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For Immediate Release: July 19, 2006
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Awards Nearly $6 Million for Public Interest Energy Research
Projects Include Improving Grid Transmission, Forecasting, and Energy Efficiency


SACRAMENTO - Demonstrating its commitment to scientific public energy research, the California Energy Commission today approved several contracts totaling more than $5.9 million dollars to research facilities, energy consultants, and universities. The contracts include a variety of programs such as improving electrical transmission through modeling, energy forecasting, and water conservation efforts.

"This research demonstrates the steps California is taking to ensure that our energy infrastructure remains strong and reinforces the Commission's commitment towards providing safe, affordable, and reliable power. By analyzing our relationship with energy and its impact on the environment, we can better understand how to get the most out of our available resources," said Energy Commissioner Art Rosenfeld.

This funding comes from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. The PIER program, the largest in the nation, awards up to $84 million to conduct energy research annually. The program supports energy research, development and demonstration projects that improve the quality of life in California.

The awards include:

$1,613,430 to the Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the Western Electricity Coordinating Council Load Modeling Transmission Research. The research will investigate the impacts of new residential air conditioning equipment and electronic equipment on stability performance of the Western grid. Included in this amount is $455,000 for the Transmission Cost Allocation Methodologies that will research and develop methods to assess strategic transmission benefits and planning tools. Results will help California utilities with transmission line construction and cost recovery in cases with transmission planning activities. The goal of this program is to improve simulation models used by the utilities.

$250,000 to Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) for the Transmission Probabilistic Congestion Forecasting. This 12-month project will develop and apply a mathematical approach using probabilities to describe load and generation time dependence and forecasting to predict transmission congestion. This contract follows a previous $300,000 awarded to EPRI to conduct research and develop software for the California Independent System Operator (CA ISO) to forecast 24-hours ahead and determine whether the grid will encounter operating constraints.

$1,299,616 to Ecos Consulting to identify and prioritize energy efficiency improvements for consumer and business equipment including desktop computers, commercial and medical equipment, desk top computers and televisions. This funding will build upon existing technology and provide up to 2,900 gigawatts of future electric savings by identifying and developing potential energy efficiency improvements for consumer and office electronic equipment.

The Commission also approved:

$1,315,985 to Navigant Consulting to develop technology roadmaps, conduct research assessments, and pursue related planning activities for PIER's Energy Systems Integration Research Program. This project supports California's goal of aligning research and development funding with public policy goals for renewable technologies and greenhouse gas mitigation technologies, including efficiency, renewable generation, and energy storage.

$599,625 to the University of Florida to develop a model to estimate the effects of rising sea levels to the California coastline as a result of global climate change. This project will collect geological data to better understand shoreline change, use the new model to identify "hotspots" of potential coastal erosion, and create different scenarios of different sea level rise. This project supports the California Climate Change Center in evaluating the economic and ecological consequences of climate change.

$534,788 to the University of California , Berkeley for the Life-Cycle Energy Assessment of Alternative Water Supply Systems in California . The project analyzes water treatment issues and provides a cost benefit analysis of water and waste water management. The goal of this research is to enhance and demonstrate the model's capabilities to assess the complete range of environmental effects on water and wastewater systems.

$140,000 (with $815,033 in matching federal funds) to Pipeline Research Council International, to develop a set of guidelines and practices that can be used by the natural gas pipeline industry to evaluate and site pipelines on terrain subject to large-scale ground movements.

$150,000 to Pacific Region Combined Heat and Power Application Center (PRAC), to augment an existing grant ($299,985) from the U.S. Department of Energy's State Energy Program. The PRAC is a collaborative effort among UC, Berkeley; UC, Irvine ; and San Diego State University that promotes informational exchange, education, and technical assistance in Pacific region for combined heat and power systems.

Created by the Legislature in 1974, the California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The Energy Commission has five major responsibilities: forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency through appliance and building standards; developing energy technologies and supporting renewable energy; an planning for and directing state response to energy emergency.

Members of the Energy Commission include: Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel; Vice Chair James D. Boyd; Commissioners Jeffrey Byron; John Geesman; and Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld.

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