A Survey of State Clean Energy Fund Support for Research and Development Projects
State clean energy funds have typically focused their financial support on renewable energy deployment and commercialization efforts. A number of funds, however, have also supported earlier stage technology research and development (R&D) activities. This survey reviews efforts by CESA-member clean energy funds to support research and development of new clean energy technologies (principally renewable energy sources, but also fuel cells), including related energy storage mechanisms. Programs offered by non-CESA member funds fall outside the scope of this survey. We note in advance that the demarcation between R&D and deployment/commercialization is not always clear. For the purposes of this summary, however, we place the greatest emphasis on those activities clearly falling within the R&D category, and we do not exhaustively review support for demonstration projects or paper research studies, though we acknowledge that such efforts often do include an R&D component. To date, ten funds – the California Energy Commission, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust, the Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund, the New Jersey Clean Energy Program, the Long Island Power Authority, the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the Wisconsin Focus on Energy program – have offered support to research and development of new clean energy technologies. Below we review the efforts of these funds, starting with the three funds that have arguably been the most aggressive in pursuing R&D activities so far: the California Energy Commission, the Xcel Energy Renewable Development Fund, and Development Authority.