Stephen Chu, our current energy secretary, is a huge advocate of clean and renewable energies. Earlier this year he fought against 700 million in budget cuts proposed against government renewable energy programs. Under his leadership the DOE updated water usage regulations on toilets and showers in 2010.
While these don’t appear to be huge steps, especially with the air of excitement and hope which first surrounded the Obama administration. I believe that as energy secretary, Stephen Chu has been an ardent and vocal ally of the environment, but perhaps not the most successful in terms of legislation.
There’s no doubt Mr. Chu is a genius. The man’s a Nobel Prize winning physicist. Unfortunately and ironically expertise in the namesake of a department (in this case “energy) is not always the most valuable tool to succeeding in Washington. While Chu has the intelligence and passion to address energy issues in the lab, he lacks the business and the political intelligence sometimes needed to network and navigate legislation, make policies, and investments, talents that are especially need in the Department of Energy right now since the alternative energy industry is young and developing. Mr. Chu is currently bogged down in the Solyndra loan issue, in which million of dollars were lent by the Energy Department to the Solyndra solar power company which recently went bankrupt. He is also facing criticism for million dollar loans that were given to Beacon Power Corporation, another company that filed for bankruptcy this week.
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