Research Focus Areas
PIER Environmental Research - Energy Related Global Climate Change Issues
Based on the inextricable link between energy and greenhouse gas emissions, research into climate change is vital to PIER-EA's mission. In carrying out its mission PIER-EA has directed a large amount of research in the area of climate change, both to increase understanding of climate change, as well as to help in preventing, mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change for the energy sector.
California Climate Change Research Center
Much of the PIER-EA climate change research is performed through the California Climate Change Research Center
Created by the Energy Commission in 2003 as the first state-funded climate change research program in the nation, the Center is a virtual organization that conducts coordinated/integrated research in four areas:
- Climate monitoring, analysis, and modeling.
- Improving inventory methods (PIER is not supporting this area of research at this time).
- Options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: producing information that would reduce energy utilities' cap-and-trade compliance costs.
- Impacts and adaptation for the energy sector.
The goal of the Center is to enhance national and international studies on regional climate change and generate new information that can be used to shape California's climate change policy . All final reports submitted by the Center are posted online.
West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership
PIER-EA is also highly involved with the West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (WESTCARB). Carbon Capture and Sequestration (or Storage) (CCS), has been identified as a potential strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from major industrial sites. WESTCARB is a collaborative research project bringing together more than 90 public agencies, private companies, and nonprofits that was organized by the California Energy Commission in 2003 to identify and validate the best regional opportunities for keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere, thereby reducing humankind's impact on the climate.
In other activities related to CCS, PIER-EA has been instrumental in the formation and proceedings of the California Carbon Capture and Storage Review Panel which was formed by the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Air Resources Board to review CCS policy and develop recommendations that could help guide legislation and regulations regarding CCS in California.
Climate Change Research Highlights:
- The Future is Now
- CalAdapt - Visualizing Climate Change Risk and Adaptation Options in California
- Climate Change Impacts on the Operation of Two High-Elevation Hydropower Systems in California
- Impact of Climate Change on Residential Electricity Consumption: Evidence From Billing Data
- Optimization of Novel Distributed Energy Networks to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions In California
- Government Actions and Innovation in Clean Energy Technologies: The Cases of Photovoltaic Cells, Solar Thermal Electric Power, and Solar Water Heating
- Our Changing Climate - Assessing the Risks to California