The next secretary of energy needs expert understanding of the fossil fuel industry — without being owned by it or wedded to its dominance. This official must shepherd America from dependence on oil, and toward alternatives, without crippling the economy.The Politico is reporting that former eBay SVP, Steve Westly, is "emerging as a strong dark horse candidate for energy secretary."
As mayor of the nation's conventional and alternative energy capital, Houston Mayor Bill White is uniquely qualified for this post. He has the executive experience, having served as deputy energy secretary for President Bill Clinton; he is also a warrior against pollution and environmental depredation, who was nevertheless backed by Houston's energy industry and has long worked on guiding Houston's economy to greater diversity.
Westly co-chaired Cleantech and Green Business for Obama, a constituency group of green techies, along with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and former Clinton Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner.Washington Post reporter Steve Mufson offers up Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers,
Westly ran for governor in California two years ago, but lost in the Democratic primary to state Treasurer Phil Angelides.
If Obama wants a business executive who isn't necessarily a Republican, he could consider any number of interesting utility executives because quite a few of them are very forward-looking about greenhouse gas emissions and upgrading the nation's anachronistic electricity grid. Again, I haven't heard any names but one possibility I think might be Jim Rogers, the ceo of Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy. He would be interested in promoting a smart grid (useful in accomodating electric cars and facilitating conservation) and carbon capture and storage. He also supports new nuclear power plants. A former partner at Akin Gump, he knows his way around Washington.On the Today show this morning, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm artfully dodged the question about accepting the cabinet position.
Well, let me just say that as governor of Michigan I feel like I can be a tremendous partner here on the ground in Michigan. He’s going to need governors across the country to carry out his plans and I would be honored to be a partner.Over at Cleantech Blog, Neal Dikeman casts a vote for Daniel Yergin.
Pulitzer prize winning author of The Prize, the seminal work on the history of the oil industry, and Chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. The energy sector is going to take a serious thinker to overhaul. The last thing we need is a johnny come lately with a shiny copper penny plan. Yergin knows the business, knows the politics, and knows the people.What are the priorities for the next Energy Secretary? The New York Times asked energy experts that question in a roundtable last week. Here's Roger Ballentine, former Chairman of the White House Climate Change Task Force during the Clinton Administration:
The combination of linking climate and energy policy, along with an industrial policy (yes, we need to say this) aimed at creating green industry in the United States will mean a much larger role for renewable energy. But we can’t ask renewables to do it all, which is why a truly transformational energy policy will mean more renewables AND an emphasis on efficiency, more efficient fossil fuel use and nuclear.Click here for more NNN coverage on who will be in the Obama Cabinet.