Kern County's energy and natural resources cluster provide nearly 18,000 private sector jobs in oil and gas production, field services, electricity, refining, chemicals, and plastics. There is also some employment in alternative energy operations. The cluster is not only a significant source of overall employment, but also a provider of high-paying, moderate-to-high skill jobs such as those in technical and engineering occupations. All industry segments, which comprise the cluster, pay significantly higher wages than the County average. In some more specialized or highly-skilled areas, wages are double the County average.
Kern County is quickly becoming the renewable energy center for California. There are more than 5,000 wind turbines in the Tehachapi-Mojave wind corridor, producing 1.3 terawatt hours (1.3 million megawatts) each year. Wind energy is set to expand with the completion of the Wind Hub Substation and 500 KV transmission line that is being constructed by Southern California Edison. Solar investment is also on the rise within the County; there are more than 19 commercial solar projects (20 megawatts or less) in the permitting process and two utility scale solar projects (200+ megawatts) in the approval pipeline with the California Energy Commission.
Oil Field near Bakersfield
Wind Turbines near Tehachapi