California Energy Commission Research
The California Energy Commission sponsors research and provides incentives for distributed energy resources. The primary research arm within the Energy Commission is the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program. The PIER Program provides funding to public and private entities for energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) activities that advance science and technology and improve the quality of life in California. The goal of the PIER Program is to bring environmentally safe, affordable, and reliable energy services and products to the marketplace, while creating state wide environmental and economic benefits.
Distributed generation is one of several focus areas of the PIER program, representing approximately 25 percent of all funding since the program's inception in 1998. As of March 2004, 108 projects totaling over $94 million are identified with distributed generation. These projects are spread across the all six program areas of PIER. The six program areas include:
- Environmental Preferred Advanced Generation (EPAG)
- Renewable Generation
- Energy System Integration (ESI)
- Energy-Related Environmental Research
- Industrial/Agricultural/Water End-Use Energy Efficiency (IAW)
- Residential and Non-Residential Buildings End-Use Energy
Most of the portfolio is focused on reducing environmental impacts and reducing the cost of generating electricity. The most diverse range of projects, however, is found under the Energy Systems Integration (ESI) program area, with projects focusing on interconnection issues, market integration, grid effects, and market structure.
PIER regularly updates these statistics. A complete PIER-wide inventory of DG-related research projects can be downloaded in an excel spreadsheet format - PIER-wide DG-related Research Project Inventory. This inventory includes contract numbers, primary research question being addressed, issue area, funding amount and related information.