Obama to Name Energy Team, Cleantech Cheers

The news wires are reporting that president-elect Barack Obama has made some key staffing choices when it comes to fighting climate change, energy policy and creating green jobs. Obama is reported to have chosen Steven Chu, a physicist who heads up Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as the nation’s Energy Secretary. Chu has been leading the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs for the past four years and received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 for creating technology to cool and trap atoms with lasers.

Obama is also reported to soon name Carol Browner, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1993 to 2001 under President Clinton, as the nation’s “climate czar.” Nancy Sutley, currently energy official for the city of Los Angeles, is also expected to be named head of Obama’s White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Some media reports stress that the appointments could make it difficult for the administration to effectively fight with the status quo oil and car industry, given appointees like Chu come from academia and have less political experience. We actually find it refreshing that Chu has a strong science background and is well-versed in the causes and solutions to global warming.

The cleantech community also seems to be supportive. Jonathan Gay, founder of energy management software startup Greenbox Technology sent out an email saying Obama’s energy appointments are:

. . . a fantastic opportunity to develop programs to create a new ecosystem of workers and products to help us all make our homes more efficient and comfortable.

Update:Applied Materials President and CEO Mike Splinter and former Assistant Secretary of Energy Andy Karsner have publicly supported Obama’s choices of Chu and Browner. Karsner called Chu “the right person to bring together America’s industry, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and innovators around national and global goals with the sense of urgency they merit,” said Browner has a “broad understanding of the nexus and inseparability between energy and environment.”

If the anyone in the cleantech community has any thoughts on Obama’s reported energy appointments, let us know.

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