wind turbines in or near tehachapi

Clouds pass by the wind turbines near Tehachapi.

Bakersfield College will host a short virtual conference Wednesday with local political and industry leaders to discuss the economic potential of renewable energy in Kern County.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez will be some of the leaders on hand to discuss the “innovative strategies and workforce development opportunities for the region,” according to a news release from Bakersfield College.

The webinar will be called “Energy Opportunities to Secure the Economic Vitality of our Region.”

The east Kern Mojave Desert is known for having some of the best solar resources, and the Tehachapi-Mojave wind resource area is known as one of the highest-producing wind power regions in the nation.

“Kern County is now known, around the world, as a place to site and permit innovative green projects,” said Kern County Planning and Natural Resources Director Lorelei Oviatt, who will be featured at the conference. “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.”

The partnership involves the Kern Community College District, Bakersfield College, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Kern County. It aims to take advantage of regional geography, develop new energy opportunities and train a workforce for these new jobs.

“Energy is a vital component of our bright and healthy future and it’s a flourishing segment of Kern County’s workforce and economy,” said KCCD Chancellor Tomas J. Burke. “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 conference will feature a variety of industry and community leaders that will also include David Mooney, executive director or Institutional Planning and Development of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian; Cathy Reheis-Boyd, president of Western States Petroleum Association; Sarah Kurtz, professor of Materials Science and Engineering, UC Merced; and Richard Chapman, president/CEO of Kern Economic Development Corporation.

The “Energy Opportunities to Secure the Economic Vitality of our Region” webinar is free and open to the public. It will run from 10 to 11:15 a.m. on Zoom. Registration is available at the Bakersfield College website at https://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/conference/energy-transfer-technology-workforce-development-webinar