Chu, a Nobel Prize-wining physicist, who helped lead the administration's efforts to tackle climate change through "expanded federal support for low-carbon energy" leaves behind a mixed legacy from his time at the helm of the Energy Department, reports Ben Geman.
"President Obama thanked Chu in a statement Friday and said the outgoing secretary 'brought to the Energy Department a unique understanding of both the urgent challenge presented by climate change and the tremendous opportunity that clean energy represents for our economy.'”
“And during his time as Secretary, Steve helped my Administration move America towards real energy independence. Over the past four years, we have doubled the use of renewable energy, dramatically reduced our dependence on foreign oil, and put our country on a path to win the global race for clean energy jobs,” Obama said.
But Chu will also be remembered for "the 2011 collapse of the solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, which received a half-billion-dollar federal loan in 2009, [and] prompted GOP-led Capitol Hill hearings and an avalanche of election-season attacks."
"The long list of potential nominees to replace Chu includes former Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.); former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D), Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman; and Sue Tierney, a managing principal at the Analysis Group who was DOE’s assistant secretary for policy under former President Clinton," says Geman. "Others include former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D); Center for American Progress founder John Podesta, who was Clinton’s chief of staff; and Stanford University’s Dan Reicher, who formerly headed climate and energy initiatives for Google and served on Obama’s transition team."