CEC Proposed Plan Could Make Millions Available for Natural Refrigerant Projects in California

The California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted its proposed 2018-2020 investment plan for the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program. The proposed plan makes over $120 million available on an annual basis to support the advancement of clean energy technologies, including projects that accelerate the use of refrigerants with low or zero global warming potential (GWP). The addition of initiatives for low GWP refrigerants came as a result of the CEC’s participation in the NASRC Workshop held at SMUD’s headquarters in March 2017.

The EPIC program was established by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in 2011 to support investments in clean energy technologies that benefit the electric ratepayers of California’s Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) including Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). The plan has funded initiatives for technology research and development, demonstration projects and other activities that support market transformation of clean energy technologies including the development of standards, best practices and training materials.

The proposed 2018-20 plan includes strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help meet the state’s climate goals. One approach, Initiative 1.7.1, focuses specifically on optimizing refrigeration compressor efficiency and testing and evaluating alternative refrigerants, such as propane, CO2 and others, for both small and large refrigeration units in commercial and industrial applications. The goal is to support the development of low GWP refrigerant applications that are both cost-effective and energy efficient.

The CPUC intends to begin a formal proceeding to review the proposed investment plan in May 2017. The plan is expected to be adopted by December 2017 and eligible projects could submit applications starting in January 2018.

NASRC would like to thank our members and partners who have contributed comments in support of the proposed plan. We look forward to sharing updates on the application process once the plan is approved.

For FAQs regarding the EPIC program, please visit: http://www.energy.ca.gov/research/epic/faq.html