Local oil producer California Resources Corp. announced Tuesday it has pledged a total of $2.5 million to fund carbon management-related initiatives at the Kern Community College District and Cal State Bakersfield.
KCCD will receive most of the money — $1.94 million over three years, according to Long Beach-based CRC — to establish the CRC Carbon Management Institute in support of an emerging technology the company has proposed deploying in Kern County that would address climate change by removing greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.
CRC said CSUB will get $560,000, paid out over two years, to launch the CRC Energy Transition Lecture Series on the same field of technology, also called carbon capture and sequestration. Additionally, the money will be used to set up the CRC Carbon TerraVault Scholarship, named after the company’s premiere CCS proposal in Kern.
“CRC is deeply committed to the energy transition, and we are proud to partner with Kern CCD and CSUB to invest in our local students and a sustainable future,” President and CEO Mac McFarland said in an afternoon news release.
“These respected institutions operate at the intersection of energy, agriculture and technology and are key to driving future economic development, technological innovation and educational attainment,” he continued. “CRC has pledged to be net zero by 2045 and we believe initiatives such as these will help advance the necessary technologies, adoption and long-term success for our local communities.”
CRC’s release said the Carbon Management Institute will conduct workforce training and research and development. It will also perform community outreach and set up academies focused on advancing CCS and other emerging technologies.
Collaborators within Kern County’s B3K economic development initiative have identified CCS as a potential driver of local employment growth. Despite steep costs and deep skepticism within environmental advocacy circles, the technology has spurred several local proposals that would make use of local industrial engineering expertise and geologic formations deemed ideal for injecting and storing carbon dioxide deep underground indefinitely.
KCCD’s board of directors voted last month to accept CRC’s donation. The district said in a statement the gift will support its work developing and training the “vibrant and growing workforce in Kern County as the state and nation push forward with efforts to a decarbonized future.”
“Kern CCD is excited to be partnering with CRC on an innovative new approach to research, outreach, community education and workforce training for carbon management,” it stated. “CRC recognizes Kern CCD has been facilitating conversations around clean energy transition throughout the southern San Joaquin Valley in an intentional and proactive approach. This investment will ensure that a wide range of stakeholders are engaged in identifying practical solutions to climate resilience.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include KCCD’s statement.