation and strategy, merger and acquisition due diligence, utility valuations, and asset-based transactions.

Gregg Therrien was promoted to Vice President. Mr. Therrien is an expert in regulatory strategy, cost of service, revenue requirements, and rate design and rate consolidation.

Benjamin Davis was promoted to Assistant Vice President. Mr. Davis focuses on renewable energy, energy efficiency programs, including for low- to moderate-income customers, heat pump programs, grid modernization, and innovative regulatory models.

Meredith Stone was promoted to Senior Project Manager. Ms. Stone offers extensive power market experience focusing on wholesale market design.

Ryan Kennedy was promoted to Senior Analyst. Mr. Kennedy is a member of the depreciation team and provides analytical and research support.

“I am pleased to watch our team continually grow and evolve year after year. This group has demonstrated a strong commitment to serving our clients, and their promotions are well-deserved,” said John J. Reed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “I am honored to have as my colleagues some of the top experts in energy consulting.”

Federal Government, States, Industry Study Renewable Natural Gas as Cleaner Resource

Published: November 12, 2021

By: Concentric Staff Writer 

The federal government, some states, and the energy industry are increasingly looking to renewable natural gas (“RNG”) as an alternative to regular fossil-fuel-based natural gas in the power-generation and transportation sectors. However, there are challenges to overcome, such as availability of the resource, its cost, and environmental opposition.

Renewable natural gas is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and is capable of being transported through natural gas pipelines and used in natural gas-powered vehicles, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”). RNG is a biogas, or the gaseous result of the decomposition of organic matter that is processed to industry purity standards.

Similar to conventional natural gas, RNG can be used as a transportation fuel in the form of compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas that can replace diesel fuel. RNG qualifies as an advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard, a federal program created in the mid-2000s which requires renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuels at increasing levels annually, culminating in 36 billion gallons by 2022, according to the EIA.

State governments are also beginning to notice the potential of RNG. In 2019 Oregon passed SB 98, a first-of-its-kind RNG program to be implemented by the Oregon Public Utilities Commission. The bill, which is meant to stimulate the RNG industry by increasing demand, requires the PUC to set voluntary RNG procurement targets for utilities, ultimately stepping up to a 30 percent RNG target by 2050.

Utility Southern California Gas Co. is researching expanded usage of RNG, and the City of Los Angeles included RNG-fired turbines in its LA100 zero-emission plan. California is also showing movement in growing RNG as a resource through a pilot program by the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”).

In December 2020 the CPUC approved an RNG tariff pilot program for residential, small commercial, and industrial customers of investor-owned utilities. The three-year pilot program will help the CPUC understand whether such efforts encourage polluting activity or take advantage of a waste, the CPUC said. The program is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help customers become comfortable using RNG as part of their regular natural gas service. This will guide the state in deciding whether it should set statewide biomethane standards, according to the CPUC. The program includes an RNG commodity charge of $1.51 per therm, which is about four times higher than the non-RNG commodity charge of 36 cents per therm under a participant’s regular gas tariff.

The CPUC is requiring that at least 50 percent of the RNG supply procured through the program come from in-state or out-of-state pipelines. RNG sources outside the U.S. that have not already been delivering RNG through a common-carrier pipeline would not be allowed to participate. This is to promote a regulatory goal of increasing production of in-state and national RNG, the CPUC said.

A study by the University of California Davis, noted that the growth of natural gas fueling infrastructure improves the prospects for the development of a commercially viable RNG industry in California. The study, “The Feasibility of Renewable Natural Gas as a Large-Scale, Low Carbon Substitute,” was done for the California Air Resources Board.

“The development of alternative fuels that have low greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions, such as renewable natural gas, are vital for the state of California to meet climate change and air quality goals,” the study says. At current credit prices, including California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard and the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard, up to 82 billion cubic-feet per year of RNG supply could be attractive for private investment at competitive rates of return in developing RNG sources from landfill, dairy, municipal solid waste and waste-water sites combined, the study says.

Biogas is produced from various sources through a biochemical process such as anaerobic digestion or thermochemical means such as gasification. Anaerobic digestion refers to processes in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material, EIA said. Sources for biogas include landfills, which are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the U.S. Biogas can also be recovered from livestock operations through biogas recovery systems such as anaerobic digesters, as well as from wastewater treatment and other industrial, institutional, and commercial sources like food manufacturing, supermarkets, restaurants, hospitals, and educational facilities.

In an analysis released Oct. 26, Southern California Gas Co. (“SoCal Gas”) called for a Clean Fuels Procurement Standard to accelerate deployment of clean fuels. The benefits that could be harnessed from increased deployment of RNG include capturing the emissions of unused waste methane from landfills and agriculture, reducing the need for fossil-based gas, and cutting production and waste disposal costs.

