Issuu on Google+

KERN Journal Business

Vol. 1, No.1

Cover Story

Economy booms

Energy efficient Bakersfield’s new courthouse

Page 23

Oct/Nov 2012

Renewable energy issue

Kern becomes recovery ‘star’

S

igns point to an economic boom in Kern County — the “surprise star” in the Central Valley’s recovery from the Great Recession. Much of the boom is being fueled by the energy industry – Kern’s traditional oil and gas sector, as well as its renewable energies. But all of Kern County’s economic eggs are not in the energy basket. Building is booming and companies are relocating to the area. They are being lured by Kern’s cheaper office space and land, its location near urban centers and markets, and its streamlined regulatory processes. In year-over-year construction employment growth, Bakersfield leads the country. From July 2011 to July 2012, payrolls spiked almost 23 percent. Statewide it grew only 5 percent. This summer, Kern County was just 5,600 jobs from matching its 2007 “housing bubble” peak employment. From 2000 to 2010, Kern’s population grew to 839,631 — almost 27 percent — while the state’s grew only 10 percent. Certainly agriculture and energy will continue to be the cornerstones of Kern’s economy. But there is no denying the “star power” that comes from the area’s economic diversity and influx of new industries. --Kern Business Journal

Kern Business Journal P.O. Bin 440 Bakersfield, CA 93302

Photo courtesy of the American Wind Energy Association

Students prepare to practice wind rope rescue and tower climbing in the college-industry Clean Energy Center collaborative.

Education, job-training power Kern’s industries Kern County’s community colleges, four-year universities and private colleges are responding to the skyrocketing demand for high-skilled and educated workers, particularly for the booming energy industry. According to U.S. Census data, only about 9.8 percent of Kern’s population has a bachelor’s degree. That means many of the area’s high-paying jobs in engineering and technical fields are hard to fill. Kern wind industry alone is expected to generate thousands of new jobs this year. Who will fill these jobs? The Kern Community College District and Taft College are just two local educational institutions that have stepped forward with training and academic programs. With training funded by grants through the U.S. Department of Labor, the KCCD’s Clean

Presorted Standard U.S. Postage PAID Bakersfield, CA Permit No. 578

Energy Center is focused on providing skilled workers for wind and solar energy, and the utility industry. More than 400 workers have finished the KCCD program since its inception in 2010. Participants complete up to 740 hours of instruction in 22 weeks of hands-on training in three programs: PowerTech, WindTech and SolarTech. At Taft College, instructors and administrators recognize that the nationwide shortage of students graduating in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics hinders Kern’s and the nation’s

Kern wind energy alone is expected to generate thousands of new jobs.

INSIDE

economic recovery and business growth. Supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, Taft College created the STEM program, which works with collegeage and high school students, and industry partners, to improve education in critically needed fields of study and prepare students to succeed in college and industry. “We are responsive to businesses’ training needs. Whether it’s the cutting edge of clean energy, nursing and emergency medical fields, or engineering and science-based training, our mission is to listen to industry and provide students the competencies that match those demands,” said Kern Community College District Chancellor Sandra Serrano. To learn more about these and other training and education programs in Kern, please turn to page 19.

Chamber Events......................................15 In the Oil Patch.......................................16 Wind Energy Overview..............................18

Business at a Glance................................3

Taft College STEM...................................19

Kern’s ‘Green’ Businesses.........................6

Radar tracks birds...................................20

SCE’s Mega-Battery...................................7

Local bank expands.................................22

County Energy Financing............................8

In the Workplace.....................................24

Critical Path Transmission..........................8

Nurturing Entrepreneurs...........................25

Kern’s Economic Outlook.........................10

Solar Energy Overview.............................26

County supports local vendors.................11

Solar Bike Takes Off................................28

Hydrogen Energy Plant.............................14

Air District Rewards Innovation.................30


2

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

3

John Wells

Kern Business Journal: Written for, by businesses

Journal KERN Business Showcasing Kern County business and industry Vol. 1, No.1 • Oct./Nov. 2012

Welcome to the first edition of the Kern Business Journal, a product of the Specialty Publications Division of The Bakersfield Californian, with the cooperation of the Kern Economic Development Corp., the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce and the County of Kern. Kern County’s diverse economy, which is supported by a growing number of innovative companies and creative, hard-working entrepreneurs, is helping fuel the economic recovery of California and the southern San Joaquin Valley, as well as the entire nation. Kern’s businesses and industries have unique stories to tell. And The Bakersfield Californian will help them tell their stories through the pages of the bi-monthly Kern Business Journal. This inaugural edition focuses on Kern’s vast renewable energy industry, which has been likened to a modern-day “Gold Rush.” For more than a century, Kern has been recogJohn Wells nized as one of the nation’s leading producers of oil and gas. But in recent decades, the area’s abundant wind, solar, biomass and geothermal resources have been harnessed to make the county the nation’s energy capital. In this edition, you will read how Kern’s massive wind and solar project’s are helping California reach its goal of providing 33 percent of the state’s energy through renewable sources by 2020. You will read how this renewable energy boom is creating thousands of new jobs and how the Kern Community College District, working with government agencies and private companies, is helping train workers for these highpaying jobs. Readers also will get a better understanding of some of the challenges facing renewable energy development in Kern, particularly the shortage of transmission lines to transport generated electricity from production fields to customers. Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi demonstration project, which proposes to use huge batteries to ease transmission congestion, is detailed inside this edition. And then there are those people who keep dreaming up brand new ways to generate the power America needs. Journal readers will get a

Kern Business Journal is published by The Bakersfield Californian. Copies of the bi-monthly journal are available from The Bakersfield Californian, Kern Economic Development Corp. and Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce. To subscribe, call 392-5777. Publisher Ginger Moorhouse President/CEO Richard Beene Senior Vice President Revenue and Marketing John Wells Editor Dianne Hardisty Kern Business Journal Sales Mark Hitchcock Art Director Glenn Hammett To submit a story editor@kernbusinessjournal.com Advertising contact kbj-ads@kernbusinessjournal.com

close-up view of how Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) proposes to build a cutting-edge, renewable energy power plant in what is now a farm field on the county’s west side. The award-winning energy conservation and pollution-cutting efforts of numerous local businesses are spotlighted in the journal’s reporting of the Kern Green Awards. And certainly a jewel in the area’s design and conservation crown is the new U.S. Courthouse in Bakersfield, which is expected to earn “Gold” LEED certification. But the journal’s first edition is not just about energy. Business readers will find tips on a variety of topics. A regular journal feature will be “In the Oil Patch,” a question-and-answer session with a leading local oil and gas executive. Journal articles are contributed by businesses, as well as written by journal staff. The publication is edited by veteran journalist Dianne Hardisty. Mark Hitchcock is handling advertising. The journal is written for business owners and managers, economic development advocates, investors, and elected and appointed public officials. The “themes” of upcoming journal editions are: Logistics/ Transportation, December; Value-Added Agriculture, February; Health Care, April; Aerospace, June; Energy (Oil), August; and Commercial Real Estate, October 2013. To submit a news article or suggest editorial content, email Dianne Hardisty at editor@kernbusinessjournal.com, or call (661) 330-2417. To place an advertisement in the Kern Business Journal, email Mark Hitchcock at kbj-ads@kernbusinessjournal.com, or call (661) 5993365. Although each edition of the Kern Business Journal will have a “theme,” opportunities will exist for the publication of articles not related to the “themes.” As events, projects and developments occur, and new programs are started, stories from all Kern’s business and industry sectors will be published. So, if you are working on a really great local project, suggest or write an article for the Kern Business Journal. — John Wells is The Bakersfield Californian’s senior vice president of revenue and marketing. He also is a member of the Kern Economic Development Corp. board of directors.

Business at-a-glance Houchin Community Blood Bank’s new facility takes shape on Buena Vista Road.

Houchin launches building naming opportunities Houchin Community Blood Bank has launched a new phase of its ongoing fundraising campaign that provides additional ways for businesses and individuals to help build Houchin’s 42,000-squarefoot centralized facility on 5 acres of land donated by Bolthouse Properties in the new Seven Oaks Business Park on Buena Vista Road. The project is expected to be completed by early 2013. Opportunities now are available to name features in the new facility to recognize major contributions toward the goal of raising $3 million to $5 million in cash and pledges. Bricks are also being sold to recognize smaller, individual and business contributions ranging from $150 to $5,000. A list of these and other opportunities to contribute can be found on the Houchin Community Blood Bank

website at www.hcbb.com or by calling Greg Gallion at 323-4222. The 60-year-old blood bank’s operations are presently housed in four separate locations. The new complex will consolidate laboratory, quality assurance, manufacturing, distribution, information technology, community development, telerecruiting and transportation all under one roof. “The efficiencies that will result will help Houchin keep pace with Kern County’s rapidly expanding need for blood and blood products,” said Greg Gallion, Houchin’s president and chief executive officer. “Advanced medical procedures, such as cancer treatments, have drastically increased the local need for blood supplies.”

Energy summit features investigative reporter Author and investigative journalism professor Amanda Little will

be the keynote speaker at the 6th Annual Kern County Energy Summit on Wednesday, Nov. 14, in the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center. Little, who teaches at Vanderbilt University, spent three years traveling the country to study the creation, innovation and challenges associated with America’s energy network. Little chronicled her findings in her 2009 book, “Power Trip: The Story of America’s Love Affair with Energy.” “Amanda is an investigator and a journalist. She really dug into the topic of energy and I think Kern County business leaders will find her presentation to be more than just a primer, but a thorough examination of the origin and transformation of our country’s energy network,” said Richard ChapAmanda Little man, president/CEO of Kern Economic Development Corp. “Kern County has played a starring role in the nation’s energy network, beginning with the earliest California oil discoveries by wildcatters in the early 1900s, and now with the expansion of renewable energy developments in the county,” he said. “In order for us to determine where we are going, locally and nationally, with traditional and renewable energy, it’s important for us to remind ourselves of how we got here.” In addition to sharing her findings, Little will detail the impact energy has on Kern County’s economy, in

particular the energy, agriculture and warehousing/distribution sectors. The focus of the Kern Economic Development Corp. energy summit is to give attendees a better understanding of why an energyindependent future requires partnerships among all energy fields. Registration is available online at www.kedc.com. --Kern Business Journal

enXco name changes to EDF Renewable Energy enXco, an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company, has announced a name change to EDF Renewable Energy. The new brand name is a natural progression of the integration process with the EDF group, the leading electricity company in the world. Ten years ago, EDF Energies Nouvelles, the EDF subsidiary specializing in renewable energy, acquired enXco, initiating tremendous growth in the company throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. At the time of the acquisition, the EDF group (Electricité de France) owned 50 percent of EDF Energies Nouvelles. EDF acquired the remaining 50 percent of EDF Energies Nouvelles in August 2011, and enXco is now fully integrated within the group under a new name, EDF Renewable Energy. EDF Renewable Energy is maintaining the delineation between the development group and the operations and maintenance (O&M) group -- formerly enXco Service Corp. - by changing the name of the O&M group to EDF Renewable Services. The services division will continue to perform all required O&M for wind

and solar energy projects. With more than 6 gigawatts of power under contract, EDF Renewable Services is the leading provider of third-party operations and maintenance services in North America. EDF Renewable Energy specializes in wind, solar, biomass and biogas project design, development, construction, operations and maintenance. It develops, builds, owns and operates renewable energy projects in the U.S. for its own account as well as for third party ownership. --EDF Renewable Energy

10 Bakersfield companies on Inc. 5000 annual list Energy, construction and technology were the big winners among the Bakersfield companies that landed on this year’s Inc. 5000 list. The list is compiled by Inc. magazine, which annually ranks 5,000 companies by percentage of revenue growth over a three-year period, in this case, from 2008 to 2011. To make the list, companies must apply and supply inforChad Hathaway mation about revenue, hiring and other growth measures. Bakersfield had 10 companies on the list, up from nine in 2011. The fastest growing local business on the list was Hathaway LLC, an independent oil producer in Bakersfield that grew 266 percent over the past three years. That

Continued on page 8


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

4

OCT/NOV 2012

enXco is now...

TRUSTED LEADER IN PROJECT DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

With over 4,500 MW of development expertise, EDF Renewable Energy is the trusted leader in the development and operations of wind and solar energy projects. As part of a global organization, we bring a depth of experience to every project. Through our O&M affiliate, EDF Renewable Services, we ensure the performance of your investment over the long-term. With over 6,000 MW of energy under contract, we are the trusted leader to maximize project profitability. We are proud to deliver renewable energy projects to Kern County and provide local jobs and economic benefits.

renewable energy

888.903.6926 www.edf-re.com

858.521.3575 | O&Mbusdev@edf-re.com www.edf-renewable-services.com


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

in the Grand Island Village Our newest branch is located in the heart of Seven Oaks at Ming Avenue and Buena Vista Road. Valley Republic Bank

We invite local businesses and individuals to experience the

is honored to have been named the

community banking difference. This full-service location

SAFEST BANK

includes drive-up banking as well as an experienced team of

between Los Angeles and Sacramento by

professionals who provide responsive, reliable service

MSN Money. We join 15 California banks in

with a personal touch.

earning a place on the list of

Stop by and see our new home, enjoy a cup of coffee and

“The 359 Safest Banks in America.”

a fresh baked cookie.

....................

“To help Americans regain their sense of financial security and peace of mind that our money is safe, we’ve found a way to find the safest banks in America - using a special metric called the “Texas Ratio.” — Sara Glakas, Investinganswers ....................

