Symposium Showcases How California’s Premier Clean Energy Research and Development Program Drives Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The sixth annual Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Symposium wrapped up recently after bringing together nearly 1,000 cleantech innovators, researchers, and entrepreneurs to discuss emerging technologies, share best practices, and connect about future partnership opportunities.  

EPIC, which was launched in 2012, is California’s premier clean energy research and development program. Each year, more than $160 million is invested to drive clean energy innovation and entrepreneurship and improve the resiliency of the electricity system as climate impacts accelerate.  

The California Energy Commission (CEC) hosted the three-day virtual event in partnership with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and the San Diego Gas & Electric Company. It featured panel discussions, video presentations and a virtual exhibit hall where EPIC awardees shared information about their clean energy innovations.  

The symposium, which was held October 19 to October 21, kicked off with comments from CEC Vice Chair Janea A. Scott. In a keynote address, Governor Gavin Newsom explained how the EPIC program has driven $2.2 billion in private investment, created jobs, and advanced equity by deploying clean technologies in disadvantaged and low-income communities.   

Earlier this year, the CPUC renewed the program for 10 years with nearly $1.5 billion in total funding.  

 Governor's EPIC Symposium Keynote Address

The symposium drew more than 90 leaders from industry, government and state agencies including State Senators Nancy Skinner and Bob Wieckowski, Assemblymembers Autumn Burke and Cristina Garcia, California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot, CEC Chair David Hochschild, CEC Commissioner Andrew McAllister, and CPUC Commissioners Martha Guzman Aceves and Genevieve Shiroma.   

Among the topics discussed during the event were flexible zero-emission resources for a 100 percent clean electricity system; holistic approaches to transportation electrification; pathways to decarbonize the building, transportation, and energy sectors; ways that new technologies are supporting rural communities; and the role of technology in drought-proofing California’s food and agriculture sector.  

During the symposium, the inaugural California Energy Visionary Awards highlighted some of the state’s most promising clean energy entrepreneurs.  

A panel of judges selected San Diego-based Aquacycl for the "Best in Low Carbon Generation" award. Aquacycl is a wastewater technology company whose technology helps food and beverage companies save up to 90 percent in wastewater treatment costs.  

Judges awarded Ivy Energy of San Diego the "California Energy Visionary of the Year" award. The company’s software platform enables multi-unit building owners to install a shared solar system that equitably rewards residents for using energy when it is cheap or when provided by the solar system. 

Attendees named Polaris Energy Services the winner of the “Best in Dynamic Buildings and Grid Award.” The San Luis Obispo-based agricultural energy management company specializes in irrigation load control to lower peak energy demand and costs. Its technology systems enhance the ability of agriculture and water users to respond in real-time to the latest energy pricing and incentives. 

Nuvve Corporation was selected by attendees for the “Storage and Mobility” and the "Biggest Impact for Energy Equity" awards. The San Diego company’s vehicle-to-grid technology platform enables electric vehicle batteries to store and resell unused energy back to the local electric grid. 

Vehicle-to-grid technology can lower the cost of owning an electrical vehicle by sharing savings and energy market revenues with vehicle owners, helping to make electric vehicles more affordable and accessible. Such technology also reduced the net purchase cost for electric school buses. Those savings may help school districts decide whether to buy buses, which improve local air quality. 

Recordings can be found at the symposium webpage 

Learn more about CEC’s research and development initiatives at www.EnergizeInnovation.Fund  

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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