Bakersfield College and Kern Community College District have expanded their energy partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to include Valley Strong Credit Union. We are excited to announce that the Bakersfield College Energy Technology Transfer & Workforce Development Initiative is now the Valley Strong Energy Institute.
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 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.
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:
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.
The Valley Strong Energy Institute 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:
The Valley Strong Energy Institute 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
The Valley Strong Energy Institute Curriculum Planning Group consists primarily of faculty 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: Paul Murray, Faculty Lead
The Valley Strong Energy Institute Fundraising Committee, 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
Scott Haase - Executive Manager, State and Local Strategic Partnerships
Ellen Morris - Director, University Partnerships Program
Owen Zinaman – Senior Researcher, Policy Analysis
Nick Ambrosini - President/CEO
Liz Rozell - Director, Energy Technology Transfer and Workforce Development
Cheryl Scott - Executive Director, BC Foundation
James McGarrah - Associate Dean of Instruction
Sonya Christian - Chancellor
John Means - Vice Chancellor, Educational Services
David Teasdale - Executive Director, Economic and Workforce Development Programs
Lorelei Oviatt – Director, Kern County Planning and Natural Resources
Teresa Hitchcock – Assistant County Administrative Officer
Richard Chapman - President/CEO
Stuart O. Witt - Owner/Founder (Former CEO of Mojave Air and Space Port)
Michael Turnipseed - Executive Director
Linda Parker - President
San Joaquin Valley Quality Cotton Growers Association