BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The United States Department of Energy’s office hosted a community discussion Tuesday to present their plans for carbon capture technology designed to eliminate CO2 and other pollutants in the air. And the department says this is the first time these projects have been put in place through federal funding.
The Department of Energy says the new carbon capture technology would take 8 to 10 million tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year storing it underground in repurposed land, away from residential areas.
The projects are funded through $3.4 billion in grants contributing to four regional projects to advance direct air capture across the country. $12.5 million of that would go to Kern County.
“Our office and the Department of Energy more broadly were investing billions of dollars in projects, both in technology and infrastructure to reduce emissions and to provide for energy and job security in our country,” explained Brad Crabtree, assistant secretary for fossil energy and carbon management in the U.S. Department of Energy.
But some residents are concerned that smaller communities of color are being taken advantage of with this project.
“People in Arvin are really concerned about this that I talked to, and so I wanted to be here to help lift up those concerns, especially since it’s 1:30 p.m. on a Tuesday and folks couldn’t come for themselves,” said Dan Ress, a staff attorney for the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment.
The Department of Energy says it will continue engaging in community outreach to address residents' concerns as they work to push these projects forward.
Crabtree says some of these programs could roll out as early as 2025 and clarifies that the Department of Energy will not directly permit the programs with permits left in the hands of local officials.
23ABC NEWS IN-DEPTH: RENEWABLE ENERGY ACROSS CALIFORNIA
According to California's Energy Commission, an increasing percentage of California’s electricity already comes from renewable sources.
The commission says 42 percent of the state's renewable energy comes from solar which is also the state's number one renewable energy source. It's predicted that by 2045 all of California's retail electricity will come from renewable or carbon-free energy sources.
So far at least 1.4 million solar projects have been installed across California and in 2020 59 percent of the state's electricity came from carbon-free sources.