For Immediate Release After: June 30, 1998
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

Public Interest Energy Research
Projects Receive $18.3 Million In Funding

The California Energy Commission recently approved $18.3 million in funding for 20 public interest research projects with the potential to make electricity safer, more affordable, reliable and environmentally sound for Californians. Matching funds, to be provided by organizations submitting the winning proposals, total $48 million.

The projects selected range from a study of how to mitigate golden eagle deaths in wind turbine farms to the development of a marketable photovoltaic roof tile. Finalists were selected from 180 proposals submitted by the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) community in response to the first general solicitation of the Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program.

In California's restructured electricity market, the PIER program took over most of the public interest RD&D responsibilities once held by electric utilities. The program makes certain that ratepayers continue to reap RD&D benefits in the new competitive marketplace. PIER will make available about $62 million annually through the year 2001 for public interest research projects that advance energy science or technology not adequately provided by regulated and competitive markets.

"I was amazed by the diversity and quality of the proposals," said Energy Commission Vice Chair David A. Rohy. "It was tough to draw the line as to how many projects would receive funding. I encourage firms who were not succesful to try again."

Dr. Rohy, who chairs the Commission's RD&D Committee, said finalists were selected after each proposal underwent a thorough review and scoring process. Decisions were based on technical and policy evaluation criteria as well as the program's goals to: make electricity more affordable; keep the production of the commodity cleaner and safer; and improve its reliability, quality and distribution for the benefit of California consumers.

Proposals for the first general solicitation were sought in the areas of environmental research, advanced generation and renewable energy technology. Because of the merits of the proposals, the Committee recommended and the Commission decided to increase the $15 million alloted by another $3.3 million.

In the area of environmental research, these organizations were funded:

Funded in the area of advanced generation were:

Organizations funded for renewables research were:

A list of proposed awards for the program's second general solicitation will be announced in September in the areas of end-use energy efficiency and strategic energy research. A "Small Grants" solicitation to provide modest funding to help recipients evaluate which RD&D concepts are feasible to further stimulate new energy innovations in California, is expected to be released later this year.

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For more information contact:
California Energy Commission
Claudia Chandler, Assistant Executive Director

Here is a list of contact persons for the 20 winning projects (Powerlight has two projects):

Alec N. Brooks, Vice President, AeroVironment, Inc., (626) 357-9983

Dr. Scott Smith, Project Manager, Alzeta Corporation, (408) 727-8282

Jim Bergquam, Owner, Bergquam Energy Systems, (916) 383-9425

Tom Morjig, Director, Catalytica Combustion Systems, (650) 940-6371

Lory E. Larson, Project Manager, Edison Technology Solutions, (626) 815-0520

William E. Horne, Vice President, EDTEK, (253) 395-8084

Michael Wilt, Vice President, Electromagnetic Instruments, Inc., (510) 232-7997

Jerald A. Cole, Project Manager, Energy and Environmental Research Corporation, (714) 859-8851

Renee H. Guild, Executive Manager, Public Benefits, EPRI, (650) 855-8987

Isaac Chan, Program Leader, Gas Research Institute, (Low NOx burner project), (773) 399-5411

Lou A. Lautman, Project Manager, Gas Research Institute, (natural gas engine project), (773) 399-5461

Thomas G. Benjamin, Project Manager, M-C Power Corporation, (630) 986-8040

Thomas L. Dinwoddie, President, Powerlight Corporation, (510) 540-0550

Kenneth R. Broome, Managing Partner, Powerwheel Associates, (650) 529-1810

Dan Whitney, PVUSA Site Manager, (SMUD project), (916) 732-5351

Grainger Hunt, Associate Specialist, University of California, Santa Cruz, (408) 459-2466

Gilbert Duran, Manager of Contracts, Utility Power Group, Inc., (818) 700-1995

Dr. Stephen Veyo, Fuel Cell Projects, Westinghouse Electric Company, (412) 256-1901

Lawrence W. Miles, President, The Wind Turbine Company, (425) 637-1470

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