[California Energy Commission Letterhead]


 

April 8, 1998

 

 

Members of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee,
Members of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee,
Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee,
Members of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee,
Members of the Assembly Budget Committee,
Members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee,
California Legislative Analyst Office,
California State Capitol Building
Sacramento, California 95814

 

Re: California Energy Commission’s Quarterly Report
Concerning The Public Interest Energy Research Program

To All Recipients:

In accordance with Public Resources Code Section 25620.5(h), the California Energy Commission (Energy Commission) hereby transmits its Quarterly Report for the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program, for the period January 1 to March 31, 1998. The attached report provides the required "evaluation of the progress and a status of the [PIER program’s] implementation" for this quarter. It also provides preliminary input for the Energy Commission’s more detailed PIER Program Annual Report (required pursuant to PRC Section 25620.8) which, in turn, will provide project-specific information and recommendations for program improvement. The 1998 Annual PIER Report will be submitted during the first quarter of 1999.

As reflected in the attached Quarterly Report, the Commission has made substantial progress in implementing the PIER Program to date. We expect this program to become a national model for preserving public benefits in a deregulated electric industry context, through development of and support for important energy-related public/private RD&D partnerships. Should you have questions or comments concerning this report, please feel free to contact Traci Stevens, Energy Commission Director of Governmental Affairs, at 654-4942.

Respectfully submitted,

 

____________________________________

David A. Rohy, Energy Commission Vice Chair
Presiding Member of the RD&D Committee

 

____________________________________

Robert A. Laurie, Energy Commission Commissioner
Associate Member of the RD&D Committee

 


 

 

 

California Energy Commission’s Quarterly Report

Concerning the Public Interest Energy Research Program

(January 1 through March 31, 1998)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Energy Commission
Attn: Governmental Affairs Office
1516 9th Street, MS-30
Sacramento, California 95814
(916) 654-4942

 


 

 

California Energy Commission’s Quarterly Report

Concerning the Public Interest Energy Research Program

(January 1 through March 31, 1998)

 

In accordance with Public Resources Code Section 25620.5(h), this document hereby constitutes the California Energy Commission’s (Energy Commission) Quarterly Report for the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program for the period January 1 to March 31, 1998. This report provides the required "evaluation of the progress and a status of the [PIER program’s] implementation" for this quarter. It also provides input for the Energy Commission’s more detailed PIER Program Annual Report (required pursuant to PRC Section 25620.8) which, in turn, will provide project-specific information and recommendations for program improvement. The 1998 Annual PIER Report will be submitted during the first quarter of 1999.

PIER Program Implementation

Based on PIER program policy and planning efforts described below, the Commission has commenced program implementation in 1998. In the first quarter of 1998, the Energy Commission initiated its first two PIER program solicitations on schedule. Specifically, in January of 1998 the Energy Commission authorized funding for the PIER "Transition Funding Solicitation," thereby preserving the benefits of promising public interest RD&D projects previously conducted by investor-owned utilities prior to the onset of electric industry restructuring. Thirty-nine projects are expected to be awarded approximately $17 million for the upcoming year. In February of 1998, the PIER program’s "First General Solicitation" was publicly released, thereby competitively offering approximately $15 million for public interest RD&D projects in the Senate Bill (SB) 90 (Chapter 905, Statutes of 1997) subject areas of renewable generation, environmentally-preferred advanced generation, and energy-related environmental research.

In this second quarter of 1998, the Energy Commission will review proposals received in response to the First General Solicitation, and awards are expected to be made in June of this year. During the second quarter of 1998, the Energy Commission also intends to release its "Second General Solicitation" for public interest RD&D projects, addressing the SB 90 subject areas of end-use energy efficiency and strategic energy research. This is expected to be followed by a "Small Grants" solicitation which will provide modest funding to help recipients evaluate RD&D concept feasibility and thereby stimulate new energy innovations in California. In the third and fourth quarters of 1998, additional solicitations are being planned to target energy technologies and RD&D issues of particular importance to California, and to fund programmatic public interest RD&D efforts spanning multiple projects.

