Biden Picks Former Michigan Governor Granholm for Energy Job
Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, speaks during TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 in San Francisco, California, U.S. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Biden Picks Former Michigan Governor Granholm for Energy Job

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of the politically pivotal state of Michigan, to lead the Department of Energy, three people familiar with the matter said.

The agency is expected to play an enlarged role in the battle against climate change.

Granholm served as energy adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and has been credited with expanding Michigan’s clean energy industry during her two terms as governor.

She served as Michigan’s attorney general from 1999 to 2003, has been an adviser to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ clean energy program and is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

A Granholm representative didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. The Biden transition team declined to comment.

“I think she’s got the right combination of policy, political and business experience to move the critical clean energy and climate agenda of the Department of Energy forward,” said Dan Reicher, a former assistant energy secretary who worked with Granholm on Clinton’s campaign. “She is very savvy politically, which is something we need in DC right now.”

If confirmed, Granholm, 61, will take over an agency with an annual budget of $35 billion and a sprawling mission that includes maintaining the nation’s nuclear warheads, its emergency stockpile of oil and researching subjects as varied as super computers and carbon dioxide emissions.

Granholm’s selection drew praise from progressive groups that opposed Ernest Moniz, Obama’s former energy secretary, as a potential candidate for the job over concerns about his ties to the fossil fuel industry.

“This selection is a victory for the broad and diverse movement pushing Joe Biden to keep top contenders with dangerous fossil fuel ties out of his cabinet and administration,” said Collin Rees, a senior campaigner the environmental group Oil Change U.S. “Jennifer Granholm is an experienced leader with a strong record of support for renewable energy.”

Under Biden, the department is expected to have a role in Covid-related economic stimulus that the president-elect has said will be one of his top priorities. The department was instrumental in dispensing some $90 billion in clean energy stimulus spending under the Recovery Act in 2009 under President Barack Obama.

The Biden administration is expected to restart the department’s energy efficiency standard shop, which ground to a halt under Trump, as well as reinvigorate the agency’s loan programs which holds billions of dollars in loan authority for clean energy projects.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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