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Energy Commission Funds Los Angeles Energy Innovation Cluster to Aid Entrepreneurs

Photo Credit: Laura Rudich
The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator received a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission to establish a Los Angeles Regional Energy Innovation Cluster (LA REIC) that will support clean energy entrepreneurship and networking opportunities in the Southern California coastal region.

The LA REIC will be the central coordinating organization for clean energy start-up companies in the Los Angeles Region and will provide access to resources and facilities to help entrepreneurs commercialize their innovations. The LA REIC will work with key stakeholders in Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties to identify the region’s energy needs and connect them with energy technology solutions being developed by early-stage business ventures and universities.

The LA REIC was one of several projects brought before the Energy Commission for action at the Aug. 10 business meeting and funded through its Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, which provides grants for innovative technologies and approaches that bring clean energy ideas to market.

EPIC funding was also approved for five projects that identify, test and demonstrate water and energy savings or that develop new approaches that accelerate the deployment of drought resilience strategies. Grants totaling $5 million were awarded to UC Davis, Porifera, Inc., Altex Technologies Corp., Lawrence Livermore National Security LLC and Kennedy/Jenks Consultants.

Photo Credit: Gary Leonard
The Energy Commission also approved a $1.5 million EPIC grant for the City of Santa Monica to plan and design a microgrid that will incorporate renewable energy, energy storage and electric vehicle charging. The grant stems from the Energy Commission’s EPIC Challenge launched earlier this year. Teams made up of private and governmental entities are competing against each other to demonstrate strategies that could become models to help accelerate the development of zero net energy communities.

UC Berkeley received a $1.8 million EPIC grant to demonstrate the energy savings and increased user satisfaction possible by pairing comfort-sensing ceiling fans with learning thermostats. Comfort-sensing ceiling fans have built-in technology that automatically adjusts fan speed to the home environment, while learning thermostats automatically adjust home heating and cooling controls based on space conditions and user’s schedule. UC Berkeley will install the integrated fan/thermostat system in low income multi-family housing in disadvantaged communities throughout the state.

Information on these projects can be found in the backup materials for the August business meeting.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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