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Bioenergy interest heats up in Kern County

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The former Big West of California refinery on Rosedale Highway is expected to partially reopen in 2022 as a biodiesel plant.

Kern County business developers have seen a surge of interest lately from companies looking to build waste-to-energy projects that could create hundreds if not thousands of new local jobs in producing fuels that cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

Four new bioenergy proposals came to the attention of the Kern Economic Development Corp. in the last half of 2020, joining four other prospects under active consideration. Most of the projects would employ more than 100 workers. One would dwarf the others with as many as 1,390 jobs across 100 to 200 acres.