California to invest over$100M to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency

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California Energy Commission has launched a series of solicitations to fund research and development projects, investing more than $100 million in solutions for California homes, businesses, and industries.

The projects, funded by the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC), aim at improving the state’s electricity system.

The Energy Commission will offer more than two dozen funding opportunities throughout 2014. The first solicitation was released in March and seeks emerging technologies for new construction and upgrades to existing buildings.

“This is a new beginning for energy research in California,” said Robert B. Weisenmiller, chair of the California Energy Commission. “These projects will spark new ideas and technologies that will make our electricity system safer, more reliable, cleaner and more efficient, plus give ratepayers more energy choices and control over their energy use.”

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The investments will benefit California’s three largest investor-owned utilities – Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. Funding is authorized in the areas of applied research and development, technology demonstration and deployment, and market facilitation.

Upcoming solicitations target projects to advance energy efficiency, renewable energy  generation, energy storage, and reliable distribution systems, such as microgrids.

Estimates say that ratepayers will save an estimated $10 billion as a result of just 19 previous research and development projects whose results led to new state efficiency standards. That is a return on investment of $446 for every $1 invested by the Energy Commission in these types of projects.

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