 

Program Planning Efforts and Public Participation

In preparation for the various solicitations described above, the following planning efforts involving stakeholders and the public have or will be conducted. In 1997 an advisory group of over 70 separate organizations and individuals (representing a wide spectrum of interests concerned with public interest RD&D issues) participated in seven statewide public workshops and three Commission hearings to provide input and recommendations for the Energy Commission’s Strategic Plan for Implementing the RD&D Provisions of AB 1890. This document was adopted by the Commission on May 28, 1997, and provided a framework for SB 90, which establishes the PIER program’s mission, subject areas and selection procedures.

Building on the general guidance provided by the RD&D Strategic Plan and SB 90, the Energy Commission has implemented several important planning efforts which will enable the Commission to fund RD&D projects most likely to improve the quality of life for California’s electricity ratepayers. Our initial efforts involved an extensive public process to establish program goals and objectives. We then conducted a number of focus groups with RD&D institutions and electricity users to assure that research conducted through this program addresses essential technology and market barriers. These focus group meetings have helped to establish certain RD&D goals and objectives for the two general solicitations described above. Further RD&D analysis is underway to establish specific issues for targeted RD&D "projects" and "program" solicitations which the Energy Commission intends to release later this calendar year. The Energy Commission also intends to further refine our research targets for the PIER program by using scenario analysis to the improve the measurability of program goals and objectives.

The Commission is committed to administering the PIER program in an efficient and effective manner that ensures public input and accountability. To accomplish this goal, the Energy Commission has held numerous meetings with stakeholders from small businesses, large businesses, non-profit organizations, universities and national laboratories to develop streamlined contract terms and conditions for the PIER Program solicitations. In the near future, a Policy Advisory Council and a Technical Advisory Committee will be formed to provide additional expert input and independent advice for the PIER Program. Periodic public hearings are also being conducted to report on the program status and to solicit public comments.

In summary, the Commission has made substantial progress in the development and implementation of the PIER Program. We expect this program to become a national model for preserving public benefits during state electricity deregulation through building public/private partnerships. This completes the Energy Commission’s Quarterly Report for the PIER Program for January-March 1998. Should you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact Traci Stevens, Director of Governmental Affairs at 654-4942.

Respectfully submitted,

 

____________________________________

David A. Rohy, Energy Commission Vice Chair
Presiding Member of the RD&D Committee

 

____________________________________

Robert A. Laurie, Energy Commission Commissioner
Associate Member of the RD&D Committee

 

 




California Energy Commission - Public Interest Energy Research Program

Quarterly Report to the Legislature: January 1 - March 31, 1998

Overall Program Budget

97/98 Fiscal Year approved budget:

$26.5 million

Total funds encumbered January 1-March 31, 1998:

$13.77 million

RD&D Funding Efforts

To Date

Accomplished

January - March 1998

Planned

April - June 1998

Transition Funding Solicitation:

Provides one year transition support for valuable, existing, public interest RD&D projects.

Transition Funding Awards:

Awarded 3 transition contracts, involving 30 RD&D projects, for $13.77 million, on January 7, 1998;

Negotiated one additional transition contract, involving 9 projects, for $3.25 million, during this time.

Transition Project Management/Awards:

Manage 3 separate transition contracts, involving 30 projects, during this period;

Award one additional transitional contract, involving

9 projects, for a total of $3.25 million, during this time.

1st General Solicitation:

Covers three SB 90 subject areas of renewable generation, environmentally preferred advanced generation, and energy-related environmental research.

1st General Funding Level:

Proposed approximately $15 million for three PIER subject areas;

Released RFP on February 13, 1998;

Received 183 separate proposals on March 30, 1998.

1st General Funding Awards:

Evaluate proposals received: April-May 1998

 

Finalize contracts: May-June 1998

Award contracts: Late June 1998.

2nd General Solicitation:

Covers two SB 90 subject areas of end-use energy efficiency and strategic energy research.

2nd General Funding Level:

Proposed approximately $10 million for two PIER subject areas;

Prepared RFP for release.

2nd General Release Date: April 1998

Proposals to be submittal in June 1998

 

Evaluate proposals received: June-July 1998




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