The State of California has been supporting regional climate change research for more than a decade. These studies have complemented research at the national level and have been designed to inform climate policy deliberations and actions in California. This Research Catalog provides basic information about past and ongoing climate change related studies that state agencies have conducted or commissioned since the early 2000s. The purpose of this catalog is to document California’s research efforts and to facilitate the exchange of information.
To find out more about these projects, please click here to obtain contact information for representatives from different state agencies.
Search results for Renewable Sources of Energy Research Projects
Biomass research at the California Energy Commission focuses on science and technology related to the use of organic matter to produce electricity. This organic matter must be available on a renewable basis, and includes: Agricultural crops, Wood wastes and residues, Animal wastes, Municipal wastes, and Aquatic plants. The objective of biomass research is to support increased deployment and integration of biomass energy in communities throughout California and at the utility scale. Biomass energy research is an important component in the effort to reduce waste generated by communities, and this waste could potentially be used to generate electricity. In order to improve the quality of life for California's citizens, biomass research is conducted to develop environmentally sound, safe, reliable and affordable energy services and products to assist individuals, communities and utilities across the state in meeting renewable energy and sustainability goals. Biomass research is conducted with the technical support of the California Biomass Collaborative.
The primary goal of the PIER's renewable energy research is to invest in renewable energy research, development and demonstration projects that accelerate deployment of renewable energy. Further goals are to advance market adoption of innovative renewable energy technologies, simplify interconnection to the electric transmission and distribution system and support policies that enable sustainable renewable energy generation, integration, security, and use. In order to maximize the investment benefit to California electricity and natural gas customers, the research focuses on deployment and integration projects targeted at three key market scales: utility scale, community scale, and building scale.
Solar energy is emitted by the sun and transferred to earth by electromagnetic radiation. The energy from this radiation can be captured and used to generate electricity using two distinct approaches: Photovoltaic (PV) technologies, or those that directly convert sunlight into electricity, are generally deployed on buildings and in community applications. Research is needed for innovative materials and manufacturing techniques in order to continue to drive down costs of PV materials, with the ultimate goal to achieve grid parity. Solar thermal technologies, or those that convert sunlight into heat and use the heat to generate electricity, are generally applied at the utility-scale. Research is needed for potential storage technologies that can be coupled with solar thermal utility scale projects in order to generate electricity even when the sun is not shining. California contains some of the highest potential solar resources in the country, and along with it some ambitious solar energy policy goals. In order to support the expansion of solar energy at each market scale, the Energy Commission performs research with the technical assistance of the California Solar Energy Collaborative. Potential research topics include: Technologies and techniques to minimize and mitigate the environmental impacts of solar power plants on California's pristine habitats, Approaches to address the intermittent nature of solar energy generation, Improved forecasting methods to better predict periods of low insolation and Unique materials and manufacturing practices to lower production costs and increase efficiency.
Wind energy is generated by the movement of air in the Earth's atmosphere and can be harnessed to generate electricity. Although considered to be "mature" by today's research standards, the wind industry still encounters several technical, environmental , and policy barriers to expanded deployment and re-powering, for which technical research and demonstration may offer solutions. One issue is that many older plants employ wind technologies that are less efficient and less grid-friendly, and are therefore candidates for re-powering. With the technical assistance of the California Wind Energy Collaborative, current PIER research aims to address important wind energy challenges that arise as increasing levels of wind generation are integrated into California's electricity grid. Research projects seek to develop and demonstrate technological remedies that address grid integration issues, facilitating and easing the transition to a renewables-based electricity portfolio for communities and utilities. Research opportunities include: Assessment of transmission requirements and methods to transport wind-generated electricity from remote sites to load centers, Improved wind energy forecasting tools, improved wind plant models for analyzing interaction with the grid, investigation of cost-effective wind technologies for deployment in areas with moderate wind speed and Assessment of the potential and feasibility for deployment of off-shore wind technologies. Whenever possible, PIER makes publicly available quality wind-related data sets collected by way of research it sponsors, thereby aiding independent analysis and validation of its results.
