California Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Independent PIER Review Panel Report

Release Date: June 10, 2005 | Last Updated Date: June 10, 2005

PIER 2005 Independent Review Panel Report Cover

More Information About This Project

This report is the final report responding to Senate Bill 1038, requiring that the California Energy Commission (CEC) convene an independent review and critique of the Public Energy Interest Research (PIER) Program. An interim report was released in 2004. The review is a follow up to a previous independent review published by CCST in 2001.

In 1996, Assembly Bill 1890 restructured the California electricity industry. Legislation also authorized collection of a surcharge on retail electricity sales to ensure a continuation of public interest energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects. The PIER program was established at the California Energy Commission in 1998 to implement this provision. California leads the nation in fostering and implementing new sources of electricity to sustain its economy while preserving its natural environment. The contributions of PIER to this effort were recognized by legislation extending its original charter through 2012.

The review concluded that the CEC had taken significant efforts to address and mitigate a number of the issues raised in the previous review, including the elevation of the PIER program manager to division-level status. The PIER program is at an important point in its development, and the review panel found that CEC and PIER should continue to improve the PIER program’s ability to achieve the status of a world-class R&D organization.

Principal recommendations:

  • The CEC should establish and convene a broadly constituted PIER Advisory Board as required by Public Resources Code Section 25620.11.
  • PIER’s workforce should be increased to an adequate level of staffing.
  • Adequate resources should be devoted to staff development and training.
  • PIER should press for both permanent staff that provide stability and expertise, and independent consultants that contribute valuable research, technical, and industry expertise.
  • Creative and decisive action should be taken to seek the changes to the oversight by state control agencies identified in the 2004 review.
  • Complete the analysis of the potential for a joint powers authority (JPA) structure for PIER with an appropriate research-oriented partner whether PIER is constituted within an energy commission or the state dept. of energy.
  • Establish on-going strategic planning activities.
  • Develop an Operations and Procedures manual.
  • Allocate appropriate staff and resources to planning activities.
  • Launch a comprehensive review and evaluation of PIER beginning January 2007.

Additional Downloads

Executive Summary with Addendum


2004 PIER Interim Report


2001 PIER Final Report


2000 Pier Interim Report