Research Policy and Legislation

The Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program was created in 1996 when the California Legislature enacted Assembly Bill 1890 (Brulte, Chapter 854, Statues of 1996). This law shifted the administration of public interest energy RD&D from California's investor-owned utilities to state government. This legislation directed the California Energy Commission to "develop, and help bring to market, energy technologies that provide increased environmental benefits, greater system reliability, and lower system costs." (Source: Public Resources Code Section 25620.1).

Currently, the PIER program receives approximately $62.5 million per year in surcharges on electricity rates and $24 million per year in surcharges on natural gas rates. Since the program's beginning, more than $700 million has been invested in innovative energy technologies.

The Energy Commission manages the electricity and natural gas research programs through its PIER program. Public Interest Energy Research Annual Reports document PIER RD&D projects.