Local. Responsive. Reliable. 11330 Ming Avenue, Suite 400, Bakersfield, CA 93311 661.617.2130 5000 California Avenue, Suite 110, Bakersfield, CA 93309 661.371.2000

valleyrepublicbank.com

8

5


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

6

OCT/NOV 2012

Kern businesses, individuals honored for being ‘green’ ing practices, Granite Construction’s office on James Road is a Kern Green certified building. The primary building uses 80 percent recycled steel, and 100 percent of the building’s steel will be able to be reused in the future. The company also trains its employees to fulfill Granite’s environmental objectives.

Photo courtesy of Grimmway Farms

Solar panels are among the technologies used by Grimmway Farms to achieve energy efficiency. By Allie Castro

The contributions Kern County businesses and individuals have made to improve the community’s environment were honored during Kern Green’s recent annual awards banquet. The event noted the accomplishments of more than 33 public and private businesses and 11 individuals. The awards celebrated community-nominated businesses and individuals in Kern County that are leading the way towards sustainable living. They highlighted the ways they are keeping Kern County green. Winners included:

2 million gallons of tertiary treated water per day. That water is being used to irrigate soccer fields in Sports Village Park and also will be used for median landscape irrigation surrounding the treatment plant.

Californian file photo

Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall, right, receives the Iron Eyes Cody Award from Keep America Beautiful from Mathew M McKenna, the organization’s President and CEO.

Harvey Hall

Photo courtesy of Chevron

Trans-West Security Services Inc. is one of Chevron’s vendors that uses fuel efficient vehicles.

Grimmway Farms Energy Efficiency Partnering with PG&E since 1990, Grimmway Farms has utilized the most upto-date technologies to ensure that their operations are as energy efficient as possible. Their energy savings to date are: 12,000 kilowatts and 95,105,000 kilowatt hours, which equals approximately 64,000 tons of CO2 removed annually.

Chevron

Photo courtesy of the Aera

Aera Energy LLC has been certified a zerowaste facility.

Sustainable Purchasing Chevron helps reduce the company’s carbon footprint by supporting local businesses and minimizing packaging in its mailroom. During Chevron’s biennial health fairs, more than 60 local vendors are brought in to help generate local revenue and encourage attendees to purchase locally. The company also contracts with vendors who have a clear environmental commitment and purchases products made from recycled content.

Aera Energy LLC

IKEA

Photo courtesy of the City of Bakersfield

Bakersfield Public Works Department Water Conservation The city’s upgraded Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 3 in southwest Bakersfield created a process that can produce up to

E & B Green Solutions Pollution Prevention Bakersfield-based E&B Green Solutions markets products that are derived from plant matter, are safe for the environment and the product user, and are completely biodegradable. The company spreads its message at conferences, meetings, and trade shows to introduce companies to renewable, environmentally friendly and commercially viable products.

Photo courtesy of Tejon Ranch

Many features in IKEA’s warehouse-distribution center in the Tejon Ranch Co.’s industrial park save energy.

Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling Aera was the first company in Kern County to be certified as a zero-waste facility. The company’s efforts include green construction practices and materials, battery and hazardous waste collections, and waterless plumbing fixtures. Almost all materials that enter or leave the facility have been reduced, reused or recycled. Upgrading of Bakersfield’s Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 3 produces tertiary treated water that irrigates soccer fields and median landscape.

Individual Eco-volunteer Four-time co-chairman of the annual Great American Cleanup Committee, Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall has stayed busy speaking to the public about litter removal and city beautification, and coordinating such events as the Mayor’s Freeway Cleanup, which has more than 2,600 volunteers picking up more than 7,700 bags of trash along our roadways.

Photo courtesy of Granite Construction

Granite Construction’s new office on James Road is a Kern Green certified building.

Overall Green The home furnishings retailer IKEA has fitted its 1.8-million-square-foot warehouse in the Tejon Ranch Co.’s industrial park, located in southern Kern County, with solar panels and low-energy bulbs, and replaced all lighting in its cranes with LED lights. The company also teamed up with Golden Empire Transit and Tejon Ranch to create a transportation program for its workers.

Greater Bakersfield Green Expo Granite Construction Green Building and Design Showing its commitment to green build-

Green Service A countywide annual event, the Greater Bakersfield Green Expo educates the public Continued on page 7


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

7

SCE tests one of the world’s largest batteries By Lori O’Neill

Lithium-ion batteries have been used for years to power hybrid and electric vehicles, but they have not yet been proven for large scale utility purposes. That may soon change with Southern California Edison developing one of the world’s largest battery energy storage systems. SCE’s battery energy storage system will demonstrate the effectiveness of an 8 megawatt, 4 hour (32 megawatt hours) lithium-ion battery with smart inverter technology to improve grid performance and assist in the integration of intermittent energy resources, like wind and solar energy. At the intersection of East Tehachapi Boulevard and Williamson Road is SCE’s Tehachapi Wind Energy Storage Project. Here is where this potential method of managing variable energy resource integration is being investigated. The project is principally funded by SCE and the Department of Energy. Once this project is completed, SCE will evaluate a wide range of applications for lithium-ion batteries, which may spur broader demand for the technology. Viable energy storage solutions will allow for a smarter grid, assist in the integration of intermittent renewable resources and encourage job growth in the energy sector. More importantly, the Tehachapi Wind Energy Storage Project may also help to bring lithium-ion battery production to a scale that can make this form of large energy storage more cost-effective. SCE’s Antelope-Bailey 66 kilovolt system (the site location was selected because it is part of the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area) is currently capable of delivering over 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy and is where up to 4,500 megawatts of wind resources will be able to come online by 2015. Construction crews have been on-site since February. On May 3, the Tehachapi Wind Energy Storage Project reached a milestone with the completion of the concrete foundation for the battery energy storage system facility. Since then, the structural framework, including columns and panels of the 6,000-plus square foot air-conditioned facility that will house the battery energy storage system, has been installed. In addition, to the battery energy storage system, transformers, breakers, cabling and other interconnection equipment will be installed as the site is readied for operation. The full system deployment is planned for the first part of 2013 and the Department of Energy demonstration period will continue into 2015. During this time, SCE will test the battery energy storage system to determine its capability and effectiveness to support 13 operational uses including: provide voltage support and

grid stabilization; decrease transmission losses; diminish congestion; increase system reliability; defer transmission investment; optimize renewable related transmission; provide system capacity and resource adequacy; integrate renewable energy (smoothing); shift wind generation output; regulate frequency; and, addres spin/non-spin replacement reserves, ramp management, and energy price arbitrage. Most of the applications either shift other generation resources to meet peak load and other electricity system needs with stored electricity, or resolve grid stability and capacity concerns that result from the interconnection of variable energy resources.

The results of this project will help determine the effectiveness of some of the capabilities of energy storage and demonstrate the performance of the lithium-ion batteries in actual grid level system conditions, the capability to automate the operations of the battery energy storage system, and integrate its use into the utility grid. — Lori O’Neill is manager of project demonstration and testing in advance technology for Southern California Edison.

Photo courtesy of SCE

Above: Southern California Edison’s energy storage system facility is under construction in Tehachapi. Left: Bird’s eye view of the battery storage facility.

Continued from page 6 on how to create a sustainable lifestyle. It brings together local artists, environmentalfriendly vendors and thousands of area residents. The next Green Expo will be held in conjunction with the annual Bakersfield Great American Cleanup on Saturday, April 6, 2013. Greater Bakersfield Green Expo also is working with the city’s school districts to implement a new recycling program, as well as setting in motion a number of ongoing recycling projects, such as the Ronald McDonald House E-Waste Event.

Tom Harlan Eco Co-worker Tom Harlan has brought a personal passion for sustainability to the Aera Energy offices. He was a key player in the “Green Certification” and “Zero Waste Certification” that Aera has achieved over the last two years. He also helps his coworkers learn more about sustainability by hosting educational sessions, creating zero-waste newsletters and implementing “reduce reuse recycle” fairs.

Photo courtesy of Aera

Tom Harlan cheers on co-workers during an Aera “reduce reuse recycle” event.

Kevin Crosby Eco Educator Having received over $74,000 in grants to support Environmental Club activities, Kevin Crosby’s students have written environmental blogs, volunteered for litter

removal projects and sponsored the Falcon Energy Fun Run on the Independence High School campus. Crosby also received a grant from Chevron to film two public service announcements about solar energy that aired over the summer on KETN.

A local non-profit organization committed to protecting the environment through education and awareness, Kern Green works with residents, schools, businesses and other local non-profit organizations to demonstrate the social, economic and environmental benefits of integrating green practices in daily work and professional life. It has established a “Green Business Certification” to offer a structured program that provides free tools, resources and technical support for businesses that seek a targeted approach to greening their operations. Kern Green has partnered with organizations, such as Keep Bakersfield Beautiful, Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, Kern Economic Development Corp. and Pacific Gas & Electric to promote a more sustainable future in Kern County. The Kern Green awards were presented in August during a dinner at Aera Energy. For more information about Kern Green and the Green Business Certification program, go to www.KernGreen.org or call 412-3780. — Allie Castro writes for Kern Green, a Bakersfield-based non-profit organization.


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

8

OCT/NOV 2012

Cut utility bills, while cutting costs By Allan Krauter

Kern County businesses looking to cut their utility bills have a new option: the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program that lets them start saving electricity costs immediately, while gradually paying back the cost of clean energy improvements through their property tax bills. The PACE program enables commercial property owners -- and, in some cases, residential property owners with no mortgage or Federal Housing & Finance Agency (FHFA) non-conforming mortgages – to finance energy and water efficiency building upgrades and renewable energy systems without large upfront investments. PACE financing provides up to 100 percent of required capital for projects. The right property improvements can transform existing energy expenses into thousands of dollars of positive cash flow each year, since the amount of money saved on energy often exceeds the cost of financing. Funds can be used for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades to office, industrial, agricultural, multi-family residential and other commercial properties. Two programs -- Figtree Energy Resource Company and CaliforniaFIRST -- have been approved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors to provide PACE financing for property owners in unincorporated areas of Kern County. Figtree and CaliforniaFIRST will offer flexible financing terms that empower property owners to work with local contractors to improve commercial buildings. As a result, PACE financing stimulates local economies and creates local jobs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the benefit of all Californians. Property owners qualify for long-term financing based on the value of their property. The landsecured PACE financing eliminates the need for personal guarantees. PACE’s fixed-rate financing requires no money down and no minimum credit score. Participating property owners will pay back their financing through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill for up to 20 years. Although the billing mechanism is the property tax bill, the PACE program does not rely on public funds and does not increase taxes. If the property is sold before the PACE financing is paid off, the outstanding balance can be transferred to the new owner. Property owners should work with a qualified contractor to develop a scope of work for energy- or water-saving projects. For preliminary approval and analysis of available financing, interested property owners should contact: Figtree PACE at www.figtreecompany.com, or 877-577-7373; and CaliforniaFIRST at www.California FIRST.org, or 510-692-9995. — Allan Krauter is a legislative analyst in the Kern County Administrative Office.

Transmission line critical to energy development By Thomas O’Connor

The formal environmental permitting process has begun on what is proposed to be the first independent transmission line to be built for the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) grid for the purpose of serving renewable generation. The AV Clearview Transmission Project is designed to come on line by late-2016 and will be capable of delivering over 2,000 megawatts of renewable generation from the Antelope Valley and eastern Kern County to the electrical load center in Los Angeles and beyond. The need for additional transmission to serve Kern County’s wind and solar industries has been well documented. Kern County has permitted more than 7,000 megawatts of renewable energy projects, with more than 3,900 megawatts already on line. Despite receiving all necessary county approvals, many new generation projects will face challenges connecting to the existing transmission facilities, including Southern California Edison’s new Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Line, which stretches from Tehachapi into Los Angeles County. Additional transmission lines are critical to enabling the continued development of wind and solar projects in the region, said Zack Scrivner, chairman of the Kern County Board of Supervisors. “We have always been an energy county -- traditionally oil and gas, but now also wind and solar,” said Scrivner. “Wind farms are some of our largest property tax payers, and the construction and maintenance jobs

employ many local people. This renewable resource is a boon to Kern County, our desert region, and our state.” The California cities of Lancaster and Pittsburg, along with support from Kern County, have partnered to form the High Desert Power Authority (HDPA), a joint powers authority for the purpose of developing independent transmission projects to serve the desert community. The AV Clearview line will be HDPA’s inaugural project. Stretching nearly 40 miles through the Antelope Valley, from Edwards Air Force Base to the Vincent-Lugo transmission line, south of Highway 138, AV Clearview will also include an overhead connection between the SCE Windhub substation, west of Mojave, and the Kramer substation at Kramer Junction. The HDPA involved Edwards Air Force Base early in the design process, choosing to route the line underground, along road rights-of-way, through previously disturbed land, and above ground, where deemed practical. “The AV Clearview Project offers a myriad of benefits for Southern California,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “From a local standpoint, this project promises multiple opportunities to jumpstart economic development throughout our region, providing hundreds of jobs via the transmission project, as well as nearby solar projects, which are currently awaiting connectivity. More importantly, the project provides the necessary infrastructure to harness our region’s valuable solar resources.” The environmental review and permitting

process for the project is expected to take approximately 14 months, with construction due to start in January 2014. Completion of the project is slated for late-2016, supporting new projects planning to go on line by Jan. 1, 2017 to be eligible for IRS tax-credit incentives and funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This accelerated schedule is essential to solar and wind projects in the western Mojave Desert, which are depending on a new transmission line to secure financing. Kern County’s state Sen. Michael Rubio noted that the AV Clearview project will bring new construction jobs to the region earlier than other proposed transmission projects. “It is essential that the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) support this project, so that the state can achieve its 33 percent Renewables Portfolio Standard policy goals,” said 16th District Sen. Rubio, D-Shafter. In addition to completing the environmental review process, HDPA must succeed in getting AV Clearview line approved for inclusion in the CAISO statewide plan. Kern County Planning and Community Development Director Lorelei Oviatt, whose department will lead the environment review, acknowledged the need for more transmission in the region. “We need to serve the pressing needs of our renewable developers,” said Oviatt, adding that there now are no alternatives. — Thomas O’Connor is a consultant to the AV Clearview project.

