Energy Commission Program Highlights

It Takes a Village to Make a Bus, and That’s a Very Good Thing

Earlier this year, the city of Gardena took five of its old, fossil fuel-driven buses off the street, sent them 60 miles away and waited. A few months later and almost like magic, the first of the buses rolled back into town looking brand new and quietly gliding along on a clean energy all-electric power train. The "magic" was done by the diverse workforce at the Complete Coach Works assembly plant in Riverside. Of its 334 employees, 65 percent are minorities. Read More


2016 Program Highlights

Energy Research and Development Division

  • The Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program made 115 awards in 2016. Of those awards, 16 projects were located in disadvantaged communities, bringing investment and opportunity to all regions of the state.
  • Seven projects, totaling $10 million, were awarded to develop innovative approaches to plan, permit, and finance advanced energy communities. These seven projects are planned to be developed in disadvantaged communities in the future. Additionally, the EPIC program has established the CalSEED initiative, which will provide funding and resources for early-stage innovations and clean energy entrepreneurs, with $4 million dedicated to helping entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities and underrepresented groups.
  • On March 29-30, staff traveled to Pasadena to attend the 2016 Small Business Expo hosted by the California Public Utilities Commission, as part of the Energy Commission's AB 865 implementation and ongoing diversity outreach efforts to attract greater participation in Energy Commission programs for more diverse groups.
  • On May 18, staff participated in the 28th Annual State Scientist Day at the State Capitol, exhibiting displays on electricity, renewable energy, and electricity integration and distribution, in an effort to present opportunities for children from third to sixth grade to learn about a wide range of science topics, and showcases work performed by state scientists to protect public health, the environment, and California’s natural resources.
  • In an effort to increase diversity outreach (per AB 865) for the Energy Commission's grant funding opportunities, strengthen the Commission’s presence among disadvantaged communities, and develop new contacts, staff attended the Greenlining Institute’s 23rd Annual Economic Summit in Oakland on Thursday, May 26. The summit, "Reinventing California - Solutions from the New Majority", drew attendees from the business, community, social justice, and political sectors to discuss diversity in California’s policy issues.
  • In July, staff traveled to the Bay Area to meet with numerous community and advocacy groups, including the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, the Greenlining Institute, the Brightline Defense Council, and the Minority Business Development Association, in an effort to build sustaining relationships and form new partnerships with community groups in this area.
  • On September 7, staff participated in the Brightline Defense Project Sustainability Summit to meet with community groups and promote EPIC funding opportunities and share information about the Energy Commission’s outreach efforts to: disadvantaged communities; small businesses; disabled-veteran; minority; LGBT; and women-owned business enterprises.
  • On September 22, Energy Commission staff conducted a workshop to discuss opportunities to increase private sector participation in research grant funding opportunities. Ten panelists from various public, non-profit, and private organizations discussed specific ways to improve and heighten private sector participation in Commission research programs. This workshop helped staff understand the potential barriers that may deter private sector companies from applying for funding opportunities and collected ideas for facilitating greater private sector participation.
  • The 2016 EPIC Symposium was attended by more than 50 women-owned businesses from throughout the state, as well as businesses owned by people from the LGBT community, disabled veterans and minority business owners, and almost 100 representatives from small businesses.

Renewable Energy Division

  • The New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) program provides higher rebate rates for affordable housing communities to install solar on new residences. Participating affordable housing developments installed over 1.5MW of new capacity in 2016 and received $2,431,457 in incentives (through December 2, 2016). These affordable housing rebates account for 13% of total incentives paid through NSHP in 2016.
  • Renewable Energy Division staff is working on a tenth edition of the NSHP Guidebook to simplify and increase program participation for affordable housing developments. Proposed changes for the update aim to broaden the criteria for housing developers to qualify for higher affordable housing rebate rates and will include a new bonus incentive to residences located in Disadvantaged Communities.

