Gov. Jennifer Granholm Will Turn the Department of Energy into a Job-Creation Powerhouse
Following her confirmation hearing, Energy Secretary Designate, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, provided detailed written responses to questions for the record (QFRs) submitted by members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a number of key energy policy issues. Lots of people pay attention to how a nominee answers questions on the spot. But these less-discussed QFR responses, which are approved by both the agency and the White House, often provide a more telling indication of where an Administration wants to go on policy, and where items will fall on its priority list. Third Way read through all 67 pages of these responses and summarized them below so you don’t have to.
Gov. Granholm reinforced the Biden Administration’s focus on turning parts of the Department of Energy into an every-clean-energy-technology innovation and job-creation power house. And, yes, she placed this in the context of the Administration’s whole-of-government approach to clean energy and climate change.
- Jobs: Secretary-designate Granholm made it clear in her hearing and her QFRs that the Department of Energy under her leadership will focus on growing jobs while decreasing climate pollution.
- Innovation: She is committed to investing in clean energy R&D “to drive down the cost of emissions-free technologies so that they are competitive with any other energy source” thus lowering the cost for Americans and diversifying the US energy mix.
- New Fuels and Technologies: This also includes a commitment to innovative technologies like hydrogen and geothermal, confirming her commitment to continue existing DOE programs that will make these technologies cheaper and expanding the US suite of emissions free power sources.
- Batteries: Granholm discussed the need for greater US investment in battery storage. Today approximately one third of all US battery production is in Michigan, due to her leadership as the state’s governor. This will be increasingly important as both the private and public sector focus on transitioning away from gas-powered vehicles over the next 10-15 years.
- EV Manufacturing in the US: Her expertise with the auto industry in Michigan will be integral as we seek to build out a nation-wide, equitable, electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure over the coming decade. She wrote that would also mean working across the federal government to ensure a manufacturing base for EVs and jobs for U.S. workers in the transition to an electrified transportation system.
- Advanced Nuclear: Granholm identified several technologies that offered opportunities for job growth including the nuclear industry. Recognizing the growing demand for the energy source around the world, she said, “I will support the whole-of-government approach and work with my counterparts across the Interagency and with Congress to empower the U.S. nuclear industry to develop, demonstrate, and export American-made nuclear technology.”
- She highlighted the DOE’s successful Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program as one vehicle to achieve a broader portfolio of new reactors.
- Carbon Capture: In addition to both existing and advanced nuclear, Secretary-designate Granholm identified carbon capture utilization and storage as a technology of great promise in being able to decarbonize the industrial sector including cement, steel, hydrogen production, and refining industries. And she stated her commitment to increasing the pace of deployment for direct air capture.
We are looking forward to working with this bold, pragmatic, and thoughtful leader, who has a proven track record of working with various groups and stakeholders to create jobs, bolster new industries, and improve American competitiveness. From helping to electrify the transportation sector, to supporting emerging and existing carbon-free technologies, the new Secretary will have her work cut out for her, but we have no doubt she is up to this monumental and critical task.