The California Integrated Renewable Energy Systems Program (Cal-IRES) is part of the California Renewable Energy Collaborative (CREC), focused on the integrating principles and technologies, and mutual benefits of building, community or utility scale programs.
The CREC was organized in 2009 as a framework for integrated effort among California's Biomass, Geothermal, Solar, and Wind Collaboratives in support of California's aggressive renewable energy deployment targets. CREC is funded by the California Energy Commission's (CEC) Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program .
Cal-IRES shares the goal of many organizations to advance renewable energy, but we do so by focusing on the coordination and integration of research done, planned or needed for effective deployment.
Cal-IRES program has two elements:
- Renewable energy research, including strategic planning, goals, metrics and review.
- Renewable energy technical information services, including this web site with content and links to facilitate technology transfer and outreach on renewable energy research results, papers and databases.
Modern energy systems are integrated energy systems. Supply from diverse sources must be delivered to diverse uses without overloading or under-utilizing equipment or paying too much for fuel, equipment, or capital, or failing to anticipate and accommodate variations in supply or demand. Buildings depend on building-scale energy systems, which are part of community-scale energy systems, which are part of regional energy systems, and so on.
Renewable energy shows up where nature places or sends it. It can be converted to fuel, but unlike current energy system mainstays, coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear, it doesn't start out as fuel. It is fundamentally different.
The realistic notion of eventually having to rely primarily on renewable energy sources does raise questions: engineering questions, economic questions, policy questions. We can ignore them, we can speculate, or we can begin to address them using all of the experience, models, and data at our disposal. The Cal-IRES program proposes to do just this, in the context of California's renewable energy experience and goals, by finding, creating, and sharing information -by filling the most important knowledge gaps and refining questions, models and answer as objectively and thoughtfully as possible.