For Immediate Release: July 14, 2010
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Awards More Than $2.5 Million for Research Projects

SACRAMENTO – The California Energy Commission today awarded $2,554,030 million for research projects tackling a range of issues including climate change, electric fuel, and energy storage. The funds come awarded from the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.

"With these funds, the Commission is helping invest and prepare for California's energy future," said Energy Commissioner Anthony Eggert. "The PIER program has a successful history of funding innovative energy projects that provide benefits for all Californians."

Here is a summary of the seven projects that funding was approved for:

  • The California Institute for Energy and Environment at UC Berkeley will receive $549,975 to further develop CalAdapt, a prototype interactive visualization tool that maps out how potential climate changes will impact California. The project calls for updating, expanding, and launching the Web-based tool for public use. The tool would provide data that would be used for planning purposes at the local, regional, and state levels and help educate the public about the impacts of climate change.
  • The Institute of Transportation Studies' Transportation Sustainability Research Center at UC Berkeley will receive $200,000 to study the technological, economic, and regulatory barriers involved in scaling up electric fuel for transportation purposes. The research will help to understand what regulatory changes can be made to reduce the cost of plug-in electric vehicle batteries.
  • UC Berkeley's California Institute for Energy and Environment will receive $160,000 to expand the capability of the Water Energy Sustainability Tool, which calculates the energy and environmental implications associated with water supply and wastewater treatment systems. The tool's capability will be expanded to include consumptive water use and quantify the water footprint of energy sources. Funds will also be used to make it a Web-based tool.
  • The University of California at Los Angeles will receive $550,000 to develop a method to estimate energy and environmental impacts of neighborhood-scale changes on urban transportation systems. The project would also develop a prototype calculator tool that planners can use to identify and quantify the energy impacts of land use and transportation systems decisions.
  • The University of California at Irvine will receive $300,000 to develop and demonstrate innovative methods and technology for controlling the dispatch of combined cooling, heating, and power (CCHP) systems for light industrial, commercial, and institutional uses. The funds are a cost-share to the U.S. Department of Energy under a $1.28 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) award to UC Irvine, which is partnering with Siemens Corporate Research.
  • Premium Power Corporation will receive $394,082 to demonstrate the load management and peak-shaving performance of a 100-kilowatt/150 kilowatt hour zinc-bromide energy storage system for customer-side applications. The project calls for installing the PowerBlock150 energy storage system at a Wal-Mart store in San Diego. Match funding of $113,995 would come from project partners Premium Power, Wal-Mart, and San Diego Gas & Electric.
  • The Gas Technology Institute will receive $399,973 to demonstrate how medium temperature non-tracking solar collectors can be used in an industrial setting. Match funding of $553,000 will come from their partners, H2Go and Utilization Technology Development. The proposed project at the SABMiller brewing facility in Irwindale would show the feasibility of using medium temperature solar thermal to drive industrial processes instead of natural gas and electricity.

The Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program supports public interest research and development that helps improve the quality of life in California by bringing environmentally safe, reliable, and affordable energy services and products to the marketplace. For more information, visit

Created by the California Legislature in 1974, the California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The Energy Commission has five major responsibilities: forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency through appliance and building standards; developing energy technologies and supporting renewable energy; an planning for and directing state response to energy emergency.

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