Steven Chu, secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, announced in a letter to employees Feb. 1 that he will not be returning to the department for a second term.
Chu said he informed President Obama about his decision a few days after the election. Chu plans to stay on as secretary at least through the ARPA-E Summit at the end of February, but said he may stay on until his successor is named. Chu said he will return to California with his wife, Jean, and get back into teaching and research.
In the letter to employees, Chu also touted all of the progress DOE has made during his four-year tenure, including the ARPA-E program, which supports high-risk, high-reward technology; the SunShot Initiative; increasing the production of renewable energy in the U.S., particularly wind and solar; the controversial loan guarantee program and funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
“The journey that I began with you four years ago will continue for many years. I began my message talking about my vision of what I wanted to do with the Department,” Chu said in the letter. “Some of those goals have been realized, and we have planted many seeds together. Just as today’s boom in shale gas production was made possible by Department of Energy research from 1978 to 1991, some of the most significant work may not be known for decades. What matters is that our country will reap the benefits of what we have started.”
Solar Energy Industries Association President and CEO Rhone Resch lauded Chu for the DOE’s work in promoting solar energy.
“SEIA applauds Secretary Chu for his outstanding leadership of the Department of Energy and for his work to foster growth of clean energy technologies to power America,” Resch said. “Secretary Chu clearly believes in the power of science and innovation to drive change, which was evident in the way he led the Department.”
Chu is the third energy and environmental-related cabinet member to announce his resignation. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced in December that she was stepping down, while Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he was resigning earlier in January.
To read the full letter, click here.
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