California Public Utilities Commission Clean Energy Research Projects for Low-Income and Disadvantaged Communities

The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) allocates its Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) to fund projects located in and benefiting low-income and disadvantaged communities, which is an example of utility commissions participating in equitable grid investment. EPIC funds come from rates charged to electricity customers of the state utilities and supports investments in clean energy technologies that benefit ratepayers of investor owned utilities. AB 523 directs the California Energy Commission (CEC) to expend at least 25 percent of its EPIC funds for Technology Demonstration and Deployment funding (TD&D) at sites located in, and benefiting, “disadvantaged communities,” and adds an additional requirement that the CEC expend at least 10 percent of its EPIC funds for TD&D at sites located in, and benefiting, low-income communities located in the state. The CPUC approved the allocation of $60 million of its EPIC funding to projects located in and benefiting low-income and disadvantaged communities that are also specifically prioritized for the investment of proceeds from CA’s cap-and-trade program. These investments are aimed at improving public health, quality of life, and economic opportunity in disadvantaged communities, which are defined by AB 523 as those most burdened by pollution from multiple sources and most vulnerable to its effects, considering socioeconomic characteristics and underlying health status.

EPIC was created by the CPUC and is funded by ratepayers to support investments in clean energy technologies that provide benefits to the electricity ratepayers of California utilities Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), and Southern California Edison Company (SCE) and designated the CEC and the three, large electric investor?owned utilities (IOU) as designated administrators and all funds will be administered under CPUC oversight. The purpose of EPIC is to deliver broad benefits to the energy sector (or rate payers) including greater reliability, lower costs, and increased safety.

 

 

Publication Date: January 2018

Related Organizations:

  • California Public Utilities Commission

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  • Case study
  • Funding program

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