President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name former Democratic Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm for secretary of the Department of the Energy, Politico first reported Tuesday.
Granholm served two terms as Michigan’s governor and managed the state’s auto industry during the financial recession more than a decade ago, according to Politico. She also oversaw alternative energy initiatives as governor and, if confirmed, would be the second woman to serve as Energy Secretary.
SCOOP: Joe Biden has selected former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to serve as secretary of energy, according to people familiar with the decision. Story coming with @zcolman
— Tyler Pager (@tylerpager) December 15, 2020
Most of the Energy Department’s roughly $35 billion budget goes to maintaining the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal. But the department also operates 17 national laboratories that develop advanced technologies and alternative energy sources like nuclear energy, according to Politico.
Other responsibilities include setting standards for household appliances, conducting research on innovations like electric power generators and overseeing energy efficiency programs for homes and businesses.
The Energy Department under former President Barack Obama promoted the use of renewables like solar and wind energy, oversaw the Iran nuclear deal and pushed for the Paris Climate Accord, according to The Atlantic. But under President Trump, the department promoted fossil fuel production and overturned regulations.
Granholm has positioned herself as a figure who can help the energy industry transition towards renewables and clean energy sources. A key element of Biden’s climate plan includes a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a transition away from fossil fuels. (RELATED: ‘Mandates And Regulations’: Economist Nicholas Loris On Biden’s Energy And Environment Platform)
“The private sector needs greater support and political will from our policymakers to help us fully realize the potential of a zero-carbon future,” Granholm wrote in a Nov. 7 op-ed. “The economics are clear: The time for a low-carbon recovery is now.”
Granholm’s connections to the auto industry and her support for an electric transportation grid would likely play a key role in Biden’s energy policy if confirmed, according to Politico. The transportation sector is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the country and a clean energy transition would likely require the adoption of electric cars and other forms of transport.