A secure and stable energy future depends on an innovative coalition of partners. The Kern Community College District, Bakersfield College, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the County of Kern, participated in a webinar yesterday, focused on innovative strategies and workforce development opportunities for the region. The webinar took place on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 10:00AM PDT via Zoom.
Chancellor of the Kern Community College District, Tomas J. Burke is thankful to see the community coming together for this event. He says, “Energy is a vital component of our bright and healthy future and it’s a flourishing segment of Kern County’s workforce and economy. To continue the spur of innovation and growth in these areas, it is important that we discuss and highlight the ways education, public, and private partners can work together to strengthen our progress and move closer towards our common goals.”
The east Kern Mojave Desert has some of the best solar resources in the nation and 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. With the level of resources available throughout our region, it is vital that we explore the opportunities to enhance our economic vitality through renewable energy development including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydrogen.
This partnership aims to look closer at Kern County’s unique geography to identify and develop new energy opportunities throughout the region while training the energy workforce for the future. Kern County Supervisors Mike Maggard and Zack Scrivener have both issued statements of support for BC’s newly-established Energy Technology Transfer and Workforce Development (TT&WD) program, outlining how the work of this partnership is crucial for securing prosperity and economic vitality in the region.
“The Kern Community College District has a long history of successful work in this arena and has a proven record of success in supporting our workers, employers, and the community as a whole,” said Leticia Perez of Kern County’s Board of Supervisors. She continued, “The County of Kern endorses the Energy TT & WO project in alignment with our Strategic Initiatives to enhance the quality of life for residents, be a model of excellence, and foster a culture of innovation.”
Forging collaborations between the renewable energy research community and energy companies, with a lens and foundation set in education will ensure high quality for residents, a stronger and more diverse economy, and a more prosperous future for Kern County.
Ellen Morris, Director of the University Partnerships Program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is eager to see what the future has in store. She says, “NREL has an extensive history of strong partnerships with leading universities and research institutions across the U.S. that leverage cutting edge knowledge to solve complex global challenges. Bakersfield College is a terrific partner, and we are excited to build new connections with students and faculty that will foster innovation and learning at BC and in Kern County.”
“Kern County is now known, around the world, as a place to site and permit innovative green projects. This exciting collaboration between energy research and education will expand our connection to attract talented start- up companies who want to put their ideas into practice,” said Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Director, Lorelei Oviatt.