CREL Celebrates 1 Year Anniversary

By Kern CCD | 10/05/23
Liz Rozell, Tom Burke, Karen Goh, Mike Giacionin,  Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg,  Zav Dadabhoy, Steve Watkin, Lora Larkin, Calvin Yu, and Norma Reyes-Mora

The California Renewable Energy Laboratory (CREL) celebrated their 1 Year Anniversary at Bakersfield College’s Levan Center on October 5, 2023.

The event received warm welcomes from esteemed colleagues and industry partners. In addition, the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges Dr. Sonya Christian, provided a video message showcasing the work CREL has accomplished since it  was established in 2020. The attendees included Mayor of Bakersfield, Karen Goh, Kern Community College District Trustee, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, President of Bakersfield College, Steve Watkin, Interim Chancellor of the Kern Community College District, Tom Burke, and Interim Deputy Chancellor of Kern Community College District, Zav Dadabhoy.

Kern Community College District (KernCCD) and CREL have hit the ground running to help educate the community on renewable energy practices and development. The significance of CREL cannot be overstated, as they have served as a catalyst for innovation, research, and education in the field of renewable energy. By creating a hub for cutting-edge research and development, CREL aims to foster an environment that breeds groundbreaking solutions.

“Our climate has seen historic changes over many decades. Climate change is not new. Chancellor Christian was visionary in seeing the impacts of this and how important it was for all of us to act now.” said Dean of Instruction at the California Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lora Larkin.  “But it isn’t just the technologies that will be the answer to our climate crisis. Implementation, not just invention, determines the pace of our progress.”

CREL presented their work introducing the framework for the plans in academic partnerships, community engagement, their Centers of Excellence, and workforce training endeavors. A highlight of this work came from their Mini-Demonstration Projects which encompasses the goals of 3 Centers of Excellence being the CRC-CMI Carbon Management Institute, Clean Energy & Grid Resilience, and Clean Transportation. These projects provide real world application and act as educational pieces to help break down the concepts of renewable energy to disinvested communities.

“Climate change affects all of us, so we need to take action as a community and be invested in our future,” said Norma Rojas, Executive Director of Government Relations and Development. “The Kern Community College District is committed to building bridges in our community by providing educational resources like research, workforce, and stewardship.”

Sustainability Fellow at CREL, Paloma Lobos presented their work on Purple Air which is a project that collects baseline data in air quality, electrification monitoring, and introducing Purple Air mapping features to students and community members. This project's goal is to help detect any changes in the levels of PM2.5 within the electrification process that is currently being conducted at Bakersfield College and The Weill Institute. Beyond the technical application, Paloma has also participated in community engagement and student outreach within Bakersfield high schools. Introducing the Purple Air mapping feature to communities, Paloma demonstrated their Air Filtration Cubes which are devices built using the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) guide to combat particle pollution when levels exceed an air quality threshold.

The anniversary concluded with awards given to Founder of Cal Microgrids, Blair Pruett, Principal of Product Development Solutions, Tunde Deru, Project Associate of Product Development Solutions, Alyssa Kincade, and Program Director of California Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sara Sullivan for their consistent support on ways to make a difference in the renewable energy field.

CREL shines as a symbol of hope, innovation, and determination. A part of their mission is to aid disinvested communities by providing resources to not only educate them in carbon management technologies, but to also reshape the environment of these communities. Their extensive network of partners demonstrates what can be achieved when diverse stakeholders unite for a shared vision of a greener, more sustainable future.


For more information about CREL, visit the official CREL webpage.