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For Immediate Release: December 14, 2006
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission Awards $3 Million to UC Davis
for Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research

Other Funding Includes Air Quality and Commercial Food Service Operations


Sacramento - Demonstrating its commitment to explore new technologies, California Energy Commission yesterday approved $3 million to University of California, Davis for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) research center. The funds will be allocated over three years and use the UCD Institute of Transportation Studies as its hub.

"Funding this technology represents a significant milestone for California," said Energy Commission Vice Chair James Boyd. "The center will serve as a magnet for innovative research by advancing and demonstrating technology which will greatly reduce our dependence on petroleum."

The goals of the research center are to: enhance the commercial viability of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; identify strategies to accelerate an effective adoption of PHEVs; support demonstration and related activities; and provide information on decision making and alternative vehicle and transportation technologies. These goals will be achieved by creating a "roadmap" which will identify, conduct, and contract the necessary R&D; developing an advisory council to provide strategic direction; establishing partnerships with other institutions; and fostering connections with stakeholders.

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 Commission also announced the following awards from the PIER Natural Gas program.

  • $736,690 to the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) to develop information regarding the use of certain gases on indoor air quality, including the environmental impact, energy efficiency, safety, and performance.

  • $667,000 to the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) to conduct research related to energy-efficient gas cooling, water heating, and commercial food service equipment.

    The PIER program's mission focuses research that improves the quality of life in California by providing environmentally sound, safe, reliable and affordable energy services and products. The program includes the full range of research, development, and demonstration activities that advance science or technology not adequately provided by competitive and regulated markets

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 are Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel; Vice Chair James D. Boyd; Commissioners Jeffrey Byron; John Geesman; and Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld.

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