Biden to tap Grenholm, former Michigan government to lead Energy Department


Much of the Department of Energy’s budget is devoted to maintaining the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal, but it also operates 17 national laboratories that have developed advanced technologies used in renewable energy, nuclear power and fossil fuel production have helped. Under former President Barack Obama, the Department of Energy invested tens of billions of dollars in loan guarantees and grants, which expanded the adoption of solar and wind power, causing a drastic drop in renewable electricity prices. Those achievements were tarnished at the time of the scandal on solar technology company Solandra, which collapsed after taking over $ 500 million in federal funds.

The DOE will also play a key role in reducing emissions from the nation’s building, another goal of Biden’s climate plan. The DOE has the responsibility of setting equipment standards, conducting research on innovations such as electric heat pumps, and overseeing building and residential energy efficiency programs.

Granholm has sought to position itself as a figure that could help transform American industry into a clean energy economy, a process that Biden made one of his top four goals.

“[T]Granholm wrote on November 7, “The private sector needs more support and political will from our policy makers to make us realize the potential of a zero-carbon future.” Op-ed in detroit news. “The economics are clear: the time for low carbon recovery is now.”

If confirmed, Granholm – who defeated the husband of Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to win her second term as governor – would be only the second woman to head the department since its creation in 1977.

Granholm actively promoted himself to be considered for the job, people familiar with the matter said, using his op-ed to show how Biden’s Clean Energy Goals rejuvenate the Rust Belt economy May fit with the desire to help. She had long been seen as likely to win a slot in Hillary Clinton’s cabinet, with Clinton winning in the 2016 election.

“She really worked very hard to position herself as Energy Secretary with the Clinton team in 2016,” said Skipp Pruess, who directed the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Development under Granholm. “He really is a student.” [energy] Infection. If you were to ask me what the border was in Michigan, I would say that she was a little ahead of her time. “

He received a shortlist of candidates, including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and DOE Undersecretary Arun Mazumdar. Environmentalists fought hard against Moniz, saying he was very close to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries.

Granhome’s connections to the Michigan auto industry and his ability to win support for a transition to electrified transportation will be central to Biden’s vision for the U.S. economy and the nation’s climate change puzzle. Transportation is the largest greenhouse gas emitting area in the US, so Biden’s quest to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 requires the adoption of large-scale electric cars, trucks, buses, trains, and aircraft.

“That would be unprecedented for the DOE,” said Dan Kammen, an energy professor who has worked with Granholm at the University of California-Berkeley. “She understands technology, she understands deployment and she knows how to run a large agency.”

Ben Lefever contributed to this report.

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