The California Energy Commission could use a more comprehensive approach when it comes to Public Interest Energy Research program initiatives, three advisory groups studying the program all concluded during separate meetings. The discussion is in light of recent political attempts to decline funding for that part of the commission\u2019s responsibility. \u201cCoordinating and sharing information is an area that\u2019s key,\u201d Mike Gravely, the commission\u2019s Energy Systems Research Office manager, said July 26. \u201cClearly, it\u2019s important that we share what we\u2019re doing, what the utilities are doing, and what the research community\u2019s doing, so we can maximize the value of that.\u201d Gravely participated in one of the three advisory groups--covering \u201csmart\u201d infrastructure, renewable energy, and energy efficiency--that met over the course of a few days in late June as part of the commission\u2019s process for determining the PIER program\u2019s proposed initiatives for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. One of the big questions, said Laurie ten Hope, commission Energy Research and Development Division deputy director, is when research opportunities cross different disciplines, how can the program best structure those initiatives and outreach to stakeholders and researchers. \u201cThere\u2019s integration needed across the different teams. These issues aren\u2019t solved by renewables alone,\u201d she said. Although information sharing and coordination was one of the main points stressed, other recommendations were also made--including risk reduction and infrastructure issues. A fiscal year 2011-2012 initiatives advisory report is due in August to be shared with the commission\u2019s policy advisory board, ten Hope said. The PIER program issues loans and grants for energy research initiatives in the state. It\u2019s overseen by two rotating CEC board members who act as the commission\u2019s Research, Development, and Demonstration Committee. That panel annually conducts a budget review of the program, examines the status and progress of existing investments, plus establishes the upcoming fiscal year\u2019s target investment levels for the research areas.