For Immediate Release: February 8, 2012
Media Contact: Sandy Louey - 916-654-4989


Energy Commission Awards Almost $2 Million For Research Projects

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today awarded $1,983,355 for two research projects, one targeting sustainable communities, while the other focuses on workforce training for smart grid jobs.

Funding for both projects comes from the Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.

"California is investing research dollars into projects that better equip California for the needs of the 21st century and will help prepare workers for the demands of a changing workforce," said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller.

The University of California at Los Angeles will receive $1.9 million to develop the California Center for Sustainable Communities that would research the potential energy savings from better community design, integrated land use, and transportation practices.

The center would conduct and coordinate research and development activities on sustainable communities, serving as a statewide resource for metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and policy makers. UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability will serve as the lead for the center, which will be a multi-campus effort that includes UC Berkeley and UC Davis.

The center would provide data, models, methods, tools, and case studies to support the creation of more sustainable communities and assist in developing regional land use strategies. Reducing the use of automobiles and trucks and vehicle miles traveled will cut greenhouse gas emissions. Better land use planning and design of community systems would increase the overall energy sustainability of cities.

The Commission also approved $83,355 to California State University, Sacramento to develop a workforce training and development program for the clean energy jobs needed to support California's smart grid. The Commission's funding leverages Sacramento State's $749,992 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The project will identify the smart grid technologies requiring additional workforce training and support. The project will also create a smart grid workforce development model that can be replicated throughout the nation.

The Public Interest Energy Research 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

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

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