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CEC’s EPIC Research Program Helps California Lead in Clean Energy Policies

By Media Office Staff

For more than 30 years, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has managed research programs that make the energy system safer, cleaner, and more reliable.

This legacy of investing in innovation built the Electric Program Investment Charge program (EPIC). Launched in 2012, EPIC drives clean energy innovation and entrepreneurship by funding research that accelerates achieving California’s goal of a 100 percent clean energy generation system by 2045.

“The EPIC program is not only producing solutions for a new era of sustainability, but it’s helping to grow the nation’s top clean energy economy,” said CEC Vice Chair Janea A. Scott.

Over the past several months, the CEC has organized an energy innovation tour to visit projects using EPIC funds including the Sun-Maid raisin plant in Kingsburg, West Biofuels in Woodland, and the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at the University of California, Davis.

The EPIC program advances research that benefits ratepayers from the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities – the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and the San Diego Gas and Electric Company.

Each year, the CEC invests more than $120 million in innovations that:

• Decarbonize the electricity sector.

• Expand the use of renewable energy.

• Advance electric technologies for buildings, businesses, and transportation.

• Make the electrical grid safer and more reliable.

• Increase the resiliency of the electric system to the impacts of climate change.

To help foster the development of new clean energy ideas, the CEC has established an Energy Innovation Ecosystem to connect clean energy entrepreneurs with the funding, training, resources, and expertise needed to help turn concepts into products that benefit consumers, companies, and utilities.

The Ecosystem’s programs:

• Fund early-stage clean energy concepts.

• Support entrepreneurs who have previously received state or federal funding.

• Help accelerate the time it takes to move new energy technologies from the prototype stage to the pilot demonstration stage or to the initial production line.

The Ecosystem includes four Energy Innovation Clusters located throughout the state, which provide mentoring, networking, business development and other services to entrepreneurs.

To help ensure all Californians have the opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the state’s transition to a low carbon energy future, the CEC encourages women-owned, minority, disabled veteran and LGBTQ businesses to apply for its funding opportunities.

In addition, a minimum of 25 percent of EPIC program technology demonstration and deployment funding is reserved for projects in disadvantaged communities. An additional 10 percent is set aside for projects located in, and benefiting, low-income communities.

Visit the Energy Innovation Showcase to learn more about EPIC research projects.

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