For Immediate Release: July 27, 2011
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Awards More Than $840,000
for Energy Storage Research

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today awarded $845,894 for research projects on energy storage. Funds for the projects come from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. "As we strive to reach the State's renewable energy goals, research in energy storage systems will reap significant benefits for California. Energy storage systems will improve efficiency and reliability in the electricity supply and facilitate the integration of clean, intermittent, renewable resources such as solar and wind," said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller.

EnerVault Corporation of Sunnyvale will receive $476,428 to demonstrate the commercial viability of the company's latest battery energy storage system with a dual-tracking photovoltaic system. The project will develop a cost-effective, reliable battery system expandable to utility-scale and integrates with renewable energy resources to address the high cost and poor performance of existing energy storage systems.

By dramatically reducing the cost of storing electricity by using safe battery chemistry, EnerVault's system will encourage the adoption of distributed renewable energy and energy storage systems. EnerVault will work with other project partners to install and evaluate the system in Snelling, California (Merced County). The total cost of the project is $9.53 million. The Commission's grant will supplement a $4.76 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act award that EnerVault, along with project partner Ktech Corporation, received from the U.S. Department of Energy. EnerVault is providing $4.29 million for the project.

Fremont-based Amber Kinetics, Inc. will receive $369,466 to research, develop, and demonstrate an innovative, utility-scale flywheel energy storage system. The cost-effectiveness of the company's low-cost, high-efficiency system will encourage the broad deployment of utility-scale flywheel energy storage technology. The project's total cost is $10 million. The Commission's grant is the cost share for the company's ARRA award of $3.7 million from the Energy Department. Amber Kinetics and other partners are contributing $5.94 million for the project.

The Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program supports public interest research and development that helps improve the quality of life in California by bringing environmentally safe, reliable, and affordable energy services and products to the marketplace. For more information, visit

Created by the California 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; and planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

# # #