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Steven Chu  (Source:
He plans to return to California

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced Friday that he is resigning from his role, but a successor has not been named.

Chu, a scientist and Nobel Prize winner who assumed office in January 2009 as the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy, had planned to leave for a few months now. When President Barack Obama took office after the November 2012 election, Chu told Obama that he wanted to return to his academic life in California, where he served as director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Chu wrote a letter of resignation, which was published on Friday. He listed the department's many accomplishments while he was in office, such as the doubling of clean, renewable energy from wind and solar; helping one million low-income homeowners weatherize their homes; building, opening and retooling more than a dozen auto manufacturing plants for hybrids and EVs; launching the first national scale rooftop solar project, which will include commercial buildings in up to 28 states, and giving grants/loans to over 1,300 companies through the Recovery Act.

However, Chu's time as secretary hasn't been all roses and rainbows. The Department of Energy had been given $36 billion in stimulus money to spend, and Chu was criticized for giving some of the money to clean energy companies as loan guarantees and grants when they eventually filed for bankruptcy.

One of the most notable failures was Solyndra, a Silicon Valley-based solar panel company that received $535 million from DOE in 2009. The move was set to stimulate economic growth through environmentally friendly jobs, but in September 2011, Solyndra declared bankruptcy -- laying off 1,100 workers.

The biggest issue was that the money was given despite previous warnings of Solyndra's viability. Only days before the final approval, an email predicted that the project would run out of money in 2011. Another email from government staffers questioned the model the government was using, but said "given the time pressure we are under to sign off on Solyndra, we don't have time to change the model."

Reports state that the White House pushed the loan ahead despite warnings in order to meet political deadlines.

There were other green energy loan failures too, such as a $43 million loan guarantee to Beacon Power in 2010 (the company filed for bankruptcy in November 2011) and a $118.5 million grant to Ener1 Inc.'s subsidiary EnerDel in 2009 (Ener1 Inc. filed for bankruptcy in January 2012).

Nevertheless, Chu has made great strides in efficient energy in the U.S. He said only 1 percent of the 1,300 companies filed for bankruptcy. He's also pushing for the continued support of green energy into the future.

"The test for America's policy makers will be whether they are willing to accept a few failures in exchange for many successes," wrote Chu.

Chu plans to keep his role through the end of February, but will then return to California. A successor has not been named yet, but a few candidates are former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former San Francisco hedge fund manager Tom Steyer.

You can read Chu's full resignation letter here.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

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In other words...
By theaerokid on 2/4/2013 2:15:33 PM , Rating: 3
We've already wasted enough taxpayers' money playing venture capitalists and if we keep doing it we're really going to raise some eyebrows, so I'm going back to academia where I can continue to be effective by infecting young, impressionable minds with our Eco-Marxism and crony capitalism that screws our political opponents and lines the pockets of our political allies just before they go bankrupt and lay off their naive employees who got their heads filled with dreams of making a difference and being part of the "next big wave".

Farewell Mr. Chu! I hope you fail in all your new endeavors.

RE: In other words...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2013 3:38:46 PM , Rating: 3
This guy truly deserves a bullet to the face. He's in charge of this countries energy for over 4 years while we have prolonged record high gas prices, electricity rates skyrocketing, and everything else. Meanwhile, like every Socialist, he's more concerned with pie in the sky bullshit like EV's and solar power that have no chance in hell of meeting the immediate needs of the population. And he's given BILLIONS of dollars while the country is bankrupt and millions are out of work, to companies who haven't done a goddamn thing in return.

What kind of Asian is he anyway!? When one fails this completely, aren't they supposed to kill themselves or something? (warning morbid/racial humor, oh the horror)

"You know, in certain older civilized cultures, when men failed as entirely as you have, they would throw themselves on their swords."

The Operative, Serenity 2005

RE: In other words...
By coondini on 2/4/13, Rating: -1
RE: In other words...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2013 5:47:42 PM , Rating: 3
fossil fuel-powered big-ass trucks and SUVs

Hey the 1990's just called, they want their tired worn-out Liberal talking points back.

