BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern Community College District held a day-long workshop Wednesday on the future of Kern County’s energy economy featuring the vice-chair of the California Energy Commission.

The CEC’s Siva Gunda was on hand to discuss the college district’s $50 million appropriation from the new state budget for a California Renewable Energy Lab. The state funding puts the KCCD in position to lead the way in terms of technology development and workforce training.

Gunda and KCCD Chancellor Sonya Christian said the CEC’s interest in the college district and Bakersfield College in particular will enable Kern County to lead in the transition away from fossil fuels and toward underdeveloped, potential-rich renewable energy opportunities.

“The reason we are here is to learn exactly what the needs are,” Gunda said, “and how do we make that necessary transition in a way that the community benefits.”

Christian said there are other government resources on the way.

“We’re going to see significant resources from the federal government coming to Kern County as well,” she said, “because of the leadership, because of the collaboration.”

The transition away from fossil fuels, most agree, is sure to affect the Kern County oil industry. The Energy Lab’s purpose, in part, is to develop a framework to keep cutting edge, high paying jobs right here in Kern County.

The California Renewable Energy Lab will include centers of excellence for carbon management, microgrid technology and clean transportation.