Fuels and Transportation Division

  • Natural Gas program: Agreement with the City of Los Angeles Harbor Department for a $5,833,000 grant to conduct a demonstration of medium- and heavy-duty advanced vehicle technologies and intelligent transportation systems. The demonstration will occur in and near the Port of Los Angeles and within disadvantaged communities.
  • Natural Gas program: Agreement with the San Diego Port Tenants Association for a $5,903,652 grant to conduct a field demonstration project of advanced vehicle technologies and intelligent transportation systems. The demonstration will occur in and around the Port of San Diego and benefit disadvantaged communities.
  • Biofuels program: Agreement with AltAir Fuels, LLC completed its $5,000,000 grant to support the expansion of its renewable diesel production facility, increasing capacity from 30 million gallons per year to 40 million gallons per year. This facility converts low carbon intensity feedstock into clean burning renewable diesel, a drop-in fuel that is chemically identical to petroleum diesel. This project is located in the disadvantaged community of Paramount, California.
  • Biofuels program: Agreement with CR&R Incorporated for $4,720,501, an established waste collection firm, began operation of its anaerobic digester biomethane production facility. The biomethane facility will convert at least 50,000 tons per year of mixed municipal solid waste (yard and food waste) to produce biomethane for transportation use. This project is located in the disadvantaged community of Perris, California, in Riverside County.
  • Hydrogen program: Fueling Infrastructure awarded the development of 11 stations in disadvantaged communities; 9 of these stations were awarded both cap-ex (capital equipment, design, and labor) awards and operations and maintenance (O&M) awards and 2 others were awarded O&M awards without cap-ex. These stations are located within the disadvantaged communities in the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
  • Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program: Twelve fast charger awards were made for 119 sites along highway corridors to allow border-to-border travel; 21 of the sites are located in disadvantaged communities

Siting Transmission and Environmental Division

  • STEP performed 203 Tribal Consultations on 4 projects and 3 plans, and participated in 5 tribal meetings where a total of 24 tribes were represented. Staff also attended three State Agency Tribal Liaison meetings from January 2016 through December 2016.

Energy Efficiency Division

  • Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39): Of the $803 million in proposition 39 funding approved to date, $548 million represents approved funding to disadvantaged Local Educational Agencies — approximately 68% of the approved funding. (space added)

(Note: a disadvantaged local educational agency (LEA) is an LEA with 50% (or more) of the student population eligible for the free and reduced-priced meal program, per the California Department of Education.)


2015 Program Highlights

Energy Efficiency Division

  • Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39): Of the $498 Million in proposition 39 funding approved to date, $229 Million represents approved funding for Local Educational Agencies in disadvantaged communities —approximately 46%

Energy Research and Development Division

  • The Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program made 81 awards in 2015, 12 of which were located in disadvantaged communities. Numerous other awards had project site locations in disadvantaged communities, bringing investment and opportunity to all regions of the state.
  • ERDD staff held 8 public workshops throughout the state to solicit feedback on powering California communities with regional renewable energy. 6 of the workshop locations were disadvantaged communities, including Victorville, Lynwood, San Bernardino, Oakland, Redding, and Fresno. Of the over 250 participants in these workshops, over 40 identified as an individual from a small business, woman-owned business, minority-owned business, disabled-veteran-owned business, or LGBT-owned business.

Fuels and Transportation Division

  • The Natural Gas program: Fueling Infrastructure made 13 awards, 11 were in disadvantaged communities. Solicitation preference points were awarded for businesses located in or benefitting disadvantaged communities.
  • The Hydrogen program: Infrastructure Operation & Maintenance Grants made 13 awards, 4 went to disadvantaged communities.

Renewable Energy Division

  • New Solar Homes Program: Four solar PV systems were installed on Affordable Housing eligible project in Disadvantaged Communities totaling $207,190 in incentives.

Siting Transmission and Environmental Division

  • STEP performed 148 Tribal Consultations on 11 projects from April 2015 through December 2015, and participated in four Tribal Liaison meetings from July 2015 through December 2015.

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Toll Free Phone Number (California only) :
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Email: diversity@energy.ca.gov
Telephone: 916-654-4489