For Immediate Release: June 16, 2011
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989

MEDIA ADVISORY

Energy Commission Awards Nearly $7.5 Million for Research Projects



SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission has awarded $7,457,551 for 10 research projects. The research technology includes using waste-to-renewable energy, energy storage, and wind and solar projects. Funds for the projects come from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.

Transportation Power, Inc. (doing business as TransPower) of Escondido (San Diego County) will receive $2 million to design, build, and test a new, low cost fast energy storage system known as Grid-Saver. The Grid-Saver system will ease the integration of utility-scale renewable energy projects onto the state's electrical grid. The prototype system, with a peak capacity of five megawatts, is projected to cost about five times less than competing battery systems.

On Wednesday, the Energy Commission also awarded funding to the following projects:

  • University of California at Irvine will receive $1 million to conduct research on plug loads, which are devices that plug into an electrical outlet. Plug loads currently are responsible for up to 20 percent of the electrical consumption in buildings. The project will help assist and accelerate the development of energy-efficient plug load devices and provide the foundation for future Title 20 Appliance Efficiency Standards.
  • Primus Power Corporation of Hayward will use its $1 million cost-share grant to develop and field test a 25-megawatt flow battery system EnergyFarm at the Modesto Irrigation District in Modesto. The flow battery EnergyFarm storage technology will provide power to make up for the variable nature of wind and solar power and help integrate renewable energy into the electric grid. The company received a $14.4 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) award. The total project cost is $46.7 million.
  • Combined Power Cooperative of Santee (San Diego County) received $1 million to develop and demonstrate the company's Hyperlight concentrated solar thermal power technology. The technology has lower costs, land use, and water use per megawatts produced compared to traditional utility-scale solar generation.
  • City of Anaheim received $589,603 to install advanced smart meters to improve the existing utility and grid infrastructure. The Energy Commission funding is a cost-share for the city's $5.9 million ARRA award. The total project cost is $12.2 million.
  • Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) will use its $500,000 award to evaluate the value of advanced metering infrastructure for homes with photovoltaics and storage. The project will evaluate home-based storage, community-based storage, and no storage scenarios. The money is a cost-share for SMUD's $4.3 million ARRA award. The total project cost is $6.4 million.
  • University of California, Davis will receive $500,000 to install an advanced on-site waste-to-renewable energy system (biodigester) within a large-scale mixed-use community. The biodigester gas produced will be used on campus as a fuel source. The fund is a cost-share for UC Davis' $2.5 million ARRA award. The total cost of the project is $4.8 million.
  • Clean Power Research of Napa will receive $450,000 to develop a master solar photovoltaic (PV) database for grid-connected PV systems in California and validate the solar power output variability for PV systems. The project will be coordinated with the California Independent System Operator, which will use the information in its planning process to address existing and future variability from solar PV generation.
  • California State University, Fresno Foundation will receive $297,948 to develop an assessment method for dryland streams that will be used to help permitting of solar energy projects. The method will characterize the active watercourse processes and boundaries of episodic streams in arid and semi-arid - or dryland - environments. The work will be developed and tested at proposed locations of utility-scale solar energy projects that the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Bureau of Land Management identify.
  • Project Navigator, LTD of Brea (Orange County) will receive $120,000 to study the effects of utility-scale PV energy systems on landfill caps and to develop a guidance manual for landfill-based PV. The information will help develop more landfill-located PV solar projects in California.

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 www.energy.ca.gov/research/.

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; and planning for and directing state response to energy emergency.



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