It was a momentous day for the Schatz Center. Our building grand opening was blessed with warm, sunny weather and an enthusiastic turnout. As I said in my remarks that day, when Charles Chamberlin and I met in my office 22 years ago to plan a promising new solar hydrogen project, neither of us had an inkling that it would lead to our wonderful new lab. But here we are—working with caring, passionate colleagues in a state-of-the-art facility. It’s been a great ride.
Meanwhile in California, there’s more disappointing news in funding for renewable energy research. Already seriously underfunded, research on tomorrow’s energy technologies took a body blow when the dysfunctional California legislature failed to extend the public goods charge. That charge is a very modest ($1-2/month) surtax that has been added to utility bills to fund the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. PIER has sponsored a number of research programs through the California Energy Commission, including some at SERC, many specifically aimed at renewable energy. Now the public goods charge will expire at year’s end and prospects for its revival are murky, at best. If you’re concerned about building a sustainable energy future, please contact your legislators and encourage them to work to extend this valuable program.
We’re enjoying an unusually warm and sunny early fall here on the north coast. I hope all of you get some similarly good weather before the days get short and cold.