RE: In other words...
By Spuke on 2/4/2013 6:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
slowly chugging along with our fossil fuel-powered big-ass trucks and SUVs
Is this all you people have for an argument? Seriously, there's no facts to this and it's just plain lame. A simple Google search (ever heard of that?) would reveal ACTUAL auto sales data. That sales data refutes large SUV's ever being a factor in overall sales here in the US. Sure Ford has the number one selling vehicle of all time for the last 30 years straight and it's their F-series pickups but all the rest of the cars in the top 10 combined outsell the Ford pickups. It only takes a child with basic reading skills to see that Americans VASTLY prefer cars and have done so for many years. Also, the VAST majority of the engines in those cars are the base engine which is typically a 4 cylinder. Quite frankly, I find people like YOU to be WORSE than people on the other side of the argument cause you claim to have our best interests. It reminds of the saying, "many mean well as they're sending you to hell". Personally, I'd rather be getting a suntan with Satan than to spend one minute with assholes like yourself.

RE: In other words...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2013 6:06:43 PM , Rating: 3
lol yeah pretty much. Maybe he sees Hummers everywhere he goes and gas guzzling trucks, but I sure don't.

Of course like most Liberals, he's probably living in mom's basement without a job so doesn't get out much. But he's really good at telling those who do, what they should be paying for.

Those that can't do.......Teach.
By GotThumbs on 2/4/2013 4:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
He said only 1 percent of the 1,300 companies filed for bankruptcy.

But lets take a closer look and factor in the % of money those bankrupt companies received of the total pot?

Hey, when it's not your money...its' easy to be flippant about losing millions of other peoples money. Never let the government invest your retirement money.

The old adage truly applies with this guy. Those that can't do....teach. That's why this guy is only destined to go back to teaching. I say we start charging him $5.00 a gallon for gas, since He feels Americans should be paying that.

By rdhood on 2/5/2013 12:01:52 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, when it's not your money...its' easy to be flippant about losing millions of other peoples money. Never let the government invest your retirement money.

Hmm... should read "about losing BILLIONS of other peoples money".

By conquistadorst on 2/5/2013 9:22:28 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a strong supporter of green energy, I would absolutely love to see greater adoption and market penetration but it's just not making a whole lot of economic sense right now. I think the money would be better spent pushing research than funding corporations. So saying things like, "oh I doubled green energy output in 4 years" screams ignorance when the whole endeavor is not even economically viable. You remove the subsidies from any of the green energy markets anywhere in the world and that market goes poof overnight, that's a scary thought. That says a lot. I myself have been waiting a decade for the right moment to install solar panels and the prospect is still a bit ridiculous where I live. Even after its cost being 50% subsidized it still takes me 12-15 years just to break even - not counting the tax dollars being handed to me for free, and the subsequent extra maintenance costs associated with my house. DESIGN ME SOMETHING I CAN INSTALL MYSELF and I'll save 50% of the cost without using everyone's tax dollars!

Perhaps in another 20 years, when either the cost of fossil fuels or their respective taxes really start raping us.

Look at Hawai'i for example, a majority of their residential homes have solar panels because the cost of electricity there is so high. But the rest of the world isn't like that, yet.

RE: Actually...
By Yeah on 2/5/2013 10:47:02 AM , Rating: 2
And Just to add to this- in my state, you don't even get any energy kickbacks/discount/payback if you put energy back into the grid. So theres no reason to heft the huge initial pay out of putting in solar panels when the energy company wont pay you back anything for giving THEM your energy ' double standards eh? ' Yet you are required to hook into the grid if you put in solar panels. WTF ????

By roykahn on 2/4/2013 7:36:20 PM , Rating: 2
Could we also compare the government subsidies/grants/tax incentives to the automotive industry, agribusinesses, oil companies, nuclear industry? They are contributing to the polluting of our environment and will only make the clean-up efforts more expensive. Think about the long-term effects because politicians sure as hell don't.

Better then hedge funds!
By danjw1 on 2/4/13, Rating: -1
RE: Better then hedge funds!
By Keeir on 2/4/2013 2:56:06 PM , Rating: 3
The DOE has done way better then the average hedge fund.

Maybe post some links with analysis?

RE: Better then hedge funds!
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2013 3:49:51 PM , Rating: 4
Hey, asshole, last time I checked hedge funds aren't using the taxpayers money.

I believe he did a good job for the American People.

And you're basing this on what? This country has a looming energy crisis on the horizon, gas prices are through the roof. I mean exactly what metric are you using to say he's done a "good" job.

