News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

California Energy Commission Plows $1.15 Million Into Renewables Research

Research such as this study of potential biofuel feedstock is crucial if we're to shift to renewables | Photo: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/Flickr/Creative Commons License

The California Energy Commission (CEC) announced yesterday that it had made $1,154,230 in grants to promote research into climate change forecasting and renewable energy technologies in California.

The funds come from the CEC's Public Interest Energy Research Project, which has made $700 million in similar grants over the last decade to -- in the CEC's words -- "advanc[e] science and technology in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy, advanced electricity technologies, energy-related environmental protection, and transmission and distribution, and transportation technologies."

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The largest chunk of the funding outlay will go to UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which received $300,000 to study differences among regional climate change models for California. This study will be conducted with an eye toward more precise forecasting of demand for, and availability of, hydroelectric power in California.

Some of the additional grants announced by the CEC yesterday:

  • $95,000 to Next Energy Technologies, Inc. for study of soluble organic compounds as a base for photovoltaics.
  • $95,000 to Engineering Economics to study enhanced building cooling towers with heat exchangers.
  • $95,000 to Brian Moffat for a wave energy device that generates power by means of a turbine in an underwater tube.
  • $95,000 to UC Davis to improve efficiency in production of cellulosic ethanol biofuels.
  • $95,000 to San Diego State for a system that would use sunlight to split water into hydrogen fuel and oxygen.
  • $94,714 to UC Riverside for a navigation system that would calculate least-effort travel routes for electrical vehicles, extending the vehicles' effective range.


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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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