California Wins Case Allowing New Public Energy R&D Program to Be Administered as Planned

Sacramento, California - California's 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld the Energy Commission's administration of funds for the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program.

In a decision released today, the court affirmed the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) decision naming the California Energy Commission as administrator of a portion of the funds collected pursuant to EPIC.

The court held that the CPUC acted within its authority when it designated the Energy Commission as administrator over a portion of the funds collected through the charge and that the program did not constitute a tax requiring approval of a two-thirds vote of the legislature.

"EPIC is critical for incentivizing clean energy innovation, providing funding opportunities to turn new energy ideas into realities that provide ratepayer benefits and help the state achieve its energy goals in a cost-beneficial manner," said Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. "The court made the right decision and I am pleased that this important work will go on unabated."

EPIC consolidates the Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D) initiatives of the three largest investor-owned utilities (IOU) into an aggregate program, thereby avoiding needless duplication that would occur if such initiatives were pursued independently. EPIC helps facilitate an energy innovation pipeline to advance clean energy technologies and strategies that benefit IOU ratepayers by providing cleaner, lower-cost, more reliable and safer electricity for these ratepayers and is a vital component of utility service. The Energy Commission as well as each of the IOUs-Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric Co.-are responsible for administering a portion of the EPIC funds in furtherance of these goals.

Earlier this year, the Energy Commission, through its administration of EPIC, began issuing a series of solicitations to fund RD&D projects that will advance clean energy technologies and strategies for California homes, businesses, and industries, and benefit IOU ratepayers.

The Energy Commission will offer more than two dozen funding opportunities totaling more than $120 million. These solicitations are being offered pursuant to the Energy Commission's first triennial EPIC Investment Plan, which was approved by the CPUC in November 2013. The solicitations will target projects to advance clean energy technologies, renewable energy generation, energy storage, and reliable distribution systems, such as microgrids. A detailed list of planned solicitations is available on the Energy Commission's website at: www.energy.ca.gov/research/upcoming_funding.html.

In addition, on April 22, 2014, the Energy Commission approved its second triennial EPIC Investment Plan, covering the investment period from 2015-2017, and proposing an EPIC investment budget of $388.8 million to advance additional clean energy innovations to help IOU ratepayers. The second investment plan was filed with the CPUC for its consideration on April 28, 2014.

The Energy Commission has a long history of funding successful innovation. Looking to only one example, ratepayers will save an estimated $10 billion as a result of just 19 previous research and development projects that delivered results leading to new State efficiency standards. That is a return on investment of $446 for every $1 invested by the Energy Commission in these types of projects.

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