Business at-a-glance (continued) Continued from page 3

earned it the No. 1,182 spot. Hathaway sister company Payzone Directional Services, which drills for oil and gas horizontally, also made the list, ranking 3,972 with 37 percent growth. Other Bakersfield companies on the list included: APAC Rubber; Moneywise Wealth Management; Lightspeed Systems; Gazelle Transportation; Klassen; Electrical Systems and Instrumentation; PLCs Plus International; and ARRC Technology. --Kern Business Journal

Patients, families provided iPads at SJCH Cancer Center The Cancer Center at San Joaquin Community Hospital has been awarded a $40,000 grant to provide iPads for patients and families during cancer treatments. The iPads will be preloaded with news and research applications for users to stay updated on current medical information, as well as entertainment options, including books, movies and music. In addition, Wi-Fi

access throughout The Cancer Center will allow patients and families to access the internet via the iPad or any web-enabled device. “As we get closer to opening our new Cancer Center, the excitement just continues to build,” said Jarrod McNaughton, vice president for marketing and development. “The full scope of how iPads and tablets will impact health care and cancer care hasn’t even been realized yet.” The grant, distributed by the Innovations Department of

Adventist Health – the hospital’s parent organization, located in Roseville, Calif. – provides funds to hospitals introducing new processes, products, services or organizational structures that help advance the organization’s mission. The iPads will be available when The Cancer Center opens at the beginning of 2013. In addition to treatment areas, iPads will also be available in the Wendy Wayne Resource Library. — San Joaquin Community Hospital


OCT/NOV 2012

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

9


10

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

Economic Outlook

Kern County enjoys strong 10-year run By Mark Evans

How far has Kern County’s economy traveled in the past decade? How much success have we had “digging out” from the Great Recession? Where are we headed? We’ve had a good 10-year run. IHS Global Insight estimates that Kern County’s growth rate from 2001 to 2011 will average 7.0 percent, the 12th highest rate among metro areas. Fresno ranked 141; Modesto, 208; Stockton, 205; and Sacramento, 181. Kern’s private sector employment grew by 11.4 percent over this period. While Kern ranked eighth among the largest Mark Evans 100 metros in this regard, Fresno ranked 36; Modesto, 74; Stockton, 50; and Sacramento, 77. Despite a 27 percent increase in Kern’s population between 2000 and 2010, income grew sufficiently to increase per capita income by 38 percent, compared to the state average of 27 percent. Median household income increased by 23 percent, the same as for California. Bakersfield’s recovery from the Great Recession also has been relatively strong. The Brookings Institution’s MetroMonitor ranks Bakersfield’s recovery as the 22nd strongest among the 100 largest metros. Fresno ranks 99; Modesto, 93; Stockton,

68; and Sacramento, 92. Our 6.9 percent employment increase is the second largest increase among the top 100: Fresno ranked 82; Modesto, 98; Stockton, 16; and Sacramento, 88. While we are essentially the median city with respect to recovery of Gross Metro Product (rank of 51 out of 100), other valley cities are significantly below the median: Fresno ranked 82; Modesto, 85; Stockton, 98; and Sacramento, 95. Historically, Kern County’s economic performance paralleled the Central Valley’s. We need look no farther than our main economic drivers to explain why mediumterm growth and short-term expansion are outperforming the rest of the valley. GMP originating in the mining/energy sector more than tripled between 2001 and 2009, while ag-related GMP more than doubled. From April 2011 to April 2012, Bakersfield had the largest increase in manufacturing jobs among the top 100 metros (13.7 percent). Rather than being an independent source of strength, this reflects the strength of energy and agriculture. Two-thirds of the job increases were in nondurable manufacturing, which consists primarily of food processing and petroleum products. The Associated General Contractors of America reported that between June 2012 and June 2011, construction employment increased by 23 percent in Kern County – the largest increase in the nation - with

transportation infrastructure, healthcare, and school projects leading the way. Much credit can be given to the influx of federal funding into the Thomas Roads Improvement Program, named after former Congressman Bill Thomas.

Looking ahead Kern County residents share the nation’s trepidation. Cal State Bakersfield reported that after strongly increasing in the fourth quarter of 2011, consumer sentiment has settled at a bearish level. Likewise, the Kern County Business Outlook Index made no further improvement in the second quarter after recent modest gains. As Fed Chairman Bernanke emphasized in his July report to Congress, economic momentum is weakening and there are two main sources of risk: the Euro-area crisis and challenges Congress faces in reining in deficits over the medium term, while taking into account short-term economic fragility. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that a recession will occur in 2013 if Congress is incapable of reaching an agreement to prevent the spending reductions and tax increases scheduled to automatically go into effect. — Mark Evans is a professor and chairman of the Economics Department at Cal State Bakersfield.

From April 2011 to April 2012, Bakersfield had the largest increase in manufacturing jobs among the top 100 metros (13.7 percent). Two-thirds of the job increases were in nondurable manufacturing, which consists primarily of food processing and petroleum products.


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

Local businesses get county contracts By Sandi Formhals

Local vendors are awarded most of Kern County’s routine purchases of goods and services. In the just completed fiscal year, 66.1 percent of all purchase orders issued by the county purchasing agent went to local vendors, totaling nearly $52.5 million. These purchases reflect the county’s recognition that buying local makes economic sense. They also reflect the success of a years-long strategy to encourage local vendors to bid for county contracts. While the county purchases goods and services locally, whenever possible, it is obligated to its citizens and taxpayers to obtain the maximum value for each purchase. It also is bound by state law to conduct procurement in an open, fair and competitive manner. The Kern County Purchasing Division does this by soliciting requests for quotations from all known sources, both local and non-local, and by advertising these bidding opportunities on its public website. To enhance local procurement, in 1996 the Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance that provides a 5 percent preference to local vendors on competitive bids for all goods. In 2010, the Board of Supervisors took this local vendor preference one step further by applying it to bids for all goods and services, except public works projects. The Public Contract Code requires that public works projects in California may only be awarded to the lowest bidder that meets specifications. The county’s local vendor preference applies when the announced low bidder who meets specification is non-local and at least

one local vendor’s bid falls within 5 percent of the low bid and also meets specification. In this situation, every qualifying local vendor who has submitted a bid within 5 percent of the low bid shall have the option to submit a new bid in an amount less than or equal to the low bid. The local vendor whose new bid is lowest receives the contract. A local vendor is any business that: • Has had an office or distribution point located in the county for at least six months prior to the bid. • Employs at least one full-time or two parttime employees who reside in the county, or if the business has no employees, shall be a least 50 percent owned by at least one person who resides in the county. • Will credit all sales tax generated from the sale to its business location in the county. The advantage of buying locally is that county funds spent with local businesses will provide an enhanced economic benefit to the whole county. Purchasing dollars are recirculated within the local economy. Doing so generates taxable transactions, helps to retain and create local jobs, increases local profits, affords greater involvement and charitable contributions by local firms to local organizations, and increases individual disposable income. Local vendors are encouraged to register online at www.co.kern.ca.us. This places vendors in the county’s electronic notification system, which sends an e-mail informing registered vendors of bid opportunities that arise within their commodity listings. ­— Sandi Formhals is Kern County’s purchasing manager.

11


12

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

Business Profile

Worklogic HR

A conversation with Worklogic HR President & CEO Jeff Thorn Q: Jeff, what is Worklogic HR? A: Worklogic HR is an outsourcing,

we do, was a product of necessity. About five years ago, I started to look into technology solutions to help me run my company better and more efficiently. We investigated dozens of products out on the market and concluded that HRIS systems were either chopped up into very specific task modules, or exceptionally large, expensive enterprise systems that did more than the average company required. I realized there was an enormous market of small- and mid-sized firms that were largely underserved by the HRIS industry. These firms needed function and affordability to handle the “everyday” things small businesses face. I decided to create my own. I originally created Worklogic (the name of the HRIS system when we were still ESG republic) to be used internally by my staff to service our clients. After four years of development, we launched our first system to customers this year, while simultaneously rebranding the company to Worklogic HR.

technology and consulting firm with an emphasis and expertise in human resources and related employee administration services. Our clients depend on us for a multitude of business services including HR, payroll, employee benefits, safety and workers’ compensation. We also provide technology solutions and consulting services that streamline and simplify the day-to-day complexities of managing employees, while helping companies operate in compliance with the vast, ever-changing regulations imposed on employers.

Q: Is outsourcing a good thing? A: Absolutely. People outsource all the time, for very good reasons. For example, when was the last time you changed your car’s oil, or printed your own business cards? Often you have someone with the proper expertise and equipment do those tasks for you. Outsourcing is the best thing for people in many situations. It’s logical and makes good business sense.

Q: Why is Worklogic HR successful? A: Every successful business owner

Q: How does Worklogic HR fit that description? A: You will find that the average busi-

should acknowledge the talents and dedication of staff. I’ve been very fortunate to work with bright and hard-working people. And the demand for my company’s services has increased. More rules and regulations exist, especially in California, today than ever. We live in an incredibly litigious state, where businesses are challenged with new laws, administrative burdens and the risks of lawsuits. More and more business owners are starting to recognize the risk pool they’re swimming in, and fear they will drown. There was a time when business was easier. Those days are long gone. My clients, such as Bakersfield’s iconic Luigi’s Restaurant and the Bakersfield Condors, realized that they needed help to “do business right” in today’s business environment. These companies, and hundreds just like them, know that they’re good at driving their businesses, but that they need a mechanic by their side to keep everything in tune.

ness owner got into business because they have a passion for their product or service. They’re good at what they do and believe they have what it takes to start their own business. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, small businesses have a very high failure rate. Oftentimes, these same entrepreneurs have little or no background and understanding of the infinite number of details, risks and complexities of actually being an employer. These include payroll, state and federal employer tax filings, workers’ compensation, employee benefits, wage and hour laws, risk mitigation, insurances, lawsuits, hiring, firing, employment law, unemployment claims, and mountains of paperwork. Every one of these details, if not handled properly, can put you out of business overnight.

Q: What can Worklogic HR do to help? A: While the core services we deliver are pretty easy to define, it’s not a onesize-fits-all delivery model. In general, we operate an economies-of-scale model for our clients, usually serving small- to mid-sized firms that don’t have the necessary resources or expertise to handle everything in a fully compliant and efficient manner. Part of our consultation process with each client involves a fairly comprehensive needs analysis to determine the various “pain points” each customer has so that we can provide the best solutions for them. It could be something as simple as providing payroll services along with our technology products, or as complete as a shared-employer program, whereby we literally share employer responsibilities and liabilities with our clients. In that type of relationship, we actually have skin in the game, with respect to making sure that our clients’ human resources management, workers’ compensation and administration are operating in compliance with the law and as effective and efficiently as possible. We also provide human resource consultations and administration, with no shared liability. Each client is different. They are at different stages in their development and are unique in terms of available internal resources, challenges and pains. No matter what type of relationship we engage, our clients benefit in knowing

that they have a team of experts working for them and their staff, saving them time and money. Our clients have access to professional resources, employee benefits and insurance products that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Our clients tell us that they now have more power to attract and retain top talent. We help them compete and look, in essence, like a “bigger business.” We allow the business to operate more smoothly, focused on growth and its core competencies, while Worklogic HR handles the rest.

Q: How do your clients’ employees benefit? A: Employees want to be treated fairly, work for well-run companies, have access to good pay and benefits, and work in a more stable environment. With our help and guidance, our customers get the training they need, better technology, professional resources and employee benefits that rival Fortune 500 companies. Your average small business just doesn’t typically have that to offer its employees. Whether it’s a well-defined policy, a professionally-written handbook and job description, career training, employment counseling, private online portals to access personal employment data, health benefits or a 401k, employees just sense they’re working for a better company. I think that is because they actually are.

Q: Why did you start Worklogic HR?

