Meeting with State Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER)

Nat GoldhaberWith California’s population of more than 37 million people and standing as one of the world’s largest economies, it’s no surprise that one of the key focuses of the state Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program is the beneficial use of electricity and its environmental impacts. PIER spends a lot of time and resources studying how new electricity applications and products can solve environmental problems stemming from electricity generation, transmission and use in California.

PIER is important. That’s why I’m joining a panel of a half dozen venture capitalists June 7 in Sacramento who will participate in a working dialogue with PIER to explore jointly setting guidelines to define future PIER-funded R&D that could be more easily commercialized with the help of venture capitalists and other investors.

There is definitely promise here. Highly controlled, emissions from power plants represent a significant source of pollution. On-going efforts to increase energy efficiency and load management to improve air quality could easily create the foundation for a fund-worthy startup. It’s also noteworthy that PIER’s research in the environmental area provides basic scientific information and tools used to guide R&D choices undertaken elsewhere in the PIER program. So work in the PIER environmental area is valuable in the work PIER does in renewable energy technologies, and the transportation area, which works to improve the efficiency of California’s vehicle fleet.

For detailed information about what PIER does in the environmental area, go to