Chu for Energy: Obama’s boldest move yet

December 14, 2008

That’s right.  Hillary at State was shrewd, almost machiavelian.

But putting Steven Chu at Energy effectively ends five decades of inaction on energy independence and transition to renewables.

It’s not just that he is a highly able and regarded Nobel winning physicist, or that he’s been at the forefront of renewable research for a decade, or that he’s been administering a 1.5B annual budget at Lawrence Berkeley.  Those are definitely welcome qualities to be sure, especially compared to the industry types and career politicians that have held the post recently.

However it is his understanding of how industry and academia can work together that will prove most valuable.  He negotiated a 500 million partnership between Berkeley and BP, and navigated through the touchy IP issues, with many critics at Berkeley breathing down his neck.

This addresses what I think is the biggest risk to Obama’s energy plan (other than the obvious political opposition by the GOP and oil/gas/coal):  The tendency for industry and academia to distrust each other and not work together openly and timely.

PBS’s News Hour ran a good piece from May 07 this week.

Too bad this announcement was overshadowed by the Blogojevich hoopla.

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