California Investing Nearly Half a Billion Dollars in Electricity R&D and Alternative Fuels

Sacramento, California - The California Energy Commission has unanimously approved two major investment plans that could total nearly a half a billion dollars. One will fund clean energy research that benefits electricity ratepayers. Another is an annual clean transportation investment plan that is designed to spark innovation in projects that will help transform California's fleet to meet greenhouse gas and clean air goals.

The clean energy research plan is a $388 million investment funded by the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC). EPIC awards funding for potentially game-changing research that produces more reliable, lower-cost and safer electricity. This is the second EPIC investment plan and covers the years 2015-2017. EPIC plans must be approved every three years.

"Public sector investments in energy research and development is critical to bringing breakthrough ideas to a competitive marketplace and further solidify California's position as an incubator of companies that can bring innovation to an industry that needs it," said Robert B. Weisenmiller, chair of the Energy Commission. "This EPIC funding will help California startups prove their ideas and attract private-sector funding."

The EPIC plan goes next to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which oversees the program. The CPUC is expected to vote on it in December. EPIC is funded by electricity ratepayers of Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co.

The approved 2014-2015 Investment Plan Update for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, which accounts for about 40 percent of California's carbon emissions. The program annually invests in a variety of alternative fuels and vehicle technologies. To date, investments total more than $400 million in more than 250 projects to help reduce greenhouse gasses and create jobs in California.

"The Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program invests in projects that are anticipated to spark innovation to transform California's transportation fleet," said Commissioner Janea A. Scott. "The plan the Commission approved today will guide investments toward projects that are intended to help California meet its climate and clean air goals."

In other action, the Energy Commission approved funding of more than $3.8 million in grants from last year's investment plan for electric and natural gas fueling stations, alternative fuel readiness plans, fuel cell delivery vans, the establishment of a sustainable transportation center, and more than $16 million in natural gas vehicle incentives:

  • $16.6 million in incentives for 30 natural gas vehicle reservations.
  • $1.1 million grant to the Center for Transportation and the Environment to develop and deploy fuel cell hybrid electric walk-in delivery vans.
  • $1.1 million grant to the University of California, Davis, to establish a National Center for Sustainable Transportation.
  • $300,000 grant to the San Diego Association of Governments to develop an Alternative Fuel Readiness Plan.
  • $300,000 grant to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to install a compressed natural gas fueling station.
  • $300,000 grant to the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District to develop an Alternative Fuel Readiness Plan.
  • $299,910 grant to Santa Barbara County to develop an Alternative Fuels Readiness Plan.
  • $275,810 grant to the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County to develop an Alternative Fuel Readiness Plan.
  • $200,000 grant to the City of Davis to develop a plan for additional plug-in electric charging stations.

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