Ernest Moniz – The New U.S. Energy Secretary

The USA’s new Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, has been sworn in.
The nuclear physicist’s appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a unanimous vote on May 16. Dr. Moniz had previously served as an energy undersecretary in the Clinton administration.
Energy Secretary Moniz is a supporter of renewable energy – but also small scale nuclear and highly controversial carbon capture and storage (CCS); part of the suite of so-called ‘clean coal’ technologies.
He is the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, Director of the Energy Initiative, and Director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment at the MIT Department of Physics; where he has served since 1973.
According to his MIT profile, his principal research contributions have been in theoretical nuclear physics and in energy technology and policy studies.
One of Mr. Moniz’s first actions in his new role is to put on hold applications to export liquefied natural gas until he reviews studies on the impact the exports would have on domestic natural gas supplies and prices.
In his first speech as Energy Secretary a few hours ago, Dr. Moniz said he would be giving special attention to energy efficiency.
“I just don’t see the solutions to our biggest energy and environmental challenges without a very big demand-side response. That’s why it’s important to move this way, way up in our priorities.”
According to a Yahoo! News article, Moniz said he looks forward to advancing Obama’s ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy on energy, pushing clean energy technology innovation, boosting nuclear security and cleaning up the Cold War’s nuclear waste.
As for his predecessor Steven Chu; he has returned to Stanford University as a professor of physics and molecular and cellular physiology. Heading the “Chu Group”, he will help develop ways to facilitate addressing the USA’s energy challenges, with a special focus on clean energy.
In a recently published interview on Stanford News, Professor Chu reflects on his work in Washington and how he thinks science and technology can better guide public policy.