By Sarah Mouchet
staff writer 

Updates from GTEDC: California's largest solar storage project to start in Bellefield, city now using AI tools and more


October 14, 2023

Sarah Mouchet.

City Manager Greg Garrett gives presentation on AI data analysis tools and their uses in the city.

On the first Wednesday of each month, the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council meets in The Village Collective on S. Green St., at 7:30 a.m. The GTEDC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting businesses in the Greater Tehachapi area. Small business owners and community members alike are encouraged to attend and indulge themselves in complimentary coffee, treats and Tehachapi business happenings.

Various businesses and committees give short reports on business climate and upcoming projects. The featured presentation this month was by AES, a global energy corporation invested in wind and solar energy. In California, they have worked on over 135 clean energy projects including energy storage in Long Beach and Lancaster, and they've started another large project nearby. The Bellefield solar-plus-battery energy storage facility is California's largest permitted solar energy and storage project and will store enough clean energy to power 467,000 homes in the state. Anticipated to break ground next year, the project will bring nearly 1,000 job opportunities to Eastern Kern residents and generate tax revenue locally.

Next to report were the tourism and arts commissions. From the tourism commission, the Visitor Center is still in desperate need of more volunteers and is struggling to remain open most days. Interested parties can call (661) 825-5003 for more information and volunteer for as little as three hours per month. The arts commission has begun planning for their 2024 nationally recognized annual art show which brings artists and attendees from all over the country to Tehachapi. All money raised by the commission goes to support local artists and art projects, such as the "Three Angels" stone carving in front of Adventist's emergency center and the highly anticipated "On Her Way to The Top" skateboarding statue slated to go in front of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District building.

Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District reminded attendees that applications are still open for K-12 youth basketball. On Nov. 11, TVRPD will host their Veteran's Day Celebration, kicking off with a parade at 10 a.m. along F Street which ends in Central Park with a ceremony. Military-related booths will be scattered throughout the park for visiting after the ceremony, as well as a kid's obstacle course offering official dog tags to participants. Free hot dogs will be offered for veterans and active military.

The following Saturday, TVRPD will be hosting the Tehachapi Valley Hot Chocolate Turkey Trot 5K Run from 8-10 a.m. at Brite Lake. The course is dirt and gravel but stroller-friendly. Entries receive a medal and mug, with the top three male and female contestants winning a turkey each. Hot chocolate will be served after the run. Registration is $35 at

The county repavement project on Backes Lane between Highline Road and Hwy 202, a cyclist and pedestrian improvement plan, will finish this month. The City of Tehachapi has also been looking into using AI technology as a data processing and analytical tool to make smarter economic decisions and aid business growth. Redevelopment of the old Kmart building has been announced as planned pending the acquisition of a third tenant for the space, a project assisted by data acquired using AI tools.

In final news, The Guild is currently raising funds to upgrade Adventist's neuro equipment, including EKG and CT machines. Additionally, Representative Laura Lynne from Zack Scrivner's office announced the filing of an economic development grant application which would provide $35 million to Kern County communities to support economic growth.


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