Code Section Group

Public Resources Code - PRC

DIVISION 15. ENERGY CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT [25000 - 25990]

  ( Division 15 added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 276. )

CHAPTER 7.1. Public Interest Energy Research, Demonstration,and Development Program [25620 - 25620.15]
  ( Chapter 7.1 added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 905, Sec. 2. )

25620.
  

The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:

(a) It is in the best interests of the people of this state that the quality of life of its citizens be improved by providing environmentally sound, safe, reliable, and affordable energy services and products.

(b) To improve the quality of life of this state’s citizens, it is proper and appropriate for the state to undertake public interest energy research, development, and demonstration projects that are not adequately provided for by competitive and regulated energy markets.

(c) Public interest energy research, demonstration, and development projects should advance energy science or technologies of value to California citizens and should be consistent with the policies of this chapter.

(d) It is in the best interest of the people of California for the commission to positively contribute to the overall economic climate of the state within the roles and responsibilities of the commission as defined by statute, regulation, and other official government authority, including, but not limited to, providing economic benefits to California-based entities.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 537, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2009.)

25620.1.
  

(a) The commission shall develop, implement, and administer the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program that is hereby created. The program shall include a full range of research, development, and demonstration activities that, as determined by the commission, are not adequately provided for by competitive and regulated markets. The commission shall administer the program consistent with the policies of this chapter.

(b) The general goal of the program is to develop, and help bring to market, energy technologies that provide increased environmental benefits, greater system reliability, and lower system costs, and that provide tangible benefits to electric utility customers through the following investments:

(1) Advanced transportation technologies that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions beyond applicable standards, and that benefit electricity and natural gas ratepayers.

(2) Increased energy efficiency in buildings, appliances, lighting, and other applications beyond applicable standards, and that benefit electric utility customers.

(3) Advanced electricity generation technologies that exceed applicable standards to increase reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, and that benefit electric utility customers.

(4) Advanced electricity technologies that reduce or eliminate consumption of water or other finite resources, increase use of renewable energy resources, or improve transmission or distribution of electricity generated from renewable energy resources.

(c) To achieve the goals established in subdivision (b), the commission shall adopt a portfolio approach for the program that does all of the following:

(1) Effectively balances the risks, benefits, and time horizons for various activities and investments that will provide tangible energy or environmental benefits for California electricity customers.

(2) Emphasizes innovative energy supply and end use technologies, focusing on their reliability, affordability, and environmental attributes.

(3) Includes projects that have the potential to enhance transmission and distribution capabilities.

(4) Includes projects that have the potential to enhance the reliability, peaking power, and storage capabilities of renewable energy.

(5) Demonstrates a balance of benefits to all sectors that contribute to the funding under Section 399.8 of the Public Utilities Code.

(6) Addresses key technical and scientific barriers.

(7) Demonstrates a balance between short-term, mid-term, and long-term potential.

(8) Ensures that prior, current, and future research not be unnecessarily duplicated.

(9) Provides for the future market utilization of projects funded through the program.

(10) Ensures an open project selection process and encourages the awarding of research funding for a diverse type of research as well as a diverse award recipient base and equally considers research proposals from the public and private sectors.

(11) Coordinates with other related research programs.

(d) The term “award,” as used in this chapter, may include, but is not limited to, contracts, grants, interagency agreements, loans, and other financial agreements designed to fund public interest research, demonstration, and development projects or programs.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 512, Sec. 2. Effective September 27, 2006.)

25620.2.
  

(a) To ensure the efficient implementation and administration of the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program, the commission shall do both of the following:

(1) Develop procedures for the solicitation of award applications for project or program funding, and to ensure efficient program management.

(2) Evaluate and select programs and projects, based on merit, that will be funded under the program.

(b) The commission shall adopt regulations to implement the program, in accordance with the following procedures:

(1) Prepare a preliminary text of the proposed regulation and provide a copy of the preliminary text to any person requesting a copy.

(2) Provide public notice of the proposed regulation to any person who has requested notice of the regulations prepared by the commission. The notice shall contain all of the following:

(A) A clear overview explaining the proposed regulation.

(B) Instructions on how to obtain a copy of the proposed regulations.

(C) A statement that if a public hearing is not scheduled for the purpose of reviewing a proposed regulation, any person may request, not later than 15 days prior to the close of the written comment period, a public hearing conducted in accordance with commission procedures.

(3) Accept written public comments for 30 calendar days after providing the notice required in paragraph (2).

(4) Certify that all written comments were read and considered by the commission.

(5) Place all written comments in a record that includes copies of any written factual support used in developing the proposed regulation, including written reports and copies of any transcripts or minutes in connection with any public hearings on the adoption of the regulation. The record shall be open to public inspection and available to the courts.

(6) Provide public notice of any substantial revision of the proposed regulation at least 15 days prior to the expiration of the deadline for public comments and comment period using the procedures provided in paragraph (2).

