Thinking Forward Together: Emerging Technologies and a Changing Energy Sector

solar field installation in Rosamond, Kern County, California, photo by GaryKavanagh/Getty Images

GaryKavanagh/Getty Images

Energy is central to Kern County's economy and the livelihood of its residents. As a leader in oil, gas, solar, and wind, Kern has supplied much of California's energy the last several decades. But the county's energy sector faces challenges including from emerging technologies, shifting markets, and new state and federal policies. To fully and equitably embrace the opportunities these changes may offer, Kern needs to reimagine energy leadership.

A set of deliberative conversations was held in Kern County to discuss the region’s changing energy sector, using RAND’s climate equity–centered deliberative conversation (CECDC) approach. Below you can find information and resources about new energy technologies to help community members participate in similar discussions and become more engaged in conversations moving forward.

Equity–Centered Deliberative Conversations

In May, September, and October 2023, RAND and Cal State University Bakersfield co-hosted three equity-centered deliberative conversations with community members in Kern County. These conversations aimed to generate a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities that Kern County faces around difficult topics involving the changed in Kern’s energy sector.

The conversations aim to create a baseline understanding of the differences in cultural awareness, background knowledge, and forms of interaction among diverse stakeholders, generate a shared understanding of challenges and opportunities that Kern County faces, understand what types of resources community members need to effectively engage in the conversations, and begin developing the outline of a vision for a thriving Kern County in year 2030 and beyond.

The series of conversations, Thinking Forward Together: Emerging Technologies and a Changing Energy Sector, took place in 2023 on May 8 (hybrid), September 18 (virtual), and October 16 (hybrid).

Participants in these conversations engaged with topics including:

  • The significance of Kern’s changing energy sector for everyone’s future
  • Challenges in discussing community goals amidst such changes
  • Enhancing engagement across different groups in Kern
  • The importance of involving residents of all backgrounds
  • Addressing jobs and quality of life
  • The potential leadership role for Kern in energy transitions and equitable growth.

Connect with us if you are interested in joining future discussions.

Resources for Informed and Equitable Engagement on Kern’s Changing Energy Sector

An illustration of people from diverse racial backgrounds. Image by Lyubov Ivanova / Getty Images

These resources aim to equip Kern community members with the background knowledge needed to meaningfully engage in discussions about the region’s changing energy sector. Knowledge about new technology, economics, and the environment is important to enable effective participation.

These resources were assembled in consultation with the project’s local advisory board and aim to provide a range of perspectives on the energy evolution.

Resources are available in English and Spanish.

Resources (English)

This section contains background information and videos about energy technologies, with a focus on renewables like solar and wind, as well as technologies for storing the energy from renewables in batteries and in low-carbon fuels, and technologies for capturing and storing carbon. We also provide some videos on the general topics of climate change and on civic participation. Future versions of this page will include videos on a wider variety of energy technologies.

This is only a partial list of resources, and RAND does not necessarily endorse any of these resources.

Renewable Energy Generation Technologies

Renewable energy sources generate electricity that is used to power the electrical grid.

Low-Carbon Fuels and Energy Storage

Some energy sources, such as solar and wind, rely on energy storage systems when the sun is not shining, and the wind is not blowing.

Carbon Capture and Storage

Carbon capture and storage technologies remove carbon dioxide from oil and gas plants before it gets into the air.

General Topics

Local Resources

Recursos en Español

Esta sección contiene información de fondo y videos sobre tecnologías energéticas, con un enfoque en renovables como la solar y la eólica, así como tecnologías para almacenar la energía de renovables en baterías y en combustibles de bajo carbono, y tecnologías para capturar y almacenar carbono. También proporcionamos algunos videos sobre temas generales de cambio climático y participación ciudadana. Las versiones futuras de esta página incluirán videos sobre una variedad más amplia de tecnologías energéticas.

Esta es solo una lista parcial de recursos, y RAND no respalda necesariamente ninguno de estos recursos. Esta sección contiene información general y vídeos sobre tecnologías energéticas, centrándose en las energías renovables como la solar y la eólica y las tecnologías para almacenar la energía de las energías renovables en baterías y combustibles bajos en carbono.

Esta es sólo una lista parcial de recursos y esperamos agregar más con el tiempo. Si bien hemos hecho todo lo posible para proporcionar una buena muestra, RAND no necesariamente respalda ninguno de estos recursos.

Tecnologías de generación de energía renovables

Las fuentes de energía renovables generan electricidad que se utiliza para alimentar la red eléctrica.

Combustibles bajos en carbono y almacenamiento de energía

Algunas fuentes de energía, como la solar y la eólica, dependen de sistemas de almacenamiento de energía cuando el sol no brilla y el viento no sopla.

Captura y almacenamiento de carbono

Las tecnologías de captura y almacenamiento de carbono eliminan el dióxido de carbono de las plantas de petróleo y gas antes de que llegue al aire.

Temas generales

Community Engagement Resources

The following resources can help facilitate respectful, informed, and inclusive community engagement.