This responds to Senator Padilla's request that we conduct an independent review of the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program at the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (CEC). This program, which will automatically expire unless extended through legislative action, provides grants for research to develop energy technologies that benefit the environment, provide greater electricity system reliability, and lower system costs. We find that (1) the CEC has not demonstrated that there has been a substantial payoff to date from the state’s investment of more than $700 million in ratepayer funds, (2) there is a role for the state to continue to support public interest energy research, and (3) if the Legislature decides that there should be a continuing state role in this area of research, improvements could be made to the implementation of this role, including tightening funding eligibility parameters and changing the process by which research funding is allocated.