For Immediate Release: January 17, 2018
Media Contact: Michael - 916-654-4989


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Energy Commission Grant Gives Processing Industry Food for Thought
Funding Also Awarded for Biofuel, Solar, and Hydrogen Fuel Infrastructure Projects

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission is helping the state’s $82 billion food industry become more energy efficient.

Commissioners awarded a $250,000 grant to San Francisco State University today to help California's food processing industry reduce energy costs, increase efficiency, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. California ranks fifth in the world in agricultural production, and the industry’s natural gas use is equal to that of about 1.25 million households.

Researchers will visit plants around the state to evaluate processing equipment and practices and identify strategies to improve performance and reduce energy costs. The program is funded by the Energy Commission’s Natural Gas Research Program.

The Energy Commission provided support for the biofuels industry by approving a grant to Crimson Renewable Energy of Bakersfield to design and operate an advanced commercial scale refinery that converts low-value feedstocks such as trap grease, inedible animal fats, and soap stocks into biodiesel fuel. The $4.4 million grant is funded through the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP), which invests in advanced alternative and renewable fuels and vehicle technologies.

The Energy Commission approved three loans for photovoltaic systems that will be installed in the Alpaugh Unified School District in Tulare County, the Sequoia Union High School District in Redwood City, and the Big Bear Lake Department of Water and Power in San Bernardino County. The $5.5 million in loans will be paid back within 20 years from the energy savings. Funding for the projects came from the Commission’s Energy Conservation Assistance Act program, which provides low- and no- interest loans and technical support for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

First Element Fuel Inc., of Newport Beach received almost $8 million in ARFVTP grants to build hydrogen fueling stations in Redwood City, Studio City, Beverly Hills, and Mission Hills. The stations will become part of the state’s growing network of publicly accessible hydrogen refueling stations for fuel cell electric vehicles.

More details on actions taken today by the Energy Commission are available in 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.