CSI RD&D - Advanced Modeling and Verification for High Penetration PV
Lead Agency: CPUC
Principal Investigator(s): Clean Power Research
(National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), State University of New York, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Solar Electric Power Association, SMUD, Long Island Power Authority, Salt River Project, and the New York Power Authority)
Year finished: ongoing, Budget: $976,392
Project will develop a free solar resource model that builds upon an existing PV performance model platform to enhance the resolution of satellite-based resource data. The team will integrate PV modeling capabilities with an open-source distribution engineering and analysis tool and create a unique PV value assessment tool for use by utilities to select and target the best PV locations. These tools and data streams will be made publicly available for use by California installers, manufacturers, agencies, utilities, and others engaged in the transformation of the electric power grid into a clean energy marketplace.
CSI RD&D - Improved Cost, Reliability, and Grid Integration of High Concentration Photovoltaic Systems
Lead Agency: CPUC
Principal Investigator(s): Amonix
Year finished: ongoing, Budget: $2,139,384
Project will monitor the performance of nine 53 kW High Concentration Photovoltaic (HCPV) units and associated circuits on the UC Irvine electric infrastructure to evaluate and compare grid interconnection and energy management strategies. This project will also conduct accelerated testing and field data to develop a method to evaluate the reliability and lifetime of HCPV technologies. These advancements are expected to facilitate the evolution of HCPV to become cost competitive with other large scale and distributed solar technologies.
CSI RD&D - Improved Manufacturing and Innovative Business Models to Accelerate Commercialization in California of Hybrid Concentrating Photovoltaic/Thermal Tri-Generation Technology
Lead Agency: CPUC
Principal Investigator(s): Congenra Solar
Year finished: ongoing, Budget: $1,467,125
Cogenra Solar (formerly known as Skywatch Energy, Inc.) has developed, prototyped and validated the technical performance of an innovative concentrating photovoltaic/thermal co-generation technology and will conduct an 80 kW demonstration at the Sonoma Wine Company. For this project, the field performance of the system will be measured and used to refine economic and financing models and optimization over multiple tariff structures. This project will also look at modifying the co-generation system so that it can support tri-generation of electricity, heating and cooling, expanding the market to include commercial sites that require cooling and lower amounts of hot water. Additionally, Cogenra Solar will modify the system to provide energy storage for use during peak demand and coordination with Pacific Gas and Electric Company on grid integration.
CSI RD&D - Improving Economics of Solar Power Through Resource Analysis, Forecasting and Dynamic System Modeling
Lead Agency: CPUC
Principal Investigator(s): Uc San Diego
(EPRI, EDSA Power Analytics, the CAISO, and SDG&E)
Year finished: ongoing, Budget: $548,148
The project will research the economic effects of three issues associated with increased penetration of PV in California: 1) insolation data and PV performance that take into account passing cloud cover; 2) how inverter logic software can improve voltage regulation in transient light conditions due to passing clouds; and, 3) energy storage options to reduce voltage sag due to cloudiness.
CSI RD&D - Innovative Business Models, Rates and Incentives that Promote Integration of High Penetration PV with Real-Time Management of Customer Sited Distributed Energy Resources
Lead Agency: CPUC
Principal Investigator(s): Viridity Energy
(UC San Diego, SDG&E, CAISO)
Year finished: ongoing, Budget: $1,660,000
This project builds upon high penetration PV research funded from the first CSI RD&D solicitation and also leverages prior University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E) related work. The Viridity team will identify business models for integration of up to 1,000 megawatts of high penetration PV with distributed energy resource (DER) management at UCSD. The team will also identify and develop tariffs and incentives that will promote the integrated operation of promising DER technologies and PV integration strategies, vet these tariffs with SDG&E and the California Independent System Operator (ISO), and modify as appropriate. The PV integration and DER management strategies will be tested and demonstrated on the UCSD Microgrid. The team will also perform integrated cost-benefit analysis of these innovative DER business models and management strategies and recommend rates and incentives that balance costs and benefits. Results will be disseminated in the form of a final report and an open source spreadsheet tool for use at individual customer sites and with implementing statewide policy.
CSI RD&D - Low-Cost, Smart-Grid Ready Solar Re-Roof Product Enables Residential Solar Energy Efficiency Results
Lead Agency: CPUC
Principal Investigator(s): Consol
Year finished: ongoing, Budget: $1,000,000
Project will demonstrate a low cost plug and play roof mounting PV system directed to the asphalt-shingle re-roofing market. The project is designed to coordinate the installation of PV along with asphalt roofing materials by standard roofers and electrical contractors with no special tools. Because the PV installation is done without penetrations in the roof, the 20-year warranty covers both the roof and the PV system. Demonstrations will be conducted on six homes in SDG&E's service area.