Commission Approves Research Grants for Renewable Energy

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Posted: Sunday, April 16, 2017 9:41 pm | Updated: 8:35 am, Wed Apr 19, 2017.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California Energy Commission approved more than $23 million in project grants, including funding for research that may one day be built into California’s roads to harvest energy from passing cars.

The Energy Commission also voted to approve the 2017-2018 Investment Plan Update for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which invests in alternative and renewable fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. The program helps California reach its greenhouse gas emissions goals, improve air quality, reduce dependence on petroleum and promote economic development. To date, the program has invested more than $700 million in nearly 600 projects.

The annual Investment Plan Update determines priorities and opportunities for the program, describes how funding will complement existing public and private efforts and guides funding decisions.

The Energy Commission also approved funding from the Electric Program Investment Charge Program, which invests in innovations and strategies that advance clean energy technologies. EPIC funds research that helps California meet its energy and climate goals.

The grants approved include:

  • Distributed renewable energy and piezoelectric-based systems – Five grants totaling $7 million for five projects that will advance breakthrough energy systems, including two to promote piezoelectricity. The University of California, Merced and PYRO-E, LLC will receive grants to demonstrate electrical harvesting systems built into roads.
  • Energy efficiency in industrial, agriculture and water sectors – Five grants totaling more than $13 million will focus on researching and developing technologies and strategies to reduce energy use and costs in the industrial, agriculture and water sectors.
  • Impacts of electricity generation – Five grants for more than $3 million to reduce the environmental, public health, and air quality impacts of electricity generation, distribution, and storage. Humboldt State University’s Sponsored Programs Foundation will use a $1 million grant to fine-tune methods to assess the carbon neutrality of using forestry and agricultural waste products for electricity production.

In addition, the Energy Commission approved plans for two new natural-gas power plants.

Commissioners approved the 1,040 MW natural gas-fired Alamitos Energy Center. The plant will eventually replace the 1950s-era, natural gas-fired Alamitos Generating Station and will be built on a portion of the existing plant site in Long Beach.

Commissioners also approved a petition to amend the 844-MW natural gas-fired Huntington Beach Energy Project, which was originally approved in 2014 for 930-MW. The project will replace the natural gas-fired Huntington Beach Generating Station from the 1950s and be built at the site of the old plant.

Both of the plants to be replaced use once-through cooling, a practice the State Water Resources Control Board has required to be phased out due to environmental impacts.

SOURCE: California Energy Commission

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