“RNG can be an important renewable energy tool because it is available anytime consumers need it,” SoCal Gas said in a briefing on its website, pointing out that renewable energy resources like wind and solar are intermittent. But waste material can be converted into RNG 24/7 and can be deployed through the existing pipeline network.

The City of Los Angeles, aided by research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has realized that its goal of transitioning the city to 100-percent zero-emissions will not be possible with “renewably fueled combustion turbines” in the LA Basin, to support electric grid reliability and back-up intermittent renewable generation.

But the Natural Resources Defense Council points out limitations to RNG, such as its availability, cost, and impacts on the environment and human health. In a June 2020 study, NRDC estimated that RNG only has the potential to replace 3-7 percent of current fossil-based gas. It also points out that methane leaks from pipelines are possible. NRDC cited a California Energy Commission study that estimated that biogas will cost $8-$40 per MMBtu by 2050 and that synthetic methane will cost between $37-$90 per MMBtu by that time.

The United States uses more than 31,000 trillion BTUs of fossil gas annually, according to EIA. Fossil gas, or natural gas, consists primarily of methane. In the United States, about 36.5 percent of natural gas is used for power generation, 27.5 percent for heating and cooking in residential and commercial buildings, 27 percent for industrial processes, and 8.9 percent for producing, transporting, and processing natural gas. Less than 1 percent is used for fueling vehicles.

The California Energy Commission’s (“CEC”) 2020 Integrated Energy Policy Report states that renewable gas “may also have a place in reducing pollution, such as smogforming nitrogen oxides.” There has been a rapid expansion of RNG facilities in the state, which currently has the energy potential equal to about 25 percent of the state’s diesel fuel supply.

But the CEC noted that RNG is mostly composed of methane, a potent greenhouse gas with 25 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide, leading them to state “the state must balance the benefits of renewable gas against the impacts of methane leakage.”

As RNG is studied and implemented more, it should become clearer how feasible it will be to replace portions of the natural gas supply with this cleaner resource, and what the trade-offs will be in terms of cost and environmental impact.

All views expressed by the contributors are solely the contributors’ current views and do not reflect the views of Concentric Energy Advisors, Inc., its affiliates, subsidiaries, or related companies. The contributors’ views are based upon information the contributors consider reliable at the time of publication. However, neither Concentric Energy Advisors, Inc., nor its affiliates, subsidiaries, and related companies warrant the information’s completeness or accuracy, and it should not be relied upon as such.

CE Capital Advisors Acted as Financial Co-Advisor to EDF Inc. in Sale of Nuclear Assets

Nuclear power plant after sunset. Dusk landscape with big chimneys.CE Capital Advisors, Inc. (CE Capital), a Concentric Energy Advisors (Concentric) company, recently acted as a financial co-advisor to EDF Inc. (EDF) in the sale of its 49.99% interest in Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, LLC (CENG) to Exelon Generation, LLC (Exelon). The purchase price for EDF’s interest in CENG was $885 million.

CE Capital is a securities firm that provides services relating to corporate mergers and acquisitions, the valuation of securities, and capital market advisory support, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Concentric. In addition, CE Capital often provides services as an extension of Concentric’s management consulting services, including rendering fairness opinions for transactions and corporate valuations for financings, litigation, and strategic assignments. CE Capital Advisors, Inc. is a member of FINRA and SIPC.

“We take pride in the integrated financial advisory and energy markets analytical solution we provided to EDF as a financial co-advisor in this critical transaction,” said John J. Reed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CE Capital and Concentric. “This success highlights our firm’s strong track record of assisting high-profile, multinational clients with transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of large assets and with the purchase and sale of business units and divisions. CE Capital leveraged Concentric’s extensive energy industry experience to meet our client’s complex transactional needs.”

To learn more about Concentric’s Financial Advisory services, please click here.

Concentric Sells The Foster Report to Royal Media

Concentric Energy Advisors has completed the sale of The Foster Report to Royal Media, a leading specialized information company.

The Foster Report was launched on March 23, 1956, in Washington, D.C., by a group of noted economists. It was originally known as The Foster Associates Report, and then as The Foster Natural Gas Report. Over the years it has become a well-respected media source beyond the field of economics, and today it is a key resource in the energy compliance sector.

“We are pleased to have found a steward that will continue Foster’s storied history of high-quality and in-depth reporting,” said Jim Coyne, Senior Vice President of Concentric Energy Advisors. “Royal Media is a leading business information and media company dedicated to providing engaging and insightful content. I am confident Foster subscribers will benefit from this new business alignment,” continued Mr. Coyne.

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