(7) Conduct public hearings, if a hearing is requested by an interested party, that shall be conducted in accordance with commission procedures.

(8) Adopt any proposed regulation at a regularly scheduled and noticed meeting of the commission. The regulation shall become effective immediately unless otherwise provided by the commission.

(9) Publish any adopted regulation in a manner that makes copies of the regulation easily available to the public. Any adopted regulation shall also be made available on the Internet. The commission shall transmit a copy of an adopted regulation to the Office of Administrative Law for publication, or, if the commission determines that printing the regulation is impractical, an appropriate reference as to where a copy of the regulation may be obtained.

(10) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, this subdivision provides an interim exception from the requirements of Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code for regulations required to implement Sections 25620.1 and 25620.2 that are adopted under the procedures specified in this subdivision.

(11) This subdivision shall become inoperative on January 1, 2012, unless a later enacted statute deletes or extends that date. However, after January 1, 2012, the commission is not required to repeat any procedural step in adopting a regulation that has been completed before January 1, 2012, using the procedures specified in this subdivision.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 512, Sec. 3. Effective September 27, 2006.)

25620.3.
  

(a) The commission may, consistent with the requirements of this chapter, provide awards to any individual or entity for planning, implementation, and administration of projects or programs selected pursuant to Section 25620.5.

(b) The commission may provide an award to a project or program that includes a group of related projects, or to a party who aggregates projects that directly benefit from the award.

(c) The commission may establish multiparty agreements. In a multiparty agreement, the commission may be a signatory to a common agreement among two or more parties. These agreements include, but are not limited to, cofunding, leveraged research, collaborations, and membership arrangements. If the commission enters into these agreements, it shall be a party to these agreements and may share in the roles, responsibilities, risks, investments, and results.

(d) The commission may issue awards that include the ability to make advance payments to prime contractors, to enable them to make advance payments to a subcontractor that is a federal agency, national laboratory, or state entity, on the condition that the subcontract is binding and enforceable and includes specific performance milestones.

(e) The commission may issue awards that include the ability to assign tasks on a work authorization basis.

(f) Prior to making any award pursuant to this chapter for a research, development, or demonstration program or project, the commission shall identify the expected costs and any qualitative or quantitative benefits of the proposed program or project.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 515, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2003.)

25620.4.
  

(a) To the extent that intellectual property is developed under this chapter, an equitable share of rights in the intellectual property or in the benefits derived therefrom shall accrue to the State of California.

(b) The commission may determine what share, if any, of the intellectual property, or the benefits derived therefrom, shall accrue to the state. The commission may negotiate sharing mechanisms for intellectual property or benefits with award recipients.

(Added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 905, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1998.)

25620.5.
  

(a) The commission may solicit applications for awards, using a sealed competitive bid, competitive negotiation process, commission-issued intradepartmental master agreement, the methods for selection of professional services firms set forth in Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 4525) of Division 5 of Title 1 of the Government Code, interagency agreement, single source, or sole source method. When scoring teams are convened to review and score proposals, the scoring teams may include persons not employed by the commission, as long as employees of the state constitute no less than 50 percent of the membership of the scoring team. A person participating on a scoring team may not have any conflict of interest with respect to the proposal before the scoring team.

(b) A sealed bid method may be used when goods and services to be acquired can be described with sufficient specificity so that bids can be evaluated against specifications and criteria set forth in the solicitation for bids.

(c) The commission may use a competitive negotiation process in any of the following circumstances:

(1) Whenever the desired award is not for a fixed price.

(2) Whenever project specifications cannot be drafted in sufficient detail so as to be applicable to a sealed competitive bid.

(3) Whenever there is a need to compare the different price, quality, and structural factors of the bids submitted.

(4) Whenever there is a need to afford bidders an opportunity to revise their proposals.

(5) Whenever oral or written discussions with bidders concerning the technical and price aspects of their proposals will provide better results to the state.

(6) Whenever the price of the award is not the determining factor.

(d) The commission may establish interagency agreements.

(e) The commission may provide awards on a single source basis by choosing from among two or more parties or by soliciting multiple applications from parties capable of supplying or providing similar goods or services. The cost to the state shall be reasonable and the commission may only enter into a single source agreement with a particular party if the commission determines that it is in the state’s best interests.

(f) The commission, in accordance with subdivision (g) and in consultation with the Department of General Services, may provide awards on a sole source basis when the cost to the state is reasonable and the commission makes any of the following determinations:

(1) The proposal was unsolicited and meets the evaluation criteria of this chapter.

(2) The expertise, service, or product is unique.

(3) A competitive solicitation would frustrate obtaining necessary information, goods, or services in a timely manner.

(4) The award funds the next phase of a multiphased proposal and the existing agreement is being satisfactorily performed.

(5) When it is determined by the commission to be in the best interests of the state.

(g) The commission may not use a sole source basis for an award pursuant to subdivision (f), unless both of the following conditions are met:

(1) The commission, at least 60 days prior to taking an action pursuant to subdivision (f), notifies the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and the relevant policy committees in both houses of the Legislature, in writing, of its intent to take the proposed action.

