The California Energy Commission has awarded $1,983,355 for two research projects. The University of California at Los Angeles will receive $1.9 million to develop the California Center for Sustainable Communities that will study the potential energy savings that can result from improved community design, integrated land use, and transportation practices.
Energy Commission Chairman Robert Weisenmiller says, “California is investing research dollars into projects that better equip California for the needs of the 21st century and will help prepare workers for the demands of a changing workforce.”
The center, which will be a multi-campus effort that includes UC Berkeley and UC Davis, is designed to conduct and coordinate research and development activities on sustainable communities, serving as a statewide resource for metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, and policy makers. UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability will serve as the lead for the center.
The Commission also approved $83,355 to California State University, Sacramento, to develop a workforce training and development program for clean energy jobs. The project will identify smart grid technologies that require additional workforce training and support. The project will develop a smart grid workforce development model that can be replicated throughout the nation.
The Energy Commission has also approved the 2011 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR), the state’s primary energy planning document. The report makes recommendations to ensure reliable energy supplies for the state, achieve clean energy goals, and promote clean tech jobs and investments.
Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller says, “California leads the nation in sustainable, environmentally-sensitive energy planning. The analyses in support of the IEPR are critical to managing the varied sources of electricity, natural gas, and transportation fuels that support the world’s ninth largest economy.”
California already gets nearly 16 percent of its electricity from renewable resources but to support California’s goal of meeting 33 percent of electricity needs with renewable resources by 2020, the 2011 IEPR provides an analyses for a renewable strategic plan that will be developed later this year.
Weisenmiller adds: “California needs to develop alternatives to conventional transportation fuels to increase our energy assurance and security. As a leader in energy innovation, we need to continue to promote new ‘green’ industries in California that will provide jobs and help the state’s economy recover.”