A: I was one of those entrepreneurs I described. Several years ago, I owned my own franchise. It was a small commercial and residential service company that I bought. I had big plans to grow it. Trouble was, the minute I started to grow and hire employees, I realized I was in over my head. I was getting so bogged down with administrative duties that I couldn’t sell my services and grow the business. It was a Catch 22. Hiring a person to handle everything wasn’t in the cards financially and continuing to do it myself was killing me and my business. Eventually, I ran across a business that provided miscellaneous human resource services that could take the burden off me for a fraction of the cost of hiring someone. I was hooked. In early 2000, with $25,000 of initial investment, I started Employer Solutions Group, which later became ESG republic. By 2010, we had grown to service nearly 200 clients and 2,000 employees. This year, we’ll exceed $80 million in sales, benefiting roughly 400 clients. We also announced our new name and brand this year to Worklogic HR. That came as a result of blending our new technology solutions into our service model, which better reflects who we are. Q: What are your new technology solutions? A: Our Human Resources Information System (HRIS), like so many other things

Q: What’s next for Worklogic HR? A: Something I’m very thrilled to announce is that we’ve also partnered with David Blaine, a prominent Bakersfield employment law attorney, as well as Katy Raytis and Robin Paggi, who are working directly with Worklogic HR to provide legal consulting and human resource consulting services (Worklogic HR Legal Solutions) to clients throughout the state. And, we have built the “Inspiration Lab” at our corporate office in Bakersfield, where we provide live trainings, monthly lunchand-learn sessions, and seminars to clients and individuals. The Inspiration Lab is a state-of-the-art facility offering a comfortable and relaxed setting using the latest technology to provide live streaming videos and webcasts so that we can continue to offer education and valuable resources to more and more people. Having the in-house legal counsel and Inspiration Lab fundamentally changes, or at least greatly expands, who we are, what we do and how we compete in the marketplace. We want to continue to differentiate ourselves and stand out as a leader and valued resource to our clients. In celebration of the new Worklogic HR brand, the Legal Solutions Division and our new Inspiration Lab, we will be holding an open house Nov. 7. Go to www.worklogicHr. com/events for more information.


OCT/NOV 2012

ice v r e l Sw. l o r ayd out ho P E E ll to fin R F t Ge Ca

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

13

ThinkBigger Taking your small or medium sized business to the next level is easy with Worklogic HR. From the solid foundation of a basic Human Resources Information System to comprehensive co-employment solutions, Worklogic HR helps increase your efficiency and profitability while giving you more time to focus on your core competencies. With a wide choice of affordable, customizable HR management and business administrative solutions, Worklogic HR provides everything your small business needs to become a bigger business.

Human Resources – Benefits Workers’ Compensation Safety – Payroll – Human Resources Information System

800-828-4187

www.worklogicHR.com Locally Owned Since 2000

What These People Know About Human Resources Could Save Your Business. Human Resource management is a critical part of any business. Doing it right can be the difference between success and failure. Attend one or all of these upcoming Human Resources training seminars and learn how to protect your business, develop better employees and create a more productive workplace.

Robin Pagg

MA, SPHR-CA, CPLP, CPC Training Coordinator

Nine Week HR Fundamentals Training Course Every Tuesday, 9-12 noon October 23rd – December 18th November Lunch & Learn: Showing Employee AppreciationŠ November 14th or November 15th, 12 noon -1pm

Katy Raytis

David Blaine

Esq.,Attorney

Esq., SPHR Attorney

October Lunch & Learn: Workplace Violence October 24th or 25th, 12 noon -1pm

Avoiding the Top 20 Employer Pitfalls November 8th, 9-10:30am

Call 661-695-5163 to register or for more information.

4029 Coffee Road • Bakersfield, CA • 661.695.5163 • worklogiclegal.com WorklogicHR Legal Solutions is a division of The Blaine Law Group, PC


14

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

Energy

Hydrogen project hopes to break ground in 2013 By Mark Lerdal

The Hydrogen Energy California project (HECA) has been revitalized, taking another step forward in its goal of generating clean energy for the state’s electric grid, while creating jobs and economic benefits for Kern County. Since its acquisition last year by SCS Energy LLC – one of the nation’s leading independent developers of clean power – proponents of the project have made significant modifications to improve HECA’s design, the economic viability of the project and benefits to Kern County. Because of its importance to the U.S. as an alternative energy project of the future, HECA is co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory. The project is supported, in part, by a $408 million grant that was competitively awarded to HECA in recognition of its importance in addressing the issue of climate change, while providing local and regional benefits. As with the previous design, instead of conventionally burning fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases into the air, HECA will use a unique, state-of-the-art gasification process for converting coal and petroleum coke (a low value by-product of oil refining) into hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2), which will then be separated. The hydrogen will be used as a clean fuel to generate nearly 300 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 160,000 homes. More than 90 percent of the resulting CO2 will be captured and transported to the nearby Elk Hills oil field, where it will be permanently stored and used for enhanced oil recovery, enabling the production of an estimated 6 million additional barrels of in-state domestic oil per year. The combination of these systems allows HECA to prevent more than 3 million tons of greenhouse gases from escaping into the atmosphere per year, the equivalent of eliminating 650,000 cars from the road. This process, known as carbon capture utilization and storage, is an alternative energy solution that is essential for advancing California’s long-term climate strategy and building a low-carbon energy economy. Harvard professor and climate change expert Dan Schrag cites a compelling argument for why carbon capture and storage is such an attractive technology. “Capturing CO2 from existing and new facilities, and keeping it from getting into the atmosphere, is an incredibly important strategy for transitioning this world from a fossil-fuel intensive economy with high emissions to a low-carbon economy,” Schrag told a California Energy Commission proceeding in Sacramento in June.

Revised design HECA’s improved project design will also allow the plant to create 1 million tons of fertilizer a year to meet in-state agricultural needs. Imported fertilizer costs to California have jumped by as much as 25 percent during the past few years, driven largely by transportation costs. This much needed local source of fertilizer will not only support Kern County’s agricultural economy, but also significantly reduce the need for costly foreign imports of this criti-

cal farming necessity. The production of fertilizer adds a tremendous economic advantage. By operating around the clock, HECA can vary the amount of power and fertilizer that is produced, which allows for maximum efficiency and ultimately also makes the

power and the fertilizer more affordable for everyone. When SCS filed its amended application for certification with the California Energy Commission, Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, called HECA “an innovative business model

that improves the economic viability of the project. HECA intends to ramp up the facility to produce more electricity during peak hours of need in order to maximize the energy and capacity value of the plant. This is an example of the kind of creative thinking we will need to solve the climate crisis.” In addition, this flexible power output can support renewable energy sources serving as a low-carbon base load source of electricity, and will become even more important as additional solar and wind are added to the grid in California and the rest of the country. Carbon dioxide injection for enhanced oil recovery has been used successfully in the U.S. for nearly 40 years. However, the HECA project will, for the first time, integrate a number of commercially proven technologies into a single, multi-purpose operation, which makes carbon capture and utilization storage both affordable and practical. Jan Gillespie, a professor in Cal State Bakersfield’s Department of Physics and Geology, and an expert in identifying fields for enhanced oil recovery, says that Elk Hills is “one of the best in the country for this activity.” “Kern County is the epicenter of oil production in Southern California and for producing and storing gas underground. I like the idea of using a product that would otherwise be considered waste and putting it to good use,” Gillespie said. Since its inception, HECA has been acknowledged as a safe, efficient and cost-effective way to produce clean energy. HECA will be designed, constructed and operated to meet or exceed the most stringent local, state and federal environmental, safety and health standards, including all San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District requirements. Continued on page 15


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

15

October and November chamber events Two Bakersfield-based chambers of commerce organizations have scheduled member and community events during the months of October and November.

Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce announced several events have been scheduled during October and November. These events include:

Continued from page 14

Proposed Hydrogen Energy California project Brackish Water Source e Bu edu ct

Vi sta W

58

St Buttonwillow ora 5 ge Di st STOCKDALE HWY ric t ADOHR RD

Proposed project site

Tule Elk Reserve State Park

Tupman Elk Hills Oil Field

Detail area

N 58

er at

ni aA qu

na

33

r fo

— Mark Lerdal is president of Hydrogen Energy California LLC.

li Ca

Overall, HECA represents a $5 billion investment in California’s infrastructure and construction industries, including the $3.9 billion HECA facility and millions of dollars in new tax revenue to the state and county for the life of the facility. During nearly four years of construction, HECA will create thousands of high quality jobs in Kern County and the region, as well as approximately 200 full-time permanent jobs when completed. When fully operational, it will generate $52 million in annual labor income and $239 million in total annual economic impact to Kern County. HECA recently entered into a project labor agreement (PLA) with local and state building and construction trade councils, which will benefit thousands of local workers and returning military veterans, ensure the highest quality of craftsmanship, and strengthen the regional economy. “The men and women of the building trades are eager to get to work,” says Bob Balgenorth, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. “This is an important project not just for Kern County and California, but it is a model for the rest of the country and the world. It shows that we can provide a reliable source of energy, lower our carbon footprint, grow our economy and create good jobs.” HECA’s environmental benefits are just as impressive. In addition to preventing the release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, HECA will preserve California’s valuable fresh water resources and improve local clean groundwater availability by using brackish, non-potable water and eliminating waste water discharge. Bakersfield Mayor Harvey L. Hall recently praised the project’s potential for being able to provide citizens with an outstanding alternative source of power.

7TH STANDARD RD

PG&E Midway Substation

Bakersfield

CO2 injection location

K

Project benefits

e rn

Source: Hydrogen Energy California (HECA)

er Riv

PG&E/ So Cal Gas 119

Kern County

43

2 MILES THE CALIFORNIAN

HECA at-a-glance • Located about 7 miles west of Bakersfield, near the town of Tupman in western Kern County. • An integrated gasification combined cycle power plant that plans to manufacture hydrogen to generate 300 megawatts of electricity and to produce low-carbon nitrogen-based products, such as fertilizer. • A gasification technology would be used to convert coal and petroleum coke to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen-rich syngas fuel would be used to generate electricity and produce urea in liquid and pellet form, and other products for agricultural and manufacturing uses.

Oct. 16 -- 2012 Oil & Gas Conference, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center. Oct. 25 -- 2012 Bakersfield Business Expo, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., in the Rabobank Convention Center. Nov. 13 -- Labor and Employment Law Forum, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., in the chamber office. Nov. 15 -- Chamber Mixer, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Coconut Joe’s, 4158 California Ave. For additional information about these events, go to the chamber’s website www.bakersfieldchamber.org

• The proposed plant would capture about 90 percent of the carbon dioxide produced from the gasification process and transport it for use at the adjacent Elk Hills oil field for enhanced oil recovery and sequestration.

Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

• The Hydrogen Energy California Project (HECA) originally was proposed in 2008 by Hydrogen Energy International LLC. In 2011, SCS Energy California LLC acquired 100 percent ownership of HECA, redesigned some aspects of the project and submitted an amended application for certification in May 2012.

Oct. 10 – Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting at 4 p.m. for Worklogic HR, at 4029 Coffee Road.

• If regulatory agencies approved the project, HECA proponents anticipate beginning construction of the plant in August 2013. Operation would begin in September 2017.

Oct. 10 – Business Networking Mixer hosted by Wells Fargo, from 5:30 pm. to 7:30 p.m., at the Wells Fargo downtown location, 1300 22nd St. For more information contact 633-5495.

Source: Excerpted from information provided by Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) and the California Energy Commission.

HECA hearings, reviews scheduled The California Energy Commission has the jurisdiction to license the Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) plant proposed for construction in western Kern County, near the town of Tupman. The CEC is evaluating details of the proposal and will conduct hearings as part of its power plant licensing process, which incorporates requirements equivalent to those of the California Environmental Quality Act. Engineering and environmental aspects of the proposal will be considered. The state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources will separately consider issuing a permit associated with the injection of carbon dioxide produced from the plant’s gasification process into a nearby oil field. The CEC preliminary staff assess-

Oct. 9 -- Online Freebies and Tools, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the chamber office, 1725 Eye St.

ment and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s findings are expected to be filed in late October, with workshops scheduled in November. The deadline for commenting on the preliminary staff assessment of the HECA proposal is Nov. 28, with a final staff assessment and environmental impact assessment expected to be filed in January. Information about the project and regulatory procedure can be found on the CEC website at www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/hydrogen_energy People interested in being notified of project events and filings can sign up at the website address. Additional assistance can be obtained from the CEC public adviser. Email PublicAdviser@energy.ca.gov HECA also has established an informa-

tion center at 189 E. Front St., Buttonwillow, which is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 661-764-6442. “We believe community awareness and involvement is essential to the project’s progress during the regulatory permitting process,” said Mark Lerdal, HECA president. Jim Croyle, chief executive officer of SCS Energy, has said public discourse and pushback is an expected and even welcome part of the process to get projects like this approved. To that end, the company has held informational workshops and hearings to provide opportunities for people to obtain information, view the project site and offer comments. — Kern Business Journal

Oct. 24 – Free business seminar, “Moving on Up,” hosted by KCHCC, Brown Armstrong and law office of Jose A. Guerrero, at Brown Armstrong Public Accountants, 4200 Truxtun Ave., Suite 300, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. RSVP to info@bacpas.com or call Art at 324-4971. Nov. 14 – Business networking mixer hosted by Double Tree Hotel, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Double Tree Hotel, 3100 Camino Del Rio Court. For more information about the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and events, go to the website www.KCHCC.org. Chambers of commerce in outlying areas of the county are invited to submit calendar events to the Kern Business Journal at editor@kernbusinessjournal.com.


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

16

OCT/NOV 2012

In the Oil Patch

Kern’s oil industry reach felt around the world Chad Hathaway founded Bakersfieldbased Hathaway LLC in 2001. The company acquires and develops oil and gas properties that still contain an economically recoverable amount of reserves. In 2005, he founded Payzone Directional Services in Bakersfield. Payzone provides directional oil and gas drilling services to oil companies in the western United States. Hathaway LLC and Payzone Directional Services are included in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing privately-held companies in the U.S. In the Energy Sector, both companies ranked in the top 100. Chad Hathaway is the fourth generation of the Hathaway family to enter into the oil industry. The Hathaway family has been in the oil business since the early 1900s, making their start in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. He serves on the board of the California Independent Producers Association (CIPA). “In the Oil Patch” is a regular Kern Business Journal feature that asks local industry leaders to comment on developments in Kern County’s oil fields.

