With Dr. Ernest Moniz officially confirmed at the next US Secretary of Energy, leading cleantech and green groups are getting their statements out regarding what they think of this. Here are a few I thought were worth publishing, followed by some of my own thoughts:
EDF President Fred Krupp:
Today’s unanimous Senate vote to confirm Ernest Moniz as our next Secretary of Energy is great news for America. It shows that when Congress puts politics aside, a highly-qualified and experienced nominee can win bipartisan support in order to tackle some of the most pressing problems facing our country.
Dr. Moniz is a theoretical physicist from MIT and a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology with a well-deserved reputation for being thoughtful and pragmatic. He’s also well-known for his enthusiasm for creating a clean energy future for America, and he has repeatedly observed that just because the environmental challenges of shale gas are manageable does not mean that they are yet managed.
I look forward to working with Dr. Moniz on accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy by developing a smart “green” electric grid, promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy through a “Race to the Top” program, and furthering other critical energy projects.
BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director David Foster:
The Senate vote today now clears the way for Dr. Ernest Moniz to lead the Department of Energy. We hope that in this new role, the Department of Energy will be guided by policies that adhere to a long-term strategy to protect the environment, protect public health and expand vital clean energy investments — leading to good jobs for American workers and reducing the carbon pollution causing climate change.
America is poised to capture and grow innovative technology that improves competitiveness, puts more renewable energy to work in homes and businesses across the country than ever and that creates thousands of jobs. We look forward to working together with Dr. Moniz to promote a joint vision that expands clean energy investments in a way that bolsters America’s economy.
Electricity Storage Association Executive Director Brad Roberts:
The Electricity Storage Association congratulates Secretary Moniz on his confirmation and looks forward to working with him and his staff to continue our strong relationship with DOE that has fostered development of storage technologies and facilitated partnerships with the private sector for continued commercial deployment. We look forward to participating in the stakeholder process to develop the energy storage plan that the Secretary committed to completing during his confirmation hearings. We are encouraged by Secretary Moniz’s strong commitment to energy storage and have offered the full support and expertise of the ESA to assist him during his tenure at the Department.
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President & CEO Rhone Resch:
Ernest Moniz will be an outstanding Secretary of Energy. As a Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics professor, an expert in energy issues and a veteran of Washington politics, he is uniquely qualified to tackle the many policy challenges facing our nation and the world. In today’s combative political environment, his unanimous selection in the Senate stands as a testament to his abilities, as well as to the respect he brings to his new position. We look forward to working with Secretary Moniz on policies and opportunities which will create new American jobs, expand the U.S. economy and provide energy security for our nation.
My quick opinion:
I think it’s clear that Dr. Moniz will continue advancing strong renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts that Dr. Chu started or improved. But we’ve got no clue yet if he will do so as effectively as Dr. Chu did.
It also seems highly likely that Dr. Moniz will support nuclear and natural gas, but that he will also try to make natural gas growth in the US more cautious and intelligent. But, again, we’re all speculating at this point. Nuclear power seems like a big money dump and doesn’t fit into the future energy grid (where responsiveness and flexibility are key), so I’m hoping Dr. Moniz doesn’t work to direct much taxpayer money in that direction. While natural gas can help supplement renewable energy and advance our energy systems forward, my opinion (based on reviewing countless studies) is that it is overhyped and its growth needs to be kept in check — there is no replacement for renewable energy, and there isn’t really any time left to fiddle around with less-than-clean energy options.
Another big concern by some in the cleantech industry has been that Dr. Moniz will focus too much on research, and not enough on deployment. That remains to be seen, but there’s certainly a strong probability that will be the case.
All in all, I think Dr. Moniz will be a decent Energy Secretary. I’m hoping he puts a strong emphasis on renewable energy deployment, keeps nuclear power away from the piggy bank, makes natural gas development more sensible (i.e. less environmentally harmful and less popular), increases plug-in electric vehicle deployment, and helps the country to make big strides in energy efficiency. But I have to admit that I have my reservations.