So there was much ado about the failures, but the press pretty much ignored the successes.

The press which has been 100% (outside of Fox) in the tank for Obama, has carried his message as if it was their own, has obediently played down scandal after scandal...has now IGNORED the successes?? HAHA ok idiot, sure.

RE: Better then hedge funds!
By coondini on 2/4/2013 5:27:51 PM , Rating: 2
Gas prices are "through the roof?" They're actually lower than they were this time last year. Not exactly what I'd call through the roof.

RE: Better then hedge funds!
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2013 5:32:38 PM , Rating: 1
Still too high. In my day you could get a Chinese hooker, a pack of smokes, and fill your car up all night long for what a single gallon costs today!

RE: Better then hedge funds!
By Mint on 2/4/2013 8:34:22 PM , Rating: 2
We can't do anything about oil prices. It's an international good with very inelastic demand, and half of production is controlled by a cartel.

If the US produced more, OPEC will produce less to keep prices at this level. They all want $90+/bbl oil, and they have enough cooperation that few are breaking their quotas.

The best you can hope for is a GTL or biodiesel technological revolution to drive down prices in 5-10 years.

RE: Better then hedge funds!
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/13, Rating: 0
RE: Better then hedge funds!
By homebredcorgi on 2/5/2013 3:23:19 AM , Rating: 2
Huh? How would cutting our oil imports make the price of oil go down? I assume you mean that we would make up the difference in domestic production, but you assume (incorrectly) that because it is produced domestically, it will be cheaper (?). The only way that would happen is if you nationalize one of the oil companies....The original poster was claiming OPEC would cut its production to keep prices higher (they have done this several times), not increase their production, as you stated. But go on and continue your tirade about liberals before you can even complete a logical statement.

Oil is sold on a global market. The USA accounts for roughly 10% of global oil production. It would take significant effort to increase this production to a point that one could flood the global market and force the price down. As the original poster said, OPEC countries can just cut their production to keep global supply levels steady (they make up a large majority of oil producers). Furthermore, much of our new production is in shale or deep ater, which becomes economically un-viable if the price heads gets too low.

If you really want to talk oil prices, get hard limits on oil futures trading and reign in speculators that have taken over the market.

RE: Better then hedge funds!
By maugrimtr on 2/5/2013 9:37:09 AM , Rating: 2
Reclaimer has watched too much Fox News so his brain cannot handle the idea that Oil is a global resource traded globally where the US is, in reality, a minor player. Domestic supply also does not reduce prices since any company is required, as a duty to its shareholders under law, to sell that Oil for the best price possible, i.e. the global price.

The point of domestic Oil supply is not to decrease price (OPEC would disagree with any such mechanism and restrict production as necessary) but to increase energy security, i.e. ensuring the US has a domestic supply in the event of anything interfering with or restricting foreign supplies (e.g. Iran blockading the Straits of Hormuz).

I'm also curious about his shock. The US has directly engineered increasing Oil prices by meddling in the Middle East (uncertainty breeds speculation which breeds volatile prices). There is also unprecedented demand from developing nations like China which will push up price (basic economics). Short of nuking Asia, oil prices are going to increase except for those times when OPEC increases supply to level off the surge.

Believing in obvious lies is just telling of some people's ignorance and inability to think for themselves.

RE: Better then hedge funds!
By mdogs444 on 2/5/2013 6:15:35 AM , Rating: 2
Nonsense. Gas prices are the highest they have ever been for this time of year.

RE: Better then hedge funds!
By ebakke on 2/4/2013 4:03:58 PM , Rating: 3
The DOE has done way better then the average hedge fund.
I get to choose if my money goes to a hedge fund. I do not get to choose if my money goes to the DoE. For that reason alone their roles should be entirely different, their goals should be entirely different, and their outcomes should be entirely different. Comparing government agency spending to private investment funds screams: YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG

RE: Better then hedge funds!
By fic2 on 2/4/2013 4:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
Not too mention when a hedge fund does have a winner they get a piece of the pie - usually a big piece. When we taxpayers "get" to fund a winner by dart board happenstance we don't get a piece of the pie. If we are lucky we get the original money back.

RE: Better then hedge funds!
By Dorkyman on 2/6/2013 12:11:19 PM , Rating: 1
Just a minor observation, but Dan, why should I pay much attention to your comment if you can't use the English language properly?

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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