(2) The Joint Legislative Budget Committee either approves or does not disapprove the proposed action within 60 days from the date of notification required by paragraph (1).

(h) The commission shall give priority to California-based entities in making awards pursuant to this chapter.

(i) The provisions of this section are severable. If any provision of this section or its application is held to be invalid, that invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

For purposes of this Section and Section 25620, “California-based entity” means either of the following:

A corporation or other business form organized for the transaction of business that has its headquarters in California and manufactures in California the product that qualifies for the incentive or award, or a corporation or other business form organized for the transaction of business that has an office for the transaction of business in California and substantially manufactures in California the product that qualifies for the incentive or award, or substantially develops within California the research that qualifies for the incentive or award, as determined by the agency issuing the incentive or award.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 537, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2009.)

25620.6.
  

The commission, in consultation with the Department of General Services, may purchase insurance coverage necessary to implement an award. Funding for the purchase of insurance may be made from money in the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Fund created pursuant to Section 384 of the Public Utilities Code.

(Added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 905, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1998.)

25620.7.
  

(a) The commission may contract for, or through interagency agreement obtain, technical, scientific, or administrative services or expertise from one or more entities, to support the program. Funding for this purpose shall be made from money in the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Fund.

(b) The commission may select the services or expertise described in subdivision (a), pursuant to Section 25620.5. In the event that contracts or interagency agreements have been made to multiple entities and their subcontractors for similar purposes, the commission may select from among those entities the particular expertise needed for a specified type of work. Selection of the particular expertise may be based solely on a review of qualifications, including the specific expertise required, availability of the expertise, or access to a resource of special relevance to the work, including, but not limited to, a database, model, technical facility, or a collaborative or institutional affiliation that will expedite the quality and performance of the work.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 515, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2003.)

25620.8.
  

(a) The commission shall prepare and submit to the relevant policy committees of the Legislature and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee an annual report, not later than October 31 of each year, that includes, but is not limited to, all of the following information:

(1) Recommendations for improvements in the program.

(2) A summary of the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program’s impacts and benefits.

(3) A summary of how funding is allocated to each of the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program’s natural gas investment areas.

(4) A description of successful or promising projects funded in each of the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program’s natural gas investment areas.

(5) A summary of expected Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program funding initiatives and activities over the next year.

(6) Information on Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program-approved project budgets and benefits, all active projects, and recently completed projects.

(7) A description of any recent changes to the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program’s spending guidelines or eligible projects.

(b) As part of each annual report submitted pursuant to this section, the commission may include information that has been previously provided in reports submitted to the Public Utilities Commission.

(c) The commission shall establish procedures for protecting confidential or proprietary information and shall consult with all interested parties in the preparation of each annual report submitted pursuant to this section.

(d) A report to be submitted pursuant to this section shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 115, Sec. 71. (AB 148) Effective July 22, 2021.)

25620.9.
  

For a project related to the deployment of a microgrid, a recipient of moneys awarded pursuant to this chapter shall not expend those moneys for the purchase of diesel generators, including diesel backup generators.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 476, Sec. 1. (AB 1400) Effective January 1, 2018.)

25620.11.
  

(a) The commission shall regularly convene an advisory board that shall make recommendations to guide the commission’s selection of programs and projects to be funded under this chapter. The advisory board shall include as appropriate, but not be limited to, representatives from the Public Utilities Commission, consumer organizations, environmental organizations, and electrical corporations subject to the funding requirements of Section 381 of the Public Utilities Code.

(b) Three members of the Senate, appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore, and three members of the Assembly, appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, may meet with the advisory board and participate in its activities to the extent that such participation is not incompatible with their respective positions as Members of the Legislature.

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 512, Sec. 7. Effective September 27, 2006.)

25620.15.
  

(a) In order to ensure that prudent investments in research, development, and demonstration of energy efficient technologies continue to produce substantial economic, environmental, public health, and reliability benefits, it is the policy of the state and the intent of the Legislature that funds made available, upon appropriation, for energy related public interest research, development, and demonstration programs shall be used to advance science or technology that is not adequately provided by competitive and regulated markets.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, money collected for public interest research, development, and demonstration pursuant to Section 399.8 of the Public Utilities Code shall be transferred to the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Fund. Money collected between January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2012, shall be used for the purposes specified in this chapter.

(c) In lieu of the Public Utilities Commission retaining funds authorized pursuant to Section 381 of the Public Utilities Code for investments made by electrical corporations in public interest research, development, and demonstration projects for transmission and distribution functions, up to 10 percent of the funds transferred to the commission pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be awarded to electrical corporations for public interest research, development, and demonstration projects for transmission and distribution functions consistent with the policies and subject to the requirements of this chapter.

(Added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 512, Sec. 8. Effective September 27, 2006.)

PRCPublic Resources Code - PRC