Granholm will Be Energy Secretary

December 16, 2020

Energy twitter seems happy with Biden’s choice.

San Francisco Chronicle:

President-elect Joe Biden will reportedly nominate Oakland resident Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan governor who teaches at UC Berkeley, to lead the Department of Energy, signaling a shift in the agency’s focus toward championing renewable energy and combating climate change.

Granholm, 61, who teaches at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School for Public Policy, would be the second woman to lead the 14,000-employee department. Its focus has long been on maintaining the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, but that is not Granholm’s area of expertise.

Granholm has long advocated for renewable energy sources. She founded the American Jobs Project, a 30-state research effort aimed at exploring how to create more clean energy manufacturing jobs.

Biden said during the campaign that he wants to spend nearly $2 trillion over four years on increasing renewable power and creating incentives to build more energy-efficient buildings, homes and cars. Biden says this would create 10 million jobs in the clean-energy sector, triple the current total.

Granholm worked with then-Vice President Biden to rescue Michigan’s decimated auto industry during Barack Obama’s first term as president. Her expected nomination as Biden’s energy secretary was first reported Tuesday by Politico.


Granholm, who served two terms as Michigan’s governor, is experienced in dealing with the auto industry — a potentially big advantage as the new president seeks to speed the rollout of electric vehicles and the network of charging stations needed to power them.

Granholm’s ardent support of the auto industry may help Biden’s team strengthen its appeal to blue-collar workers and the manufacturing sector as the incoming administration pitches its climate-centric economic transformation. And it would be a marked change of course from President Donald Trump’s first Energy secretary, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who used the position to promote natural gas exports and push regulators to prop up coal as a power source.

Most of the Energy Department’s budget is devoted to maintaining the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal, but it also operates the 17 national labs that have helped develop advanced technology used in renewables, nuclear energy and fossil fuel production. Under former President Barack Obama, the Energy Department oversaw tens of billions of dollars in loan guarantees and grants that expanded the adoption of solar and wind power, helping drive a steep drop in the prices of renewable electricity. Those achievements were tarnished at the time by the scandal over Solyndra, a solar technology company that collapsed after taking more than $500 million in federal funds.

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

Granholm has sought to position herself as a figure who can help U.S. industry transition to a clean energy economy, a process that Biden has made one his top four goals.

“[T]he private sector needs greater support and political will from our policymakers to help us fully realize the potential of a zero-carbon future,” Granholm wrote in a Nov. 7 op-ed in The Detroit News. “The economics are clear: The time for a low-carbon recovery is now.”

Jennifer Granholm in the Detroit News:

Prior to the pandemic, clean energy was one of the fastest growing industries in Michigan, supporting over 125,000 jobs. New analyses demonstrate we can return to this flourishing clean energy economy if policymakers take action beyond short-term emergency measures. 

Cambridge Econometrics and the We Mean Business coalition found that a low-carbon recovery plan boosts income, employment and GDP more so than broad economic recovery measures alone, while significantly reducing emissions. The GDP returns from low-carbon measures are projected to be 1.5 times greater than a baseline stimulus measure.

Investing in a low-carbon economy will ensure that Michigan remains a leader in the auto industry. The report finds that by 2025, a low-carbon recovery plan could create 1.7 million new jobs in the U.S. State automakers like Ford and General Motors are producing a greater number of EVs, but policy incentives are needed to ensure that the cost-saving and environmental benefits are available to everyone.

It’s not just a matter of forecasting future impacts. Climate action is already working for the people and economy of Michigan. An E2 report — “Clean Jobs, Better Jobs” —  found that the median hourly wage of clean energy jobs in Michigan is 6.8% higher than the statewide median for all occupations, and that clean energy jobs are more likely to come with health and retirement benefits. These are the types of jobs we need to support as we look to shape a better future.

Over a dozen major businesses operating in this state agree that a low-carbon recovery is the best choice for Michigan. Just last month these companies, including Kellogg’s, General Mills, Schneider Electric and Nestle, asked Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to enact statewide climate mitigation strategies and invest in clean energy infrastructure. At the same time, the companies reaffirmed their commitment to reducing their own emissions and supporting the growing demand for clean energy. 


7 Responses to “Granholm will Be Energy Secretary”

  1. J4Zonian Says:

    I’m not buying it. Everybody may be big on clean safe renewable energy but that’s not enough; it’s part of “all of the above”, a way to push fossil and fissile fuels and somehow never get around to pushing clean safe renewable energy with the same enthusiasm. (like Ohio and Illinois.) Everybody has to be big on using all the tools available to switch to clean safe renewable energy. Economic tools, executive orders, compulsion, emergency powers, nationalizing corporations, applying the military and reserves… but none of that will happen. Too many right wing sharks in the pool. And the head shark tells em what to do.

    • J4Zonian Says:

      Dave Roberts talks about how failure on health care led to failure on climate change in US politics, and what this reveals about the move of the Republicans into utter irrationality.

      “To a cool Vulcan mind like Obama’s, it seemed entirely irrational, against Republicans’ own best interests. At that point, he had not fully internalized the extent to which the conservative movement has become unleashed id, driven more by right-wing media than by Republican politicians, fueled by resentment and organized purely to defeat the libs.”

      His answer: a blitzkrieg of progressive actions followed by crowing about them. But Biden and his handlers are walling him in with the right-of-center-to-right-wing appointments we all knew were coming, and the main thing is, BIDEN IS NOT A PROGRESSIVE! How can anyone think he’ll make progressive moves?

  2. jimbills Says:

    We’ll see. She was apparently considered for the post during the Obama administration – she’s very jobs focused. She doesn’t rankle me, anyway, like a Moniz posting would have.

    One little thing – never put the word ‘seems’ after ‘Twitter’. It’s a purely subjective statement based solely on highly individualized interests. Related, there’s a very important article in The Atlantic recently:

    Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine

    There’s also a new documentary on Netflix that goes over the same subject:

    The Social Dilemma

  3. I think she’s a poor choice. She’s easily wowed by slick promotions. She actually went on stage with a convicted scammer to announce a $9 million tax credit:

    Seeing Mark Jacobson’s endorsement is also not encouraging. I suspect it means she will be anti-nuclear.

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