Energy sector welcomes confirmation of Ernest Moniz to lead DOE

Energy industry trade groups are reacting to the confirmation of Ernest Moniz to lead the Department of Energy (DOE) with generally positive statements.

The May 16 confirmation vote was 97-0, with three senators (Roy Blunt, R-Missouri; Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma; and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas) absent for the vote. Moniz is succeeding Steven Chu, who left earlier in 2013 and will returning to a professorship at Stanford University.

The White House released a statement in response to the vote, saying that Moniz and President Barack Obama share similar views on climate change and advanced energy technologies.

“Dr. Moniz is a world-class scientist with expertise in a range of energy sources and a leader with a proven record of bringing prominent thinkers and innovators together to advance new energy solutions. He also shares my conviction that the United States must lead the world in developing more sustainable sources of energy that create new jobs and new industries, and in responding to the threat of global climate change. I am thrilled that Ernie is joining my team, and I look forward to his counsel on these issues as my administration continues to increase our nation’s energy security, strengthen our nuclear security, develop the next-generation of clean energy technologies, and compete for the jobs of the 21st century,” according to the White House.


Sen. Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called Moniz smart and savvy.

“[H]e has a proven track record of collaboration, which is just what you need when you’re leading the Department of Energy,” Wyden said. “I look forward to working with him to address the hugely important issues facing the department: how to manage newly accessible reserves of natural gas, how to combat climate change, how to make our economy more efficient and how to clean up Hanford and other nuclear waste sites.”

Tom King, the president of National Grid‘s unit in the U.S. said the fact that Moniz’s nomination vote was unanimous speaks to the strength of his expertise.

“Moniz has excelled at creating solutions that address the energy and environmental challenges of today and that also recognize the concerns of tomorrow. I look forward to working with Secretary Moniz to promote and implement these solutions,” King said.

Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association said her organization was pleased at the news of Moniz’s unanimous confirmation.

“America needs someone in that cabinet position who understands the impact of federal energy policy on the electric bills that consumers pay every month. We are hopeful that Secretary Moniz will take the consumers’ interests, especially low-income and rural consumers, into account when setting policy and will work actively with a wide array of stakeholders, including electric cooperatives, as he begins to put his mark on federal energy policy,” Emerson said in a release.

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) issued a statement of congratulations, expressing approval of the Moniz pick. A nuclear physicist by training, Moniz is publicly expressed strong support for nuclear energy and for research into advanced energy technologies in the past in the past.

Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said Moniz is uniquely qualified to lead the DOE.

“Ernest Moniz will be an outstanding Secretary of Energy. As a Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics professor, an expert in energy issues and a veteran of Washington politics, he is uniquely qualified to tackle the many policy challenges facing our nation and the world. In today’s combative political environment, his unanimous selection in the Senate stands as a testament to his abilities, as well as to the respect he brings to his new position. We look forward to working with Secretary Moniz on policies and opportunities which will create new American jobs, expand the U.S. economy and provide energy security for our nation,” Resch said.

Robert M. “Mike” Duncan, CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), said the coal industry looks forward to working with Moniz on a comprehensive energy plan that includes coal-fired generation.

“Thanks to investments in clean coal technology, emissions from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by 90 percent over the past several decades. Secretary Moniz has been a supporter of clean coal technology, and we hope that the Department of Energy under his leadership will help the industry build on this success. 21st Century Coal provides affordable, reliable electricity to meet the country’s growing demands and is a critical component of any plan to make America energy independent,” Duncan said.

Deb Nardone, the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Natural Gas” Campaign Director, said her organization would like the DOE to carefully consider the potential environmental consequences of exporting natural gas to international markets.

“When looking at a full picture of what increased fracking would mean for Americans’ health and future, we are confident the DOE will find that LNG exports are not in the best interest of the American public,” Nardone said. “To do what is right by the American public, we need Secretary Moniz to go all in on smart energy and climate solutions, like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and to protect our children’s health and future, while creating jobs for American workers.”

Terry O’Sullivan, president the Laborers’ International Union of North America, said strong federal leadership is needed to help the U.S. become energy independent.

“LIUNA looks forward to working with Secretary Moniz in support of President Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy and helping to ensure that working men and women in America reap the full benefits of the coming energy boom, which has the potential to generate an unprecedented upswing in U.S. economic vitally and end our industry’s enduring unemployment crisis.”

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