Energy Research, Development & Deployment

    Energy research, development, 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 the state’s electricity and natural gas systems safe, reliable and affordable must be modernized.

    The CPUC oversees three large RD&D programs and actively coordinates with a range of interagency research working groups in climate change, environment, bioenergy and related areas. Each of the RD&D programs drives investment in new and emerging energy technologies and solutions that provide benefits to Californians. By testing ideas and sharing results publicly, these programs help investors, innovators, and policymakers plan efficiently for California’s clean energy future.

Electricity System Innovations: Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC)

  • D.11.12-035 established the interim EPIC funding levels
  • D.12-05-037 fully established the EPIC Program
  • D.14-04-030 provided correction to D.12-05-037
  • Senate Bill 96 (SEC. 22 Section 25711.5)
  •  Legislative Mandates for the EPIC Program

 

    The Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) supports the development of new, emerging, and non-commercialized clean energy technologies in California and provides assistance to commercially viable projects. These projects must be designed to produce electricity ratepayer benefits in the form of increased reliability, improved safety, and/or reduced electricity costs.  EPIC consists of three program areas: Applied Research and Development (Applied R&D), Technology Demonstration and Deployment (TD&D), and Market Facilitation, described in more detail in Table 1.

 

Program Area

Description
Applied R&D Investment in applied energy science and technology that
provides public benefit but for which there is no current
deployment of private capital     
TD&D Investments in technology demonstrations at real-world scales
and in real-world conditions to showcase emerging innovations
and increase technology commercialization
Market Facilitation Investments in market research, regulatory permitting and
streamlining, and workforce development activities to address
non-price barriers to clean technology adoption
 

 

    The CPUC oversees and monitors the implementation of the ratepayer-funded EPIC. However, four programs administrators administer EPIC:  the California Energy Commission (CEC), Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E).  The CEC administers 80% of EPIC funds while the three large investor-owned utilities together administer 20% of the funds (Figure1).

Figure 1:  Allocation of EPIC funds across the four administrators

    Each administrator is required to submit an EPIC investment plan outlining their proposed projects for a given three-year investment period in the form of an application to the CPUC.  Each application and the decisions reviewing and approving them can be found in Table 2 below.  To date, more than $1 billion have been allocated to fund EPIC projects.

 

Investment Period     CEC PG&E SCE SDG&E Decisions
EPIC 1 (2012- 2014)
Funding: $467 million 
     A.12-11-001             A.12-11-003            A.12-11-004            A.12-11-002         D.13-11-025
     D.16-01-010      
EPIC 2 (2015-2017)
Funding:  $510 million
 
A.14-04-034 A.14-05-003 A.14-05-005 A.14-05-004 D.15-04-020
   D.15-09-005
EPIC 3 (2018-2020)
Funding:  $555 million
A.17-05-003 A.17-04-028 A.17-05-005 A.17-05-005 D.18-01-008
   D.18-10-052

 

For more information about EPIC, please visit the following links:

Natural Gas Research and Development

 

    The Natural Gas Research and Development 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 (CEC's) R&D Division.  The Natural Gas R&D program focuses on five primary research areas:  Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Advanced Generation, Natural Gas Infrastructure Safety and Integrity, Energy-Related Environmental Research, and Natural Gas-Related Transportation.  These are occasionally supplemented with additional research areas (e.g. Strategic Planning Research).  Each March, the CEC files an annual proposal for the investment of up to $24 million in technologies and strategies to improve California's natural gas system.  Following submission of the proposals, the CPUC issues a resolution reviewing, approving, and/or modifying these proposals.  Table 3 provides recent Natural Gas Research and Development Proposed Program Plans and the CPUC's corresponding resolutions.

Table 3 Recent Natural Gas R&D Plans and Resolutions
Proposed Plan Resolution
FY 2014-2015 Plan            G-3495 (2014)    
FY 2015-2016 Plan        G-3507 (2015)
         FY 2016-2017 Plan                G-3519 (2016)
FY 2017-2018 Plan         G-3527 (2017)  
FY 2018-2019 Plan        G-3546 (2018)
 

 

For more information about the Natural Gas R&D program, visit:


California Energy Systems for the 21st Century (CES-21)

 

    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 emergine renewable technologies into the grid.  The CPUC and California's three largest electric investor-owned utilities are collaborating with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to improve and expand energy systems to meet 21st century needs.

    CES-21 has a budget of $35 million for the period 2014-2019 and is comprised of two projects: Cybersecurity and Grid Integration. The Cybersecurity project is working to develop a modeling/simulation platform to simulate cybersecurity threat and response scenarios. Additionally, this project uses a physical test bed to evaluate threats on actual substation equipment. The Grid Integration project assessed whether the utilities’ planning assumptions and reliability metrics are applicable under future conditions of increased renewable generation. This was done by modeling the grid under thousands of permutations of market demand, weather conditions, and infrastructure investment to simulate the impact of increased renewable penetration and market conditions on the accuracy of reliability and capacity metrics. The Grid Integration project was successfully completed in November 2017 and the Cybersecurity project will be completed in October 2019.

For more information about CES-21, please visit the following links:

Contact

    For questions regarding energy research, development, and deployment programs, please contact lead analyst Jonathan L. Lakey, at (916)327-6786 or jonathan.lakey@cpuc.ca.gov.

    You may also email energy@cpuc.ca.gov or call our hotline at (415)355-5586. To look up any staff member at the CPUC, please see the CPUC Phone list.

    To add yourself to a service list, email Process Office@cpuc.ca.gov and include the proceeding number, your name, title, organization, address, phone number, and e-mail.  The Process Office will email you to confirm your addition to the service list.


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