Bakersfield College

Power lines silhouetted against a sunrise.

Energy: Technology Transfer & Workforce Development (TT&WD)

Bakersfield College and Kern Community College District are embarking on a region-wide strategic partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

A secure and stable energy future depends on an innovative coalition of public and private partners in an interconnected market where instability creates short-term winners and losers. Only the research capabilities of national laboratories and research universities, deployed for the workplace and workforce in a broad public/private alliance, have the potential to both hedge against short-term volatility and create long-term stability.

Kern County Location

Kern County is an ideal location for an energy program because it hosts energy resources that exceed those of almost every state in the nation. Kern County contains or borders on major wind, solar, and biomass, and holds some of the most productive oil fields in the world, ranked number one in the state and fifth in the nation in oil production.

Kern County leads in the growing need for and development of energy storage—battery storage, underground energy storage and/or any newly developed energy storage technology that is refined in the future. That is what this program is all about, technology and our bright minded students, coming together

The county is a leader in innovating new energy technologies in the fields of solar and wind energy, biomass, geothermal and hydrogen. The Tehachapi/Mojave wind resource area (WRA) is known as the Wind Capitol of the West and one of the highest producing wind power regions in the nation with sustained winds of Class 4 and higher. In addition, the East Kern Mojave Desert has some of the best solar resources in the nation.

The Owens Valley/Mojave area is part of the desert solar corridor and home to many of the utility scale solar power plants in the country. The county hosts a significant footprint of distributed solar and wind for residential and commercial use, Meanwhile, Kern County leads in the growing need for and development of energy storage—battery storage, water storage, and underground energy storage.

Solar panels in power plant in Bakersfield.

Why Bakersfield College

This partnership was developed to eventually establish a campus with the goal of expanding the energy sector here in Kern County. This partnership will support an innovative coalition of public and private partners committed to addressing (1) research (2) policy issues (3) workforce development and (4) innovative projects in the energy sector.

Bakersfield College will play a leadership role in:

  1. Providing critical job training to the region to ensure an economically inclusive expansion of the energy sector, including commercial scale alternative energy generation
  2. Facilitating strategic research and statewide discussions on the diversification of energy issues
  3. Convening industries in the energy sector, governmental agencies, technical experts, and institutions of higher learning to offer a “safe zone” for substantive conversations which may serve to influence state and local energy policy
Windmills in the Mojave Desert.

NREL will serve as a strategic technical partner to help guide and advise on the creation of the program at Bakersfield College, a content partner to support Bakersfield College students and students in the Central Valley, as well as faculty with cutting-edge knowledge on renewable energy technologies, and a research partner on local and regional pilot programs that sit at the nexus of energy, land, agriculture and water use in Kern County.

Steering Committee

The Transfer Technology & Workforce Development (TT&WD) Steering Committee will include key stakeholder who will guide the work of this project in general oversight of activities, programming decisions, research strategies, and fundraising. Members of this committee would include, but not be limited to:

  • Co-chair: Liz Rozell, BC Project Director
  • Co-chair: Ellen Morris, Director, University Partnerships Program
  • BC President: Sonya Christian
  • KCCD: John Means, KCCD Vice Chancellor, Educational Services
  • Energy Expert: Stu Witt, Retired CEO and General Manager of Mojave Air and Space Port
  • Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA): Cathy Reheis-Boyd, President
  • UC Research Partner: Sarah Kurtz
  • BC Foundation: Cheryl Scott, Executive Director
  • BC Faculty Lead: Jason Dixon, Engineering and Systems Department Chair

Advisory Committee

The Energy TT&WD Advisory Committee will provide advisory guidance on curriculum and program outcomes based on the collective experience of industry, academic, community, and political partners.

Chair: Linda Parker, Renewable Energy Consultant

Planning Task Force

The Energy TT&WD Planning Task Force is a KCCD internal group, primarily with faculty leads, tasked to develop the curriculum design and program outcome details based on feedback from the steering and advisory committees. It will include one external member, a technical expert from NREL.

Chair: Jason Dixon, Engineering and Systems Department Chair

Fundraising Task Force

The Energy TT&WD Fundraising Task Force, led by the Bakersfield College Foundation, will develop a strategic fundraising plan to establish a sustained energy workforce development project.

Chair: Cheryl Scott, Executive Director, BC Foundation

TT&WD Partners


Scott Haase - Executive Manager, State and Local Strategic Partnerships

Ellen Morris - Director, University Partnerships Program

Owen Zinaman – Senior Researcher, Policy Analysis

Bakersfield College

Sonya Christian - President

Liz Rozell - Director, Energy Technology Transfer and Workforce Development

Kern Community College District

John Means - Vice Chancellor, Educational Services

David Teasdale - Executive Director, Economic and Workforce Development Programs

County of Kern

Lorelei Oviatt – Director, Kern County Planning and Natural Resources

Teresa Hitchcock – Assistant County Administrative Officer

Kern Economic Development Corporation

Richard Chapman - President/CEO

S.O Witt & Associates Consulting

Stuart O. Witt - Owner/Founder (Former CEO of Mojave Air and Space Port)

Kern Taxpayers Association

Michael Turnipseed - Executive Director

Linda Parker Consulting, Inc.

Linda Parker - President

Shafter Research Station

San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association


Webinar Presentations

February 24, 2021: Energy TT&WD Webinar #3

November 18, 2020: Energy TT&WD Webinar #2

October 7, 2020: Energy TT&WD Webinar #1

Session I: Leadership Comments

Session II: Envisioning a Strong Future For Kern County



Oil and Gas



Major Projects

Oil and Gas

  • Elk Hills Power Plant – Carbon Sequestration


  • 8 Minute Energy Springbok - California City (121 megawatts)
  • BHE Renewables Solar Star - Rosamond (579 megawatts)
  • EDF Renewables Catalina Solar - Rosamond (143 megawatts)

Planned Projects

  • 8 Minute Energy - Aratina
  • Kern Solar Ranch


  • Terra- Gen Operating Company (and others) Alta Wind Energy Center – Mojave/Tehachapi (1,548 megawatts)
  • EDF Renewables Pacific Wind - Mojave (143 megawatts)
  • Avangrid Renewables Manzana Wind - Tehachapi (189 megawatts)
  • Nextera Energy North Sky River - Mojave (150 megawatts)
  • LADWP Pine Tree Wind Farm - North of Mojave


  • Delano Energy (58 megawatts)


  • Global Clean Energy Holdings Alon Refinery Biodiesel - Bakersfield
  • Crimson Renewable Energy, LLC - Bakersfield

Digest Gas

  • Mt. Poso (44 megawatts)
  • Bidart Old River (6.6 megawatts)

Energy Storage

  • SCE Tehachapi Battery Storage (8 megawatts)

Planned Projects

  • 8 Minute Energy Eland Solar and Storage Center - California City (300 megawatts)
  • Clean Power Alliance Azalea - Mojave (30 megawatts)