The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved plans for coordinated public interest investments in clean energy research and development in order to reduce the costs and broaden the benefits of the state’s efforts to mitigate climate change.
In 2012, the CPUC established an Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) to fund public interest investments in clean energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment. Since then, the bodies charged with administering the program – the California Energy Commission, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas and Electric, and Southern California Edison – developed initial investment plans through robust public processes. Today’s Decision approves these 2012-2014 investment plans and establishes strict program administration and accountability requirements.
“The state has ambitious plans to mitigate the universal threat of climate change. We will not succeed without research, development, and deployment of new clean energy research technologies,” said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey.
“Through our decision today, we have set up a framework under which the investment plans of the administrators are likely to provide electricity ratepayer benefits by promoting greater reliability, lowering costs, and increasing safety.”
Added Commissioner Mark J. Ferron,
“The EPIC program is vitally important. It is designed to encourage the development of new and emerging technologies in California, while providing assistance to commercially viable projects. EPIC was created to fill the gaps in funding resulting from the expiry of the Public Goods Charge. The state Legislature has ratified the CPUC’s ability to oversee EPIC, confirming the CPUC’s strong belief that EPIC has clear value to ratepayers.”
EPIC is funded at $162 million per year. The CPUC adopted metrics and potential areas of measurement for evaluating the investment plans, and established an annual report outline to facilitate consistent reporting by the administrators on the benefits achieved and project results. The CPUC also adopted contract and grant solicitation guidelines for the utilities to follow when soliciting competitive bids for EPIC contract work and evaluating any bids received.
The proposal voted on is available at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M081/K637/81637677.PDF.
For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.