The California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program supports research and development in several key areas including energy efficiency for buildings, industry, agriculture, and water systems; generation for renewable resources, combined heat and power, and advanced generation; transportation and alternative fuels, vehicle efficiency, and biofuels; technology systems and smart grid, transmission, and distribution; and environmental research on minimizing impacts from renewable energy development, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and improving indoor air quality. PIER is funded from a surcharge on electricity and natural gas use in the state and totals about $80 million per year.
The University of California at Davis houses the Center for Water-Energy Efficiency (CWEE) and the Energy Efficiency Center (EEC). CWEE focuses on the research and development of efficient technologies that will lead to the conservation of water and energy resources. CWEE has a permanent staff of 3 and receives funding from the EEC, the California Lighting Technology Center, and the Western Cooling Efficiency Center. The EEC’s mission is to accelerate the development and commercialization of energy efficiency technologies. It has a faculty and staff of 25, received initial funding from the California Clean Energy Fund, and has received continued funding from numerous multi-national corporations.
The University of California at Los Angeles’ Center for Energy Science and Technology Advanced Research (CESTAR), with a faculty and staff of 42, lists energy conservation as one of its four major research areas. The Smart Grid Energy Research Center (SMERC) also performs research into the development of the next generation of the electric utility grid, with one of their criteria being improving its efficiency. SMERC has a faculty and staff of 13 and is funded by a $10 million grant from the US Department of Energy.
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