Research and Development
Research, demonstration, and deployment (RD&D) programs are an essential part of the effort to achieve California’s climate and energy policy goals. As California moves toward a clean energy future, the technologies and practices that keep California’s electricity and natural gas systems safe, reliable and affordable must be modernized. Each of the RD&D programs overseen by the CPUC’s Emerging Procurement Strategies Section drives investment in new and emerging energy technologies and solutions that otherwise receive limited funding and that provide a particular benefit to Californians. By testing ideas and sharing results publicly, these programs help investors, innovators, and policymakers plan efficiently for California’s clean energy future.
Energy R&D Programs
Electricity System Innovations: Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC)
The Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) is designed to assist the development of non-commercialized new and emerging clean energy technologies in California, while providing assistance to commercially viable projects. EPIC consists of three program areas funded at a total of $162 million/year:
- Applied research and development ($55 M/year);
- Technology demonstration and deployment ($75 M/year); and
- Market facilitation, consisting of market research, regulatory permitting and streamlining, and workforce development activities ($15 M/year).
EPIC activities must be designed to produce electricity ratepayer benefits.
The Commission oversees the implemenation of the EPIC program, which is administered by four program administrators: The California Energy Commission (CEC), and the three large electric investor-owned utilities (PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E), with 80% of the funds allocated to CEC and 20% to the utilities. The CPUC conducts a public proceeding to review the administrators' investment plans every three years starting in 2012 and ending in 2020.
EPIC Investment Plans from each administrator are submitted for three-year periods. On November 1, 2012, each of the Program Administrators submitted their respective initial triennial investment plans for 2012-2014 to the CPUC for consideration and each plan was approved by the Commission on November 14, 2013. The Program Administrators will be holding competitive solicitations, grant awards to successful bidders, and report the award recipients in their February 28 annual report filings.
In spring 2014, the administrators filed initial 2015-2017 Triennial Investment Plans for EPIC funds, reopening the public proceeding at the CPUC considering these plans. These applications, containing the 2015-2017 investment plans are listed below by proceeding number.
Supercomputing for a Resilient Electric Grid: California Energy Systems for the 21st Century
California Energy Systems for the 21st century (CES-21) is a first-of-its-kind effort to use the power of supercomputing to improve the cybersecurity of our electric system and integrate emerging renewable technologies into the grid. The CPUC and the three California Investor Owned Electric Utilities are collaborating with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to improve and expand energy systems to meet 21st century needs.
Safer, Modernized Gas Systems: Public Interest Natural Gas RD&D Program
This program funds the development and deployment of improved natural gas technologies and practices. Established by the CPUC in 2004, pursuant to Assembly Bill 1002, the program is administered by the California Energy Commission’s R&D Division. Each March, the Energy Commission files an annual proposal for the investment of up to $24 million in technologies and strategies to improve California’s natural gas system. The Commission issues a Resolution approving or modifying these proposals. For more information about this program and the innovations it funds, contact Maria Sotero at email@example.com.
Improving Air Quality in Southern California: Greenhouse Gas Research & Reduction Program
Created in November 2014 after the shutdown of one of California’s two remaining nuclear power plants, this program seeks to deploy technologies that reduce greenhouse gases in the Los Angeles Basin. Its focus is on nearer-market solutions that can begin offsetting the increase in carbon emissions that is resulting from the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The five year program will have $25 million in funding from San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison, which will jointly propose program plans in Spring 2015. The Decision that adopted this program is available online; this program is discussed in Section 7.3.4. Information about the program launch meeting is also available online. For more information about this program, contact Maria Sotero at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Participate in Proceedings
The Emerging Procurement Strategies Section also coordinates actively with a range of interagency research working groups in the climate, bioenergy, environmental, and other areas.
Docket Cards for Rulemakings and Applications by Program Administrator and Investment Plan Cycle:
Recent Updates and Documents
- E-4677 Resolution approving CES-21 Research Projects (October 2, 2014)
- A.14-04-034 - July 31, 2014 Workshop Slides
- D.14-03-029 Decision modifying D.12-12-031 to comply with SB 96 (2013)
- D.13-11-025 Decision approving the four program administrators' initial triennial EPIC investment plan applications (November 14, 2013)
- D.12-05-037 Phase II Decision establishing the EPIC Program (May 24, 2012)
- D.11-12-035 Phase I Decision establishing the interim EPIC funding levles (December 15, 2011)
- Senate Bill 96 (SEC. 22. Section 25711.5) Legislative Mandates for the EPIC Program
Contacts, Resources, and Links
For more information about the EPIC Program, visit
Maria Sotero is the CPUC Energy Division lead analyst for these research programs. She can be reached at email@example.com or 415-703-2494.
To contact the EPIC or CES 21 staff at the CPUC with a question specific to the CPUC, you may also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our hotline at 415-355-5586. To look up any staff member at the CPUC, please see the CPUC Phone list.