Q: Why did you pursue a career in oil exploration and production? The oil and gas business has fascinated me since I was a young child. Throughout my life some of the most memorable moments were in the oil fields of Kern and Los Angeles counties with my father and grandfather. I always looked up to the way they were able to survive though very difficult economic times and many years of low oil prices. Our family business was sold almost

high forever. But as long as it does, we will continue to re-invest in Kern County. I also feel those of us positioned to ride the next several years of volatile oil and gas prices will be well positioned for the next generation of energy needs.

Q: What single development or innovation has greatly impacted or improved the oil industry in Kern County?

Photo by John Harte

Chad Hathaway is the founder of a rapidly-growing Bakersfield-based oil company.

10 years ago. My father is happily retired and my venture into the business was not at his urging, by any means. I started my oil and gas company because I felt I had what it took to be successful utilizing the principles of efficiency and sound financial planning. I truly enjoy the challenges I face daily and am stimulated by them. Lastly, I wholeheartedly believe what I do is very important to our country. Without access to affordable energy our nation as we know it will come to a screeching halt.

Q: Why are you personally optimistic about the oil industry in Kern County? I love Kern County and feel we have a community that supports our industry extremely well. The political climate also understands our plight and that’s very important to an industry often misunderstood and over-regulated. They understand how important the high-paying jobs, tax revenue and community support our industry provides are. I don’t believe the price of oil will stay

I believe steam enhanced oil recovery (EOR) made the largest impact on the Kern County oil industry. A majority of our oil and gas fields are heavy oil fields. The oil is exceptionally thick and does not move to the wellbore very well unless heat is applied to it in order to lower its viscosity. Steam heats the oil and drops its viscosity to a point where it is mobile enough to enter the wellbore and subsequently be pulled out. Until the application of steam was perfected, many of these larger oil and gas fields were in a state of serious decline and borderline economical to produce. Steam enabled several of these fields to come back to life and recover incredibly high percentages of the original oil that was in place. It’s extended the lives of these fields by decades. Another byproduct of the application of steam in Kern County was the amount of very talented thermal EOR engineers who have learned and perfected the trade here. Many of them have also become pioneers in several of the world’s newly emerging heavy oil steam EOR fields.

0912

Robert Morris

Brian Sabin

Carolyn Cordrey

Michael O’Doherty

Scott Begin

Jesse Valencia

Charles Gray

John Tait

SVP, Credit Administrator

VP, Manager

AVP, Relationship Manager

VP, Relationship Manager

VP, Manager

AVP, Relationship Manager

VP, Relationship Manager

SVP, Regional Manager

4600 California Avenue 93309 | 661-281-0325 1301 17th Street 93301 | 661-281-0300 9100 Ming Avenue (Suite 120) 93311 | 661-663-8663 3911 Coffee Road 93308 | 661-589-9040


OCT/NOV 2012

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

17

Investing in environmental solutions for stronger communities At Wells Fargo, we believe when our communities do well, we do well. We recognize that our environmental impact goes beyond how we operate. As a financial services company, we can influence positive change by strengthening our environmental leadership in three focus areas: Encouraging stronger communities: Where we live 



Wells Fargo Environmental Grant Program — giving $100 million in grants and increasing volunteerism by 2020 to support the environmental work of nonprofits, and providing Wells Fargo team members an opportunity to improve their communities Financing for community projects — increasing lending and investments to community projects with environmental benefits

Accelerating a “greener” economy: Where we do business 





Environmental financing — providing $30 billion of financing by 2020 to environmentally beneficial business opportunities Environmental and social risk management — promoting responsible ways of doing business together with our business customers Customer engagement — increasing customer education and engagement on cost-saving environmental opportunities, with a focus on paper reduction and residential energy efficiency

Reducing the environmental impact of our operations: Where we work 

Environmental performance of our operations — increasing economic efficiency and environmental performance of our operations 2020 goals include: • 35% of our leased and owned buildings LEED® certified • 65% recycling rate • 40% increase in energy efficiency • 35% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions





Supply chain relationships — working with our suppliers to achieve greater transparency, as well as improved environmental and social performance Team member engagement — creating a culture of sustainability at Wells Fargo by increasing team member environmental stewardship in our communities, at work, and in our daily lives

To learn how Wells Fargo can support your business contact: Ben Hanson, Senior Vice President, Regional Managerbhanson@wellsfargo.com or 661-637-2605

In approaching our responsibility, we seek to ensure that as we do business, natural resources are protected, and environmental, social, and economic needs are part of our everyday decisions. In this integrated approach to sustainability, we are committed to finding new ways to minimize our energy consumption, address climate change, use renewable sources of energy, and inspire others to do the same so that, together, we can leave our planet healthy for future generations. Contact us wellsfargo.com/environment  blog.wellsfargo.com/environment  environmental.affairs@wellsfargo.com 

Together we’ll go far © 2012 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. ECG-713449


18

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

Wind energy blows strong, despite political uncertainty By Linda Parker and Peter Kelley

Kern County has a rich history of utilizing wind energy. Kern County was one of the first area’s to develop utility-scale wind farms in the early 1980s and California, until 2000, had more wind energy installed than the rest of the country combined. Today, California ranks third nationally in overall wind installation, behind Texas and Iowa. Kern County made a major contribution to California reaching a milestone this year, with wind energy growing to provide 5 percent of the state’s total electrical needs. Since 2002, wind capacity in California has more than doubled and has accounted for 80 percent of renewable energy capacity built to meet the State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) through 2011. The $5 billion investment companies have made, so far, in Kern County to develop wind energy projects is a boon for cleaner air and greener energy, and also for creating jobs and retooling manufacturing here and across the country. In California, of the 921 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity built in 2011, almost 700 MW of added capacity came from the Kern County Wind Resource Area (KCWRA), with large new projects also installed in Solano, Contra Costa and Riverside counties. This year will see even more growth, with several additional projects slated for Kern County’s Wind Resource Area. This will create jobs, support public works and boost local economic activity. This year, wind energy will generate more than 3,000 jobs in Kern County – including direct jobs in construction, operations and maintenance, and indirect jobs that support business-to-business investment. The Kern County wind industry will pump $60 million in annual property tax revenues into our local economy. The wind turbines that have transformed economies, such as Kern County’s, with jobs, lease payments and local taxes remain popular with Americans. Over 80 percent of people surveyed regularly tell pollsters they want more wind power. Utilities have locked in favorable long-term electric rates, as the cost of windgenerated electricity has dropped with taller towers and longer, carbon-reinforced blades. Natural gas prices may temporarily be at historic lows, but electricity from new wind farms now costs less than half as much as from new coal-fired plants. The International Energy Agency reported in June that wind energy’s cost is expected to continue to fall. And wind farms produce stably-priced, low-cost power for 20 years or longer. That protects ratepayers against fuel price volatility in the same way a long-term, fixed-rate mortgage protects homebuyers. It will help California meet its 33 percent renewable energy standard at a price we can afford. And along with other sources, such as solar and geothermal power, it will ensure we will never run out of energy. In 1992, Congress first approved a federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) to help foster the development of clean, affordable renewable energy projects, such as wind power. Since passage of the PTC, the wind industry has been able to lower the cost of wind power by more than 90 percent, provide power to the equivalent of over 12 million American homes, and foster development in all 50 states.

Photo courtesy of the Kern Wind Energy Association

Wind energy projects line the mountainsides, canyons and desert floor in eastern Kern County.

Photo courtesy of the Kern Wind Energy Association

Wind turbine on site and ready for assmebly.

But America faces a steep drop in wind power installations next year because of continued uncertainty over what Congress will do about this key piece of tax policy during its post-election, lame duck session. The tax credit reduces the price of wind power by 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour delivered to consumers. It has helped American wind power keep growing in the face of 90 years of permanent policies that favor competing forms of energy. It more than pays for itself just in local, state and federal tax payments, besides the advantages of making clean power with no fuel. This key tax credit has been repeatedly extended since 2004, but it expires at the end of the year and Congress, so far, has failed to act on an extension. The resulting uncertain business climate already has driven down projected U.S. wind farm installations for 2013 by more than three-quarters, versus this year’s bumper crop. The thousands of companies that make U.S. wind energy components and install them – fueling the U.S. economy with up to $20 billion a year of private investment – have been through this boom-bust cycle before.

This time, however, is different because of the larger scale of the industry that puts 37,000 U.S. jobs at risk within the next few months. And, many of those jobs are now in manufacturing, as made-in-the-U.S.A. content in wind turbines has skyrocketed from 25 percent in 2005 to nearly 70 percent today. Wind supporters are encouraged by the strong bipartisan support for keeping those jobs and expanding homegrown energy sources – under an “all-of-the-above” approach to keeping America powered up. Sixteen Republican freshmen in Congress, including some elected with Tea Party support, recently wrote House leaders to urge the PTC be extended as soon as possible to avoid imminent layoffs and plant closures. The recipients included House Speaker John Boehner and Bakersfield’s own Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Whip. A bill to extend the PTC for four years has been cosponsored by 25 House Republicans, most recently by California’s Brian Bilbray of Imperial Beach, a member of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee. The long-term business fundamentals for wind energy remain strong, despite the

uncertainty over policies in Washington. Wind now installs more new electrical generating capacity than any source, other than natural gas. And gas prices historically have been the most volatile. Within five years the market for U.S. gas is expected to expand overseas, as ports are refitted for export of more liquid natural gas (LNG). So far, the U.S. is ahead of schedule to get 20 percent of its electricity nationwide from wind turbines by the year 2030 – as the George W. Bush administration projected. A diverse portfolio of energy sources favors utilities and consumers. Kern County’s wind industry will remain an important part of that, today and in the future. For more information about the wind industry and how Americans can get involved in supporting its development, go to www.PowerofWind.com. Kern County’s substantial wind resources and supportive clean energy policies lay the foundation for a promising future for wind. But wind’s ability to deliver on this promise depends in large part on decisions that will be made by California and federal policymakers in the coming months. Congress must craft a sensible renewable energy policy that provides a stable business climate for the renewable energy development process. With the failure so far to extend tax relief for wind power beyond this year, several promising wind energy projects are not likely to come to fruition in 2013, resulting in lost jobs, local tax dollars and lost clean energy from wind generation. The Kern County wind industry is committed to making increased wind generation here a reality. The power of wind is too important to Kern County’s economy, job creation and our own energy independence to let this opportunity pass by. — Linda Parker is executive director of the Kern Wind Energy Association in Kern County. Peter Kelley is vice president of public affairs for the American Wind Energy Association in Washington, D.C.


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

19

College district meeting industries’ demand for workers By Michele Bresso

Hundreds of employees are on the job at more than 60 companies in Kern County and across the nation thanks to the training programs of the Kern Community College District Clean Energy Center. The Clean Energy Center is designed to meet alternative energy industry needs for skilled workers in wind energy, solar energy and the utility industry. The training program is a “bargain” for workers. Valued at $10,000 per person, training is provided free to participants through a U.S. Department of Labor grant. More than 400 workers have finished the program since its inception in 2010, said Bob Johnson, Kern Community College District clean energy training manager. Participants complete up to 740 hours of instruction in 22 weeks of hands-on training in three programs: PowerTech, WindTech and SolarTech. The PowerTech training program offers instruction in basic electricity, industrial mathematics, working with specialized tools, teamwork and communication. Once trainees complete the PowerTech course, they may seek employment or continue training in solar or wind energy. The WindTech course trains participants for entry-level positions as wind turbine technicians. Training includes an introduction to wind technologies, electronics and troubleshooting, industry environmental awareness, turbine mechanics and controls, and generators and gear boxes. The SolarTech course prepares trainees for building, installing, operating and maintaining solar systems for utility-scale, commercial and residential applications. Instruction includes an introduction to solar photovoltaics, safety, electronics and troubleshooting. Johnson said the Kern Community College District Clean Energy Center provides work-ready employees with both hard and soft skills that meet employers’ demands. The program’s success is measured in its ratio of hired workers. According to Johnson, 80 percent of program participants find employment after completing their training. “We treat trainees as if they’re already on the job,” Johnson said. “Students wear their safety gear, show up for training on time, and learn how to be good employees. If they miss more than three days, they’re out of the

program.” The realistic training pays dividends for employers, according to Tina Genel, trade recruiter for CLP Resources Inc., a nationwide skilled trades staffing company headquartered in Reno, Nev., with an office in Bakersfield. Genel said that the Kern Community College District Clean Energy Center program provides the training her employer clients are looking for. “As a recruiter, I need people that can go into the work environment with both education and knowledge. The Clean Energy Center program has the tools, the teachers, the facility and the training program to meet the needs of employers. I will continue to use and network with this training program.” The Clean Energy Center holds orientation sessions on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. in the center, located at 2100 Chester Ave., Bakersfield. Orientation is followed up with intake processes that ensure employers get a solid workforce. Potential trainees complete WorkKeys testing, a computerized, performance-based assessment of real-world skills. The test includes reading comprehension, assessment of test takers’ ability to locate information on charts and graphs, as well as basic and applied math. Of those who pass this series of tests, half are selected for the program through a lottery system, a requirement of the Department of Labor funding. Drug testing is also a part of the intake process. Employers taking advantage of this ready workforce run the gamut. Alternative energy employers like EDF Renewable Energy, Terra-Gen and Sunpower Corp. have hired Clean Energy Center trainees. Utility companies, such as PG&E and Southern California Edison, are program supporters. Other businesses, including Chevron, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Home Depot, Mojave Pipeline Company and Rain for Rent, are benefitting from the program by hiring trainees who graduate with a marketable skill set and the desire to put those skills to use. The Clean Energy Center training is an example of how the Kern Community College District and its three colleges — Bakersfield College, Cerro Coso Community College and Porterville College — meet their missions in the communities they serve. “We are responsive to businesses’ training needs. Whether it’s the cutting edge of clean energy, nursing and emergency medical fields, or engineering and science-based

Taft College closing learning gap in scientific fields By Val Garcia

The nationwide shortage of students graduating in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is hindering economic recovery and business growth, including in the Central Valley. With millions unemployed across the nation, this skills gap in STEM fields is alarming. Taft College, located in western Kern County, serves many regional industry sectors, including energy, petroleum, agriculture, aerospace, biotechnology and food processing. Several years ago, a small group of Taft College faculty and staff identified a need to strengthen the college’s STEM curriculum and improve linkages between secondary and postsecondary institutions, and industry and labor. “The college believed these steps would facilitate more transfer and degree attainment for students, while addressing the needs of regional employers looking for skilled, high tech

Photo courtesy of the American Wind Energy Association

A student participates in a rope tower climbing exercise at Airstreams Renewables.

