For Immediate Release: March 21, 2012
Media Contact: Kelly Kell - 916-654-4989

MEDIA ADVISORY

Energy Commission Approves Energy Research Report
New Report Summarizes Innovative R&D in Clean Energy Technology


SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission has approved the 2011 Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Annual Report, a summary of the programs achievements over the past year.

"As one of the nation's premier state-funded energy research, development, and demonstration programs, PIER has helped bolster California's status as a leader in energy innovation," said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller. "PIER is vital to increasing the state's renewable energy portfolio standard and maintaining our leadership in energy efficiency. The program has also leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars worth of federal and venture capital funds into California and provided jobs for thousands of workers."

The PIER program provides funding for research and development projects that help bring to market energy technologies benefiting the environment, increasing energy system reliability and security, and providing affordable energy to consumers.

In total, 111 electricity projects were initiated in the past year with nearly $48 million invested by PIER in energy research. Matching funds from private and federal sources, including American Reinvestment and Recovery Act stimulus funds, added more than $532 million. The investments made in these projects have resulted in more than 5,530 jobs in California during the first quarter of 2011.

The report emphasizes research and developments made in energy efficiency technology that helps lower consumer energy costs. For example, PIER funded three projects to study how to minimize energy-consumption of plug-in devices when not in use. These devices include consumer electronics, appliances and power tools that can draw up to 20 percent of the electrical consumption in buildings. The research will lead to future technologies that will use less energy as well as inform new energy efficiency building and appliances standards.

To support California's goal of meeting 33 percent of electrical needs with renewable energy by 2020, the PIER program also invested in research to advance solar, wind, and other renewable electricity. One such project involved developing and installing low-cost, ground and rooftop solar panels. A solar panel system developed by Fremont-based GreenVolts helped spur business development in California by attracting $20 million in private investment.

PIER money was used to institute several program improvements in the past year. Program advisory groups were formed to oversee energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy infrastructure projects. The objectives of the group are to improve transparency of research funding and priorities, and encourage increased stakeholder communications.

The 2011 Public Interest Energy Research Annual Report can be found online at: http://www.energy.ca.gov/research/annual_reports.html



# # #

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 www.energy.ca.gov/research/

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.