DOE Announces the Selection of the California DAC Hub Consortium to receive funding to establish the California Regional Direct Air Capture Hub in Kern County

By Kern CCD | 08/11/23

The Kern Community College District (KernCCD) is pleased to be a leader and integral partner of the CalHub Consortium, a project of Carbon TerraVault Holdings, LLC (CTV), a subsidiary of California Resources Corporation (NYSE: CRC). KernCCD has been a leading partner of the CalHub consortium since the group’s inception in the Summer of 2022, following the establishment of the CRC Carbon Management Institute as a Center of Excellence for the California Renewable Energy Laboratory (CREL).

The California Direct Air Capture (DAC) Hub has been selected for funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under its Regional DAC Hubs Initiative related to the proposed development of California’s first full-scale DAC plus storage (DAC+S) network of regional hubs. DAC+S is a solution that is intended to remove and then permanently store atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) using low carbon emission energy and provide economic benefits to surrounding communities. This first DOE award will be used to perform Front End Engineering Design (FEED) studies in 2024 on the proposed DAC facilities in Kern County, followed up with additional funding requests and planned development and construction potentially beginning in 2025.

“We are thrilled with being awarded this DOE funding to create the California DAC Hub and help California meet its ambitious climate goals,” said Chris Gould, CRC Chief Sustainability Officer and CTV Managing Director. “Innovative solutions such as DAC+S are important to help decarbonize our economy and I cannot imagine a better group than our California DAC Hub consortium, which is made up of amazing and passionate organizations who are committed to working together and excited to take the next step to accelerate the energy transition, and benefit working families throughout our California communities.”

This Direct Air Capture Hub would never have been possible without the tireless work of Dr. Sonya Christian, KernCCD’s former chancellor and the current state chancellor over all 116 community colleges in California. She made crucial partnerships with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for technical assistance and secured $50 million in funding for the California Renewable Energy Laboratory, CREL, which will be the facilitator for research, curriculum, and workforce development in energy careers.

CREL’s three centers of excellence in Carbon Management, Clean Energy and Grid Resilience, and Clean Transportation aim to educate and train the next generation of the energy workforce and will provide training and upskilling for disinvested and incumbent workers affected by the energy transition in Kern. KernCCD and CREL have engaged in garnering support for the DAC Hub through outreach and engagement with key stakeholders.

“This announcement is significant for Kern County as we continue to lead the nation in developing new technologies and resources to ensure Kern’s economic vitality,” said Kern CCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog. “KernCCD understands how important it is to walk alongside industry partners and to bring key stakeholders together when bold action is needed. We are looking forward to implementing the Community Benefits Plan and addressing the workforce needs of the project.”
KernCCD and the CREL team were chosen to lead and develop the Community Benefits Plan (CBP) due to their experience as an impartial facilitator, bringing community stakeholders together to problem-solve and address community issues.

KernCCD is a community college district serving more than 47,000 students across a 24,800-square-mile service area that spans Kern, Inyo, Mono, Tulare, and San Bernardino counties. KernCCD includes Bakersfield, Porterville, and Cerro Coso community colleges, two of which are Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

“KernCCD is committed to expanding and continuing its work as a leader in community organizing and being a trusted advisor to the community,” said Deputy Chancellor Zav Dadabhoy. “KernCCD has a long-standing history of community and workforce education and training and is dedicated to bringing good quality jobs that will improve the overall quality of life and economic security for members of Kern especially those in the front-line communities of Taft, Shafter, and southeast Bakersfield which will be most impacted due to their close proximity to the DAC Hub.”

The KernCCD team applauds the leadership of Carbon TerraVault Holdings, LLC (CTV), and the California Resources Corporation team. KernCCD and CREL are eager to work with all Cal Hub consortium members to lead and implement the community benefits plan strengthening our partnerships with industry, labor, academic, and community-based organizations to make sure everyone has a seat at the table to establish the model for what carbon management and the impacts of this federal investment will have on our industry and surrounding communities.