Program at-a-glance Trainees enrolled in Kern Community College District’s Clean Energy Center can chose from the following training programs: PowerTech -- Foundation training for entry-level positions with utilities and utility contractors. Training includes: basic electricity; industrial mathematics; working with specialized tools; teamwork; and communication. Certificates received include: OSHA 10 card; Hazwoper; First Aid; and CPR. WindTech -- Prepares participants for positions as entry-level wind turbine technicians who operate, install and commission wind turbines. Instruction includes: introduction to wind technolo-

training, our mission is to listen to industry and provide students the competencies that match those demands,” said Kern Community College District Chancellor Sandra Serrano. For information about the Kern Community College District Clean Energy Center

employees,” said Dena Maloney, Taft College’s superintendent-president. “The results are impressive.” During the past five years, Taft College has provided multiple career and degree pathways in STEM-related fields to the communities in western Kern County. The college received over $16 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Education to support this educational initiative. These funds have provided seed money for a variety of new academic programs in science, engineering, math and technology. In addition, the college partnered with industry to provide financial and technical support for these new opportunities. To date, these partnerships have led to over $300,000 in private contributions to the college’s STEM effort. Maloney noted that a highlight of the college’s effort is the Taft College K-12 STEM Outreach Program, which is a partnership that includes school districts, educators and corporate partners, all working toward improving student interest and fluency in technical fields. The K-12 STEM program is an extension of a national initiative to support student success in two-year, and fouryear degree programs, certificate programs in technology, math, science and engineering. Teacher training is also part of this national program. Data from the 2010-2011 academic year indicated K-12 STEM program participants demonstrated a higher level of achievement as measured by grade point average and scores

gies; electronics and troubleshooting; industry environmental awareness; turbine mechanical; generators and gear boxes; turbine controls; wind industry specific tools; tower rescue; principles of lubrication; and E-learning through Amatrol.com. Certificates received include: Torque; Lubrication; and Tractel Height Safety and Rescue. SolarTech -- Prepares participants for positions that require building, installing, operating and maintaining solar systems for utility-scale, commercial and residential applications. Training includes: solar photovoltaic basics; solar electronics and troubleshooting; safety; and specialized tools for solar trade. Certification received include: Trainees will be prepared to take the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) entry-level examination.

training program or about hiring program participants, visit the website at www.thecleanenergycenter.com or call 661-336-5058. — Michele Bresso is the Kern Community College District’s associate vice chancellor of government and external relations.

for the California Standards Tests in English language arts and math. And in a time when student interest in school is a concern for educators, parents and businesses alike, the STEM students had about half the absences of other non-STEM students in the same schools. The impact of this educational program does not stop in the classroom. Analysis of the performance of the first group of STEM students, who are now sophomores in high school, reveal that they formed their own STEM Club, appointing club leaders. “Leadership skills, such as these, are increasingly important in the workforce,” said Maloney. “Imagine these students bringing these technical and leadership skills to your business!” To date, the K-12 STEM program at Taft College has provided an estimated 10,000 hours of education and programming to more than 400 students in western Kern County. The K-12 STEM program works to fulfill a major goal of Taft College: To engage the community, at all levels, in order to support the long-term educational, social and economic development of West Kern. — Val Garcia is Taft College’s assistant dean of instruction. For more information about the STEM program, call 661-763-7945.


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

20

Tehachapi firm trains workers By Bill Deaver

A Tehachapi firm has created a viable business, training people for jobs in the county’s booming renewable energy industry. Jeff Duff, president and chief operating officer of Airstreams Renewables, recently briefed East Kern Economic Alliance members on his firm’s development of the first accredited curriculum for training wind energy industry employees. “We try to provide the highest quality training to our students,” Duff said. Training focuses on safety and preparing students for careers in the industry. Ninety percent of Airstreams’ students are military veterans and an increasing number are women veterans. “We have one or two women veterans in each class and they are gung ho!” Duff said. “Veterans and people who have worked in agriculture are good prospects for these jobs. They know how to get things done!” Duff said the firm is expanding into larger quarters and is providing training services for other industries, including Ikon Aircraft of Tehachapi, which has developed an amphibious sport aircraft it plans to manufacture. “We’re also expanding our services into Texas,” which has a major wind energy industry, said Duff. Welders are in high demand for Kern County’s renewable energy and petroleum industries, Duff said. “Welding is the number one job in Kern County right now.” Although the company was created to train employees for renewable energy, Duff said “40 percent of our graduates” find work in Kern’s oil industry, one of the largest in the nation. The city of Tehachapi’s efforts to attract industry have resulted in increased business for Airstreams. “We train 40 people each month,” Duff said. Duff estimates that Airstreams is making a $1.2 million impact on the Tehachapi economy. Some of that economic impact is from students who come from throughout the U.S. and live in the city while attending classes. In addition to local motels and other housing, Airstreams owns four homes the company rents to students who need a place to live during their training. “Students fly in from all over the U.S.,” Duff said, adding that students don’t just receive training, they get jobs. He contended the company, which offers years-long, ongoing placement assistance, has “an 88 percent job placement rate.” In addition to Airstreams, Paulette Rush of the Kern Economic Development Corp., said the Tehachapi High School has an engineering and manufacturing academy -- “THEMA” (Tehachapi High Engineering and Manufacturing Academy) -- that trains students for careers in industry. “My son just graduated from it,” said Rush, noting that the Kern Community College District also offers training for renewable energy careers. The Kern County Regional Occupational Program based in Mojave works with local high schools, employers, and the county’s Career Service Center in Mojave to offer training for careers at area businesses and industries. The center works with employers to develop training tailored for their specific needs and often uses instructors from the business requesting training. The East Kern Economic Alliance was formed to attract new jobs and help retain existing industries in the region. The group works closely with the Kern Economic Development Corp. and the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance to promote Eastern Kern as a good place to do business. — Bill Deaver is chairman of the East Kern Economic Alliance.

OCT/NOV 2012

Radar response to bird-turbine collision

Photo courtesy of the Kern Wind Energy Association

The rays from a setting sun burst through the blades of wind turbines in eastern Kern County.

By Dianne Hardisty

Adam Kelly says his wife calls him a “geek biologist.” An expert in avian behavior, Kelly has combined his “bird man” knowledge with advanced radar technology to seek an important balance: protecting endangered bird species, while allowing Kern County’s renewable energy industry to develop and prosper. The chief technology officer of Florida-based DeTect Inc., Kelly and company scientists are working with Kern County wind energy developers to keep the endangered California condors and other “protected” species, such as golden eagles, from flying into spinning turbine blades. “We can’t eliminate all bird strikes,” said Kelly during a recent interview. But the goal is to give developers the information they need to find suitable locations for their wind projects. DeTect radar monitoring may also continue after construction. Information about bird behavior is critical for Kern’s booming wind energy industry. With the success of decadeslong efforts to restore the endangered condor population, the bird is expanding its habitat. The 20-pound bird, which has a wing span of more than nine feet, is soaring closer to wind energy areas. Wildlife officials may issue permits for “incidental takes,” or deaths, resulting from some birds colliding with turbines. But no such permit is issued for condors. In fact, a condor death from such a collision could result in criminal charges. A single death “would be a major disaster,” Mark Tholke, an executive with Tehachapi developer EDF Renewable Energy, told Forbes magazine in January. EDF Vice Chairman Jim Walker, who Forbes identified as a longtime industry leader in efforts to reduce wind farms’ impact on birds, was quoted by the magazine as noting that the wind energy boom and the restoration of the condor population “is about two big successes …. It’s our responsibility on the wind-industry side to let these two coexist.” And that is the focus of extensive research, including the work being done by DeTect. Founded in 2003 by a group of biologists, DeTect advises a variety of companies and public agencies, including the U.S. Air Force and NASA. A collision between a space shuttle and a turkey vulture in 2005 resulted in NASA hiring DeTect to set up radar equipment and monitor avian activity around launch sites during more than 20 subsequent launches. For the Air Force, the company operates the U.S. Avian Hazard Advisory System (www.usahas.com) which monitors bird movement and issues collision alerts in flight corridors.

Photo courtesy of Dianne Hardisty

De-Tect Inc. avian expert Adam Kelly stands in front of a screen showing bird activity around a wind park in Spain.

While the system has not prevented all collisions, Kelly said the Air Force rate has gone from one collision between a bird and an aircraft every 18 months to one in every three years. Last year, DeTect began receiving calls from Tehachapi developers concerned that condors were expanding their range into wind farm areas. The company already had deployed radar systems on the Texas coast, where wind parks were being developed and opponents predicted millions of birds would be killed. Kelly said monitoring in that area revealed the birds were flying at elevations far above the turbines and mostly passing through unharmed. That information, combined with adaptive management strategies, such as temporarily shutting down selected turbines, minimize losses. The same results have been realized in Spain, where DeTect monitors bird migration and advises wind park operators. DeTect’s radar systems are among the many preventative measures being developed by researchers to protect wildlife. “The stakes are high for both sides,” Ashleigh Blackford, senior wildlife biologist for renewable energy at the Fish & Wildlife Service in Sacramento, told Forbes. — Dianne Hardisty edits the Kern Business Journal.


OCT/NOV 2012

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

The right choice for good health Your experience...

Choosing your doctor

With some health plans...

21

Kaiser Permanente is uniquely structured to give you everything you need–all together in one easy-to-use package. See how having the right partner can make all the difference... With Kaiser Permanente...*

Pick from a list of names, often based on nothing more than if he or she accepts your insurance.

We help walk you through the process of becoming a new member, including choosing a doctor who’s right for you. You can even view all our doctors’ profiles online.

Call. Get placed on hold. Call back. Seeing your doctor starts to seem like trying to win a radio contest.

Schedule or cancel routine appointments with your doctor - by phone, online, or from your mobile device.

Your doctor flips through a file full of papers, asking things you’ve already answered or can’t remember.

Your doctor, backed by a secure, innovative electronic health record system, is up to speed and ready to take care of you.

You drive all over town to take lab tests, get X-rays, or fill prescriptions. You’ve spent half your day in the car.

At all our Kern County locations, your doctor, lab services, X-rays, and pharmacy are under the same roof, so you can save time and do more in one visit.

Show up with your fingers crossed that your primary care doctor faxed or mailed your records.

When you arrive, your specialist will have your health information right at his or her fingertips, making your care virtually seamless.

Remembering your doctor’s instructions

Take lots of notes during your visit, listen carefully and trust your memory later.

You get a printed summary report at the end of each visit. You can also view details of your visits online whenever you want, including most test results.

Asking routine questions without a visit

Call your doctor’s office. Leave a message. Hope you don’t miss the return phone call.

Email your doctor’s office, and get a reply normally within 48 hours.

Making an appointment

During your visit

Getting other services

Visiting a specialist

Along with getting excellent care, as a Kaiser Permanente member, you have access to lots of preventive health resources like classes, wellness coaching, and more. (Some classes may require a fee.) To learn all about the many benefits of membership, visit kp.org/thrive or call 661-334-2005. *These features are available when you receive care at Kaiser Permanente facilities.


22

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

Valley Republic Bank adds branch For southwest Bakersfield businesses and women, persevered through these difficult professional clients, neighborhood banking times to get the new bank chartered. Valley is now just around the corner. This summer, Republic Bank is the last start-up bank to be Valley Republic Bank opened the doors of a approved in the western United States. new branch in one of the southwest’s premier With a shared commitment to service and neighborhood shopping areas. relationship-based banking, Valley RepubThe 2,700-square-foot office will serve lic opened its California Avenue branch in customers from Valley Republic Bank’s secFebruary 2009, with $25-million in capital. ond location in the Grand Island Village CenThe bank has since flourished and the second ter, at the corner of Ming Avenue and Buena quarter 2012 financials show record earnVista Road. The bank’s main ings and total assets approaching office is located at 5000 Cali$300-million. fornia Ave. The full-service “We stimulate the local branch office includes a driveeconomy by redeploying local up window and is staffed with deposits into loans for local busiveteran employees. ness, which allows them to grow “Its close proximity to and create more jobs,” said Jay, our current customers’ homes who is quick to place the bank’s and businesses made it a success in the hands of good timnatural choice,” said Valley ing and strong leadership. Republic Bank’s President “Our expansion plans were Bruce Jay and CEO Bruce Jay, who based on a detailed and compreadded that “providing our hensive strategic plan,” said Jay, customers uncommon service with a local noting that after a few years of record-setting flavor in a most convenient, professional set- growth, Valley Republic Bank’s board and ting is what we do. This branch is one more management felt the opening of the second example of that commitment.” branch at Grand Island was needed. Valley Republic Bank was conceived in Its financial strength recently earned the years preceding one of the worst financial Valley Republic Bank a spot on the MSNcrises in American history. The bank’s found- Money.com list of “The 359 Safest Banks in ers applied for a new charter in December the United States.” The bank joins just 15 2007. A few months later, many financial other California banks that achieved a zero institutions and the national economy nearly “Texas Ratio Score.” The score was initially collapsed. developed to predict possible future bank The bank’s local board of directors, failures based on a ratio related to “bad” which is comprised of successful and wellloans. A score of zero means a bank has no respected Kern County business men and “bad” loans. The bank was the only financial

Photo courtesy of the Valley Republic Bank

Bakersfield-based Valley Republic Bank has opened a branch in southwest Bakersfield, at the corner of Ming Avenue and Buena Vista Road.

institution located between Los Angeles and Sacramento to receive the recognition. Eugene (Gene) Voiland, chairman of Valley Republic Bank’s board, credits the strong entrepreneurial spirit of the bank’s clients for its ongoing success. “When one of our customers walks through our doors with a sound, wellprepared business plan, they know we can

help fund them in weeks, rather than months. Community banks represent roughly a third of the banking industry, yet we’re responsible for more than 60 percent of all loans to small businesses,” said Voiland, adding that he is a firm believer that this practice will fuel economic growth and recovery in Kern County. — Kern Business Journal


OCT/NOV 2012

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

23

Courthouse features energy-saving innovations By Steve McConnell and Matthew Somerton

From small towns to urban centers, the nation’s courts serve the pursuit of justice across the land. As architects, we believe federal courthouses reflect societal values and are a vital part of the built environment. This summer, we welcomed a new U.S. Courthouse to Bakersfield. Designed under the federal General Services Administration Design Excellence Program, the building provides Kern County with a modern justice facility that invites public access through a distinct portico and reflects civic values of quality and stewardship. The building also addresses energy conservation and is expected to achieve LEED Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council. The sustainability strategy developed for the courthouse marries modern technology and lessons from pre-modern “best practices” for buildings in hot climates. This high-tech/low-tech approach allows for public spaces and workspaces that maximize human comfort while dramatically reducing the amount of resources required to operate the building. In the end, this design approach enables the building to reduce energy consumption by 45 percent relative to a comparable new building. The low-tech, or “passive,” performance aspects of the design arise from simple goals: stop solar heat gain from entering the building to minimize mechanical cooling, provide ample daylight to reduce the need for electric lighting, and do all this through spaces and forms that elevate comfort and experience. A key innovation in this effort is a pro-

Photo courtesy of NBBJ

Lights from the new U.S. Courthouse in downtown Bakersfield reflect on the water of the city’s Central Park at Mill Creek.

gressive use of tilt-up concrete, a relatively low-tech construction method adapted and crafted through a collaborative design-build process. The articulated white concrete provides a well-refined finish, a robust structural frame and deep recesses, protecting it from direct sunlight. Furthermore, this construction method helped enable the project’s completion in half the typical time for such a project—just 30 months, instead of the usual 60 for typical federal courthouse projects. High-tech solutions boost energy efficiency and provide comfortable interior environments. For example, the courtroom is the first in the GSA’s portfolio to use 100 percent LED lighting, and the entire building is wired with daylight sensors that optimize light levels

and avoid unnecessary use of electric lights. Within office areas, the design team introduced active chilled beams, another first for a GSA courthouse, which circulates cold or hot water throughout the building to cool or warm air wherever needed. In the tall lobby space, a radiant floor heating system is used in winter months, and a displacement ventilation system delivers cool air through low wall registers. Both of these energy-efficient systems are designed to provide conditioning only where useful, and avoid the common pitfall of trying to warm or cool all of the air in a tall space. Finally, a rooftop solar hot water system provides 30 percent of the building’s demand, and a photovoltaic array of solar panels supplies 13 percent of the building’s electrical

needs. While new technologies enable great leaps in energy efficiency, the use of passive design strategies in the new U.S. Courthouse in Bakersfield is critical to achieving significant energy conservation. The ultimate goal of this project is to contribute to the evolving American standard for civic landmarks, which is rapidly expanding to include measures of performance, value and conservation. — Design partner Steve McConnell and project designer Matthew Somerton work at NBBJ, a global architecture and design firm with 10 offices around the world, including locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco.


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

24

Tejon Ranch outlet mall moves forward Tejon Ranch Co. has signed a letter of intent to partner with The Rockefeller Group to develop an outlet center at the intersection of Interstate 5 and Highway 99, south of Bakersfield, the company said in a news release. Spring 2014 was listed as the center’s targeted opening date. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to expand our partnership with Tejon Ranch Company and to develop what we believe will become the region’s destination retail outlet center,� The Rockefeller Group’s president and CEO, Kevin R. Hackett, wrote in the release. The two companies have previously worked together to develop industrial property. The outlet center is expected to serve 3.2 million people living in Bakersfield and the northwest Los Angeles County communities of Santa Clarita, Valencia, Castaic, Lancaster and Palmdale -- plus the millions of people who travel that section of I-5 every year. The Rockefeller Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Estate Co. Ltd., has developed nearly 40 million square feet of commercial space in the United States. Infrastructure work has already begun on the site, and that leasing will be handled by Philadelphia-based EWB Development, according to Tejon Ranch. --Tejon Ranch Co.

OCT/NOV 2012

In the workplace

Add existing employees to recruitment team By Holly Culhane

In business, who you know won’t guarantee success, but it does help. The same can be said about recruiting the best employees to help make a business successful. Often who a company’s employees know will make the best hires. Although the U.S. economy’s recovery from the “great recession� continues to be sluggish, we have been helping an increasing number of Kern County business owners fill critical positions in their organizations. Some of these positions were cut in waves of layoffs that began in 2008 and continued into 2009. But as a sign of increasing confidence in the local economy, a number of companies are recruiting applicants for brand new Holly Culhane positions. It’s encouraging to see businesses expand their workforces, and adding new products and services. Recruitment requires a multi-faceted approach. With most companies, the search begins from within – through promoting existing employees or laterally transferring employees into new jobs that use under-utilized skills or allow for skill development. External job applicants – workers who are not presently employed by the company – are recruited using a variety of strategies.

They include walk-ins, “career� postings on a company’s website, print advertisements, job search engines, job boards, job fairs, and even Facebook or LinkedIn postings. Job “aggregators,� such as Indeed.com, CareerBuilder and Monster, are playing an increasing role in recruitment. One of the most effective and underutilized tools for recruiting good applicants, but one that often yields a higher hiring rate, is employee referrals. In a nutshell, a company asks its existing employees to urge qualified friends, relatives and professional acquaintances to apply for openings. According to the 9th Annual Source of Hire Study by CareerXRoads, employee referrals accounted for 26.7 percent of external hires in 2009 -- higher than any other external recruitment technique. Besides being effective, employee referrals entice applicants with built-in recommendations, an insider’s knowledge of a company and its culture, and an initial buy-in to a company’s vision and mission. Candidates hired through employee referrals typically have the highest retention rates. But effective employee referral programs just don’t “happen.� They need organization, communication, incentives and goals. Organization – Keep the referral process relatively simple. Use internal communications, such as emails and company websites, to advertise positions. Include job descriptions and application process informa-

Business & Entrepreneurship Center

Not business as usual. You need every competitive edge you can find. Like TPDJPFDPOPNJD NPEFMJOH understanding where is your market and what is its demographic makeup. The Business & Entrepreneurship Center can help you with that and more.

What we do Building a bridge to private, public and non-profit organizations, the Business & Entrepreneurship Center taps into an abundance of resources and know-how already in place, thereby enhancing its client businesses’ long-term growth and viability. The Kern BEC strives to TUSFOHUIFO the entrepreneurial spirit, BTTJTU businesses and FYQBOE entrepreneurship throughout California.

tion. Announce job openings first to existing employees before advertising externally. Communication – Announce the existence of an employee referral program to the entire workforce. Make every employee part of the recruitment team. Have a procedure in place to acknowledge the referrals and keep the referring employee apprised of the hiring process. Regularly remind employees that they are encouraged to recommend qualified applicants for job openings. Incentives – Many employee referral programs offer incentives, including cash bonuses if a referred applicant is hired. I recommend that a bonus be paid only after the new hire reaches a certain milestone. That milestone may be successful completion of a 3- or 6-month introductory period, and will encourage employees to recommend only applicants who are likely to succeed in the workplace and benefit the company. Goal – The goal should always be to recruit the best applicants so the best workers will be hired. A company’s existing employees can be vital resources for helping make that happen. — Holly Culhane is president of the Bakersfield-based human resources consulting firm P.A.S. Associates and P.A.S. Investigations. She can be contacted through her website www.PASassociates.com and through the PAS Facebook page.

Our services The BEC provides resources of interest to grow your business. We offer a broad scope of fee-based services and assistance relating to: t"DDFTTUP$BQJUBM t.BSLFUJOH3FTFBSDI4USBUFHJFT t0QFSBUJPOT'JOBODJBM"OBMZTJT t"DDFTTUPOFX%PNFTUJDBOE *OUFSOBUJPOBM.BSLFUT t"OENPSFy Call us to see how we can help ZPVS business grow!

Bakersfield College Cerro Coso Community College Porterville College

Contact us! 661-336 - 5010 www.beccv.com


OCT/NOV 2012

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

Photo courtesy of Kern Community College District’s Business & Entrepreneurship Center

Independence High School seniors (from left to right) Wala Ahmed, Monica Morales and Taylor Rose present their wind energy business plan.

Business professionals needed to mentor students By Terri Hicks

The Kern Community College District’s Business & Entrepreneurship Center is seeking energy industry professionals to mentor young Bakersfield entrepreneurs. Business & Entrepreneurship Center is partnering with the Energy and Utility Academy at Independence High School in Bakersfield to host a roundtable event in March featuring entrepreneurial and innovative academy students. The event will group students according to their energy focus—solar, wind, biomass, hydrothermal and other alternative and traditional energy sources. High school junior and senior teams will showcase their understanding of the energy industry by giving interactive presentations as if they were business owners seeking financial investors for an energy company. The Business & Entrepreneurship Center is seeking 75 business professionals to hear student presentations and provide feedback on students’ “soft skills,” as well as their business plans. In this real-world learning experience, mentors will evaluate students’ knowledge of their business plans, communication, public speaking and more. Programs such as the Independence High School Energy and Utility Academy provide opportunities for students to develop skills companies value because they are linked to job performance and career success. These keenly developed skills may mean the difference between who can do the job and who actually gets the job. The center is seeking volunteers to help young entrepreneurs hone their skills in critical thinking, problem solving, collaborative team work and work ethics. These

are skills employers want their employees to have so that these employees will make a strong first impression for their company. Volunteers from all energy fields are welcome to participate, as are business professionals from associated industries, such as banking, oil and gas accounting, and the legal field. Although the roundtable event is months away, the time to volunteer is now. The Business & Entrepreneurship Center is a network of community college professionals working to identify and meet California’s economic development needs. Specific attention is given to providing small business assistance and encouraging youth entrepreneurship. Kern Community College District hosts the California Central Valley BEC, comprising 14 community colleges. BEC Central Valley targets businesses that have the potential to achieve significant increases in sales and investment, and boost regional economic wealth. The KCCD-hosted BEC services target businesses in key growth industry sectors common to the region, including agriculture, energy, health services, manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and logistics. Young entrepreneurs are motivated to succeed when they realize business professionals are interested in their ideas and want to help them improve. The expertise and experience of industry professionals will provide the linchpin for student learning in the March event. — Terri Hicks is the director of the Kern Community College District Business & Entrepreneurship Center. To volunteer to mentor young entrepreneurs call 661-336-5010.

Photo courtesy of Kern Community College District’s Business & Entrepreneurship Center

Local business professionals (from left to right) Ray Scott of Price Disposal, Phithoun Lau of Chevron and Sal Moretti of the City of Bakersfield listen to student presentations

25


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

26

OCT/NOV 2012

Kern potential: Nation’s solar energy leader By Andy Atiyeh

California continues to be a leading solar market in the United States. An abundance of sunshine, combined with supportive solar policies, has created this ideal market. The state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) is one of the most ambitious renewable energy standards in the country. The RPS requires retail sellers of electricity, such as Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), to procure 33 percent of their retail sales per year from eligible renewable sources by 2020. Power from solar technologies, such as photovoltaic and solar thermal power plants, is a key component of the renewables mix, and California has more installed solar energy than the next six states combined. More than $700 million was spent on solar photovoltaic installations in California in the first quarter of 2012. This figure represents 35 percent of the nationwide expenditures in solar photovoltaic installations over the same time period. Solar power plants can be developed in a way that balances environmental protection with energy demands. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates the potential of specific renewable electricity generation technologies in the U.S. The laboratory found that solar has the greatest potential capacity of all renewables. A utility-scale solar power plant can use either photovoltaic (PV) or concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. PV plants rely on solar cells, also called PV cells, to convert sunlight directly into electricity. The cells are arranged on panels, which are combined

Brandi Agnetti 661.706.6411

Bruce Barnhard 661.444.5196

Photo courtesy of the Kern County Planning Department

Panels present a geometric design in the GlassPoint Solar project near McKittrick. GlassPoint Solar is a provider of solar steam generators for enhanced oil recovery.

together to create one system that is called a solar array. For large electric utility or industrial applications, hundreds of solar arrays are interconnected to form a large utilityscale PV system. CSP plants are larger and

Belinda Capilla 661.303.8270

Richard Clasen 661.201.6086

use mirrors or lenses to concentrate sunlight, creating temperatures high enough to drive traditional steam turbines that create hundreds of megawatts of electricity. The economics of solar power are

David Gay

661.333.3940

Laura Gieger

661.623.3014

Kevin Palla

661.932.3600

improving. The cost of solar plants has dropped dramatically as manufacturing has increased and technology has improved incrementally with new materials. Solar panel Continued on page 27

Frank Simon

661.301.1643

Pat Skrable

661.706.7243

661-654-1601

1620 Mill Rock Way Ste. 100 Bakersfield, CA. 93311 DRE Lic. # 00577493

www.PrudentialTobias.com 601-2145 Š2011 Prudential Financial. Prudential Real Estate brokerage services are offered through the independently owned and operated network of broker member franchisees of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential Financial company. and Prudential are registered service marks of The Prudential Insurance Company of America and are used herein under license. Equal Housing Opportunity.


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

27

Continued from page 26 costs dropped 50 percent in 2011 and so far another 20 percent in 2012. Installation costs have come down, as well, with more experienced and trained installers. This has largely been due to long-term extension of the solar investment tax credit (ITC), a 30 percent tax credit for solar systems installed prior to Dec. 31, 2016, which encourages private sector investment in solar manufacturing and solar project construction. The ITC, declining solar technology costs, and the excellent solar resource in California combine to make the state an excellent place for solar.

Kern County: a leader To meet California’s RPS goals, the Public Utilities Commission authorized Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) to execute solar power purchase agreements with independent power producers (IPP). In total, these programs will yield thousands of megawatts (MW) of new solar capacity in California over the next five years from PV plants alone. Kern County has a long history of being a critical contributor to the nation’s energy demands. Kern is in a distinct position to continue that leadership and greatly contribute to the state’s clean energy goals, particularly as a source for solar energy. It is uniquely located within both the PG&E and SCE service areas, and is part of each company’s utility’s transmission systems. Both utilities can access and benefit from procuring solar power generated in Kern County. Moreover, geographic features make Kern County ideal for solar power production. The

Photo courtesy of the Kern County Planning Department

Wasco-based Primex Farms installed a solar panel system on its shipping and manufacturing hub. Primex specializes in nuts and dried fruit.

county has among the highest solar radiation levels in the United States Additionally it has a high availability of flat land necessary for rows of solar panels. Kern also has a high commitment to renewable power. The Kern County Board of Supervisors has adopted an aggressive renewable energy goal of having 10,000 MW in production by 2015. This translates into thousands of construction and operational jobs, and billions of dollars of new investment in the county. These projects will generate enough power for over 7 million people. Kern County has taken steps to realize the full economic benefit potential of solar projects. It has an efficient project approval process. Kern’s Planning Department has

permitted more solar and wind projects than any other jurisdiction in the country. To date, eight utility-scale PV solar projects have been approved, with 35 PV projects now in the county permitting process. Also supporting the industry is the Kern Community College District, which has established training classes to prepare a workforce for jobs in clean energy. Solar projects face the same challenges in Kern that they do anywhere else in the country. The biggest challenge is the availability of sufficient transmission resources to transport the power produced by the solar projects to where it might be needed. Kern has encouraged the development of additional transmission infrastructure to eliminate this potential constraint. SCE is currently constructing a

high voltage transmission line to connect to renewable power projects being developed in the county. In addition, another brand new high voltage transmission line, the AV Clearview line, is currently under development to access thousands of megawatts of renewable power to be generated in the Kern County. Clearly, solar energy has a natural place in Kern County and the county is poised to continue to lead the nation as a prime source of solar generated power. — Andy Atiyeh is president and principal of A2 Consulting, which works on a variety of U.S. and international renewable power and transmission development and acquisition projects. (www.a2ccorp.com)

m Nor

e& 2 El i 0/1 6/3

Your h heart will be warmed when you walk along the commemorative being created at Houchin Community Blood Bank’s new p brick path consolidated complex and blood drawing site set to open in early 2013. conso Personalized bricks and tiles will form the commemorative path, Person which will accent the beautiful landscaping and water fountains in the new facility on Buena Vista Road where lifesaving blood and blood products will be collected, processed and distributed. Donors making gifts between $150 and $5,000 can choose among Donor various sizes of personalized bricks and wall tiles. They can be variou engraved engrav as special memorial tributes, or to honor those still living. Bricks and tiles also make an ideal gift for special occasions such as anniversaries, weddings or birthdays. annive

To order a brick or tile, or to learn how your 100% tax-deductible gift will be permanently incorporated into the more public areas o of Houchin’s new facility, call 323-4222 or go to www.hcbb.com for details.


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

28

OCT/NOV 2012

Photo courtesy Roadrunner Solar Bikes

George Magarrell (standing, far right photo) and Matt Renois work on the disk breaking system for a Roadrunner at Riverbend Bikes, Boards and Bites. Photo courtesy WZI, Inc.

Roadrunner RR4 four-passenger solar bike.

New way to travel: Solar powered bike By H.R.E. Carter

A new bike shop in town is pedaling more than just your average 10-speed. In the landscape of hybrid and electric cars, and people turning to cycling as a green solution to everyday commuting, a newly designed solar powered bicycle has entered the Bakersfield scene. It’s known as Roadrunner. Similar to what you might see cruising along the beach paths in Pismo or Huntington, the Roadrunner two- and four-person bikes are built on a pedal-powered, four-wheeled chassis. But there is no need for pedal power when the sun is shining, which conveniently is virtually everyday in Kern County. The sporty bike has a canopy roof protecting its passengers from the sun, while capturing the energy of the sun in its integrated solar

panel. The bike can be propelled by pedal only, pedal and electric motor combination, or set on the electric motor cruise option. The Roadrunner motor is a 1,000 Watt rear-wheelmounted electric hub motor, which is powered by the vehicle’s onboard battery pack. On a sunny day, the solar panel can charge a completely dead battery in six hours or less. When there is no sun, or for users who store the Roadrunner in the garage, the bike can be plugged into a standard 110V AC outlet. Even braking recharges the battery through regenerative braking technology. But the best part of all is that there are absolutely no stops at the gas station and absolutely no emissions. For those wishing to be completely green, if the solar-charging option is used, Roadrunner is a zero fossil fuel consumption transportation option.

UNDERSTANDING U.S.

EXPORTS

ATTEND THIS WORKSHOP! ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF EXPORT COMPLIANCE

%&$&.#&3  p -04 "/(&-&4  p'SFF TIVUUMF TFSWJDF GPS #BLFSTGJFME  3JEHFDSFTU  p0OFPOPOF DPOTVMUBUJPO  p#FTU QSBDUJDFT UP HSPX ZPVS CVTJOFTT

For info and to register, go to www.beccv.com

Developers of the Roadrunner solar bike hope to provide families a unique vehicle for local transportation. Its primary use will be for family travel to and from nearby grocery stores or parks, or as a commuter vehicle to work and school. Families can make these local trips fun, efficient and 100 percent emissions-free, and avoid paying high prices at the pump. But its creators also envision its use in active senior communities, to provide outdoor fun for the handicapped, at job sites, and in corporate and university campus environments. This creative concept was designed and is being built right here in Bakersfield. The Roadrunner design was created in late 2010 from a series of conversations between WZI Inc. President Mary Jane Wilson and Vice President and engineer Jesse Frederick. The

result was the first Roadrunner being built, a new bike shop being opened on Oak Street at the Kern River Parkway, and a new company, Imaginarium Inc., being formed. While Frederick credits the whole WZI family of engineers and technicians for bringing Roadrunner to life, the talents of Matt Eubanks, George Magarrell and Richard Wilson have been critical in the transition from the protocol product, a two-seat model, to production Model 1, which was the fourperson model. The Roadrunner can be test driven at Riverbend Bikes, Boards and Bites at 2437 Oak St., where the solar bikes also are being sold and produced. — Freelance writer H.R.E. Carter has written this article for WZI Inc.

This Friday,

LET’S CLEAR THE AIR. Make One Change, On One Day, Every Week.          

      

 

This interactive workshop examines Export Control Reform regulatory requirements; how to manage export compliance, exposure, liability and risk; and offers best approaches and proven solutions for export compliance challenges and opportunities faced by U.S. businesses. Cost $195 per person.

Carpool

Presented by‌

Bakersfield College Cerro Coso Community College Porterville College

Bring your lunch

Ride your bike

Walk to lunch

Link your trips


DESKTOP

i PA D

KINDLE FIRE

GOOGLE NEXUS

DROID X

For details, visit eedition.bakersfield.com

FREE for all home delivery subscribers; digital-only subscriptions available.

Read The Californian’s replica e-Edition on: Smartphones / iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and Nook tablets / Laptops and desktop computers

iPHONE

NOOK COLOR

LAPTOP

OCT/NOV 2012 KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL 29


30

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

OCT/NOV 2012

Cutting-edge air cleanup ideas rewarded

Drawing courtesy of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District

A robotic electric-powered agricultural spray rig will be demonstrated by the Buttonwillow Warehouse Co.

By Janelle Schneider

A project to turn dairy waste into electricity in Kern County, with greatly reduced pollution-forming emissions, and a robotic agricultural spray rig are just two new technologies that the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is funding through a grant program that can assist Kern County businesses with emission-reduction technology research and development. The Technology Assistance Program, adopted in 2010 by the district’s governing board, is a unique grant program created to encourage innovation and development of new emission-reduction technologies throughout the valley in order to accelerate the air basin’s progress toward clean air. Since the TAP program’s adoption, the district has awarded $2.6 million for two dozen projects during two rounds of funding. Two recently funded projects are being demonstrated in Kern County: • A California Bioenergy project at ABEC Bidart Stockdale LLC in Bakersfield to convert dairy waste into electricity, with lower levels of nitrogen oxides, at a significant cost savings, compared to zeroemission options currently being tested. • An electric-powered, agricultural spray rig with robotic controls from the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute, which will be demonstrated by Buttonwillow Warehouse Co. in Buttonwillow. A new round of “request for proposals” has opened, kicking off the process for considering new innovations and awarding $4 million in funding. “This program is a valuable tool to stimulate innovation that will directly improve the valley’s air quality and also give a boost to the valley’s economy,” said Seyed Sadredin, the district’s executive director and air pollution control officer. Creativity, innovation and expertise flourish in the valley. But with its historic economic challenges, exacerbated by a protracted recession, ready funding to stimulate new technology has been hard to come by. The air district, with a demonstrated track record of out-of-the-box strategies to realize emission reductions in areas where no regulatory authority exists, has expanded that pioneering approach to the environmental R&D sector, encouraging technological innovation to address some of the valley’s most vexing air-quality challenges. “We regularly receive inquiries about

new ideas and concepts for groundbreaking technologies that will help clean our air,” Sadredin said. “This grant program is a response to that.” For each funding cycle, the district solicits proposals for projects in one of three focus areas: • Renewable Energy - projects that overcome the barriers to utilizing renewable energy, such as remote solar energy/storage, vehicle-to-grid, wind energy, or peak shaving systems. • Waste Solutions - waste systems or technologies to minimize or eliminate emissions from existing waste management systems and processes, including waste-to-fuel systems (such as dairy digesters and other bio-fuel applications). • Mobile Sources - retrofit technologies for reducing particulate and/or NOx emissions from heavy-duty trucks, clean alternative fuels, vehicle hybridization, and efficiency improvements to on-road or off-road equipment. Projects are scored in several weighted categories, which include relevance to attainment plans, co-benefits, technology costeffectiveness, funding requested and leveraging, and project readiness. Submissions are then competitively evaluated and finalists are presented to the governing board for approval. The initial round of funding in 2010 was awarded to six projects: a dairy biogas system; a lean NOx catalyst system for off-road construction engines; a hybrid conversion wheel loader; hydraulic hybrid drive train retrofits; a new natural gas refuse truck; a solar-powered irrigation pump system; and an ultra-low NOx system capable of accepting low-quality gas. In the next round, 12 projects were funded, with grants ranging from $28,000 to $350,000. “We are continuing to boost the funding for this important program,” Sadredin said. “The best ideas come from the people and organizations that use the technology. We encourage all Kern County businesses with a stake in this type of R&D to come forward and get involved in TAP.” For more information about TAP grants, visit www.valleyair.org/grants or call the grants department at 559-230-6000. ­ — Janelle Schneider is an air quality public information representative with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.


OCT/NOV 2012

KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

31


KERN BUSINESS JOURNAL

32

OCT/NOV 2012

San Joaquin Community Hospital knows “firsts.” Hospital to have both a Nationally Certified Stroke Center, along with our Nationally Accredited Chest Pain Center under the same roof. Hospital-based 64-slice CT scanner. Hospital to perform open-heart surgery. Nationally Certified, hospital-based Diabetes Education. Hospital-based Free Mobile Immunizations Program. Full-treatment Grossman Burn Center. Gold Standard Bariatrics Program. And coming soon, The AIS Cancer Center at SJCH, Kern County’s first comprehensive, hospital-based cancer facility. The AIS Cancer Center at SJCH


Kern Business Journal October/November 2012