For Immediate Release: March 2, 1998
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

California and Department of Energy
Sign Historic Agreement

At the Department of Energy in Washington D.C. on Monday, March 2, the Chairman of the California Energy Commission and the federal Under Secretary of Energy formally signed an historic agreement to promote energy-related research and development.

Energy Commission Chairman William J. Keese and Under Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz signed the first-ever Memo of Understanding between federal and state energy agencies to create a partnership in energy technology planning and information transfer. Involving research, development and demonstration across a broad spectrum of energy-related activities, the MOU is expected to be the model for similar agreements to be signed between the Department of Energy and other states, as well as between other states and California.

Energy Commission Chairman William J. Keese and Under Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz

"Since the 1970s, California has served as an 'energy laboratory' for the nation, developing new technologies like wind power and other renewable energy sources while creating new standards for energy efficiency," said Chairman Keese. "Now, as our state shifts to a competitive electricity generation industry - the largest electricity restructuring yet to take place in the world - this new partnership guarantees that the search for innovative energy ideas will continue."

The agreement focuses on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies from sources such as solar, wind, small hydroelectric, fuel cells and biomass. It also encourages the development of advanced electricity generation systems and new transportation and fuels technologies.

According to the agreement, enhancing energy RD&D will "increase United States competitiveness and economic prosperity, and preserve the environment through the efficient production, transmission, distribution and use of energy."

"One of the goals of the Energy Commission is to promote public and private partnerships to bring new ideas to the marketplace," said Keese. "This MOU will enable us to pool federal and state research dollars. We recently signed a similar agreement with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to collaborate more closely. By all of us working together, we can share information, prevent duplication of efforts, leverage the available funds and jointly fund projects. In the process, we remove government barriers and simplify the path for research projects to enter the market."

Under electricity restructuring, the California Energy Commission is administering two vital programs - the $248 million Public Interest Energy Research Program (PIER) and a $540 million Renewables Program. The PIER funding continues programs previously undertaken by regulated utilities. The Renewables Program provides financial assistance to projects during the transition to a fully competitive market.

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