Economic Summit attendees stop by Aera Energy to learn about oil in everyday life and the future of energy
The California Forward (CA FWD) Economic Summit tour of the state’s energy capital wouldn’t have been complete without a stop at Aera Energy. About 30 attendees from varying backgrounds visited Aera’s Bakersfield headquarters to learn about its innovation journey, the latest technologies under review and how employees plan to do their part to ensure California’s cleaner energy future.
They asked questions about Aera’s work to provide safe, reliable energy for Californians, while it innovates to implement technologies like renewable energy to power its operations. They toured exhibits to learn about Aera’s work to reduce its carbon footprint and test the feasibility of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), a game-changer in the fight against climate change.
Cindy Chen, a woody biomass and forest products advisor from the UC Cooperative Extension and University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources, was surprised to learn about the role oil plays in producing more than 6,000 household products people rely on every day – everything from cell phones and lip balm to nearly every element of electric vehicles. “I’m seeing that there really are lot of things in our day-to-day life that are made possible by oil,” Chen said.
Jay Ziegler, director of external affairs and policy at The Nature Conservancy, was interested in Aera’s commitment to protecting the environment and monitoring wildlife as well as learning more about new technologies such as CCS that Aera and others are pursuing as part of California’s cleaner energy future.
“It’s got to be an all the above approach, right?” asked Ziegler. “Our organization is very serious and probably at the forefront of identifying and accelerating hydrogen and CCS. We also need to get to the next generation of nuclear energy. We are very interested in all of that, so that’s the strategy we’re pursuing.”
The Aera tour kicked off the 2022 California Economic Summit, hosted in Bakersfield by CA FWD and the California Stewardship Network. Attendees at the event collaborated to identify the state’s most pressing challenges and create a shared economic agenda for 2023.
Jennifer Lovett, associate director of policy for CA FWD, was impressed by the “level of expertise and passion Aera employees have for the energy industry,” Aera’s commitment to the county, and its partnership with organizations that are working to improve the lives of citizens in the communities where it operates. Lovett noted that seeing how an actual oil rig works emphasized how much collaboration needs to take place for California to realize its energy future.
“We got to see what the [oil production] process looks like, not just how it works but how it works from a safety perspective and what goes into producing the products we use every day,” said Lovett. “As we think of expanding into new technological areas and thinking about the future of energy, becoming aware of what it looks like in practice makes it more real and invites real conversation about it.”
Tour attendees included representatives from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, California Department of Conservation, Inland Empire Community Collaborative and the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) to name a few.