Steven Chu, