For Immediate Release: March 8, 2017
Media Contact: Edward Ortiz - 916-654-4989


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Energy Commission Funds Research for Energy Efficiency, Natural Gas and Agriculture and Industrial Projects

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today approved more than $17 million in grants for research in energy efficiency, natural gas, and agricultural and industrial sectors.

More than $9 million in emerging energy efficiency technology projects was approved at the business meeting, including a $4.9 million grant to the New Buildings Institute, Inc. for a project to demonstrate cost-effective deep energy retrofit packages in several existing government buildings in the Los Angeles Basin. The California State University, Long Beach Research Foundation was awarded $2.5 million to demonstrate an innovative, pre-commercial energy management system for lighting control, HVAC, and plug loads to reduce energy use and for demand reduction capability during demand response events.

The Zero Net Energy Alliance, Inc. received a $2.5 million grant to demonstrate, deploy at commercial scale, and initiate rapid market adoption of an automated building energy management system. That system continuously optimizes building energy management systems using an artificial intelligence analytics engine. The technology will be demonstrated at two college campuses in the Los Angeles Basin.

The Energy Commission also approved more than $5 million in energy-related research on natural gas projects to reduce environmental impacts from natural gas systems. The projects approved include:

  • Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. was awarded $1.1 million to prepare a strategic assessment of long-term technology pathways for natural gas systems to achieve energy and greenhouse gas emission goals.
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory received two grants. A $1 million grant will be used to research indoor air pollutants emitted from natural gas appliances in California zero-net energy homes. A $1.6 million grant will fund research on new 3-D technology to accurately characterize areas with high risk of potential natural gas infrastructure damage due to drought-induced subsidence, and to identify remedial actions.
  • University of California, Davis was awarded a $597,433 grant to survey methane leakage from abandoned and plugged natural gas wells in California, including the contribution of drought-related subsidence to patterns of leakages.
  • Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. received a $1.4 million grant to address fugitive greenhouse gas leaks by measuring methane and nitrous oxide at industrial facilities.

The Energy Commission also awarded more than $3 million in grants to the agriculture and industrial sectors. Irrigation of the Future. Inc. was awarded $1.5 million to test analytical tools that will help growers identify and implement optimal irrigation management strategies. University of California, Riverside received $1.7 million to test technology to improve energy efficiency at the server, data center and data center cluster levels in smart power distribution systems.

Other business meeting actions include:

  • Adopting revisions to the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) Guidebook. The NSHP Guidebook describes the requirements for participating in the NSHP and receiving incentives for installing eligible solar energy systems on new residential construction located in specified investor-owned utility territories. Proposed guidebook changes include addressing requirements for projects constructed under the 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24, Part 6), updates to incentive levels and calculations, and improvements to increase participation from both affordable housing projects and projects located in disadvantaged communities.
  • Approving Marin County's locally adopted building energy standards to require greater energy efficiency than the 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. The ordinance requires new homes as well as additions and remodels to satisfy the corresponding Green Point Rated checklist.
  • Approving the city of Santa Monica‚Äôs finding that an adopted local ordinance requiring a minimum amount of installed solar photovoltaics for new residential and nonresidential buildings will require energy consumption levels lower than the 2016 Building Energy Efficiency Standards.

For details on all actions taken today, see the business meeting agenda.

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The agency was established by the California Legislature through the Warren-Alquist Act in 1974. It has seven core responsibilities: advancing state energy policy, encouraging energy efficiency, certifying thermal power plants, investing in energy innovation, developing renewable energy, transforming transportation and preparing for energy emergencies.