California Energy Studies Program

This program has been terminated. The UC Energy Institute administered this grant program from 1982 through 2009, at which point funding from the Office of the President for the grant program ceased. This program played a critical role in fostering new energy research and in supporting the early careers of UC energy researchers and graduate students.


For a complete list of CES projects (1982-2009), please email ei[at]haas.berkeley.edu 


Description of the California Energy Studies Program

California Energy Studies fostered and supported faculty research at the University of California on critical energy problems and issues facing California. The research was intended to strengthen the intellectual basis for both public and private decisions about energy in the State. The program included research projects in the natural and social sciences and in engineering with the potential for significant contributions to the complex and uncertain energy future of California. CES emphasized interdisciplinary research and research with a clear relevance to energy decision-making in the near term.

CES subject areas included (1) Energy use and conservation, (2) Energy resources and supply systems, (3) Economics, politics, and regulation of energy, and (4) Environmental issues in energy supply and use. "Focal points" [topical areas, marked with red dots ( )] have been established under the first three of these areas in response to faculty interest.

CES was initiated in December, 1982 with awards to 23 projects and the establishment of initial focal points.

California Energy Studies Subject Areas

Energy Use and Conservation

Projects in this subject area provided knowledge about the nature of energy use in California and about technical and non-technical factors that affected public and private efforts to conserve energy. Research in this subject area focused on four topics:

  • behavioral aspects of residential energy use and conservation  
  • energy design and performance of California's buildings  
  • energy use in agriculture, industry, and commerce  
  • energy and transportation

Energy Resources and Supply Systems

Projects in this subject area addressed questions related to California's energy resources and the systems used to supply consumers with energy derived from these resources and from imported fuels. Research in this area focused on three topics:

  • California's electricity supply system
  • renewable energy resources
  • energy from fossil fuels

Economics, Politics, and Regulation of Energy

Projects in this subject area explored the relationships of California's energy systems to the economic and political fabric of the State. The objective of these studies was to gain a better understanding of the pathways by which the present system evolved, the economic and political forces through which its future was being shaped, and the individuals and organizations whose decisions would play a significant role in the determination of that future. Research in this area focused on three topics:

  • regulation, politics, and strategies for promoting energy efficiency and innovation  
  • economic analysis  
  • community energy policy

Environmental Issues in Energy Supply and Use

 Environmental constraints were a major limitation of the development and use of conventional energy sources. Problems associated with these sources included health effects of combustion products, acid rain, global increases in carbon dioxide concentration, and the possibility of radioisotope release in a nuclear accident. The alternatives to conventional sources, energy conservation and energy from renewable sources, had their own set environmental issues, including indoor air pollution in low-infiltration buildings and land-use problems associated with low-density solar-energy production.


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