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


Energy Commission Awards More Than $587,000 for Research Projects

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission has awarded $587,914 for research projects to promote clean energy technologies and develop an energy audit tool for wastewater treatment facilities. Funds for the two projects come from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.

The University of California at Irvine will receive $347,914 to develop a self-audit tool that wastewater treatment plant operators can use to identify potential energy saving measures in their plant operations. Southern California Edison will provide $117,500 in match funds.

This is the second phase of a project. The first phase, which was completed under a PIER contract with Southern California Edison, developed the auditing tool for the first portion of a wastewater treatment facility, which includes the operations for primary and secondary treatment. The second phase will develop the tool for operations after secondary treatment, including nutrient removal, disinfection, and sludge processing.

UC Irvine estimates the project could save a typical treatment facility 15 percent of its energy use. If there is a 50 percent market penetration of the auditing tool, California would save about 150 million kilowatt-hours per year.

The UC Regents will receive $240,000 to provide for the market utilization of projects in combined heat and power, waste heat to power, and district energy. District energy is when heat and/or energy from a combined heat and power facility is used in multiple buildings. This work will be done through the Pacific Region Clean Energy Application Center. The center is based at UC Berkeley and UC Irvine with support from San Diego State University and San Francisco State University. These funds leverage $2.03 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and $267,000 from other sources for a total of $2,297,000.

The Public Interest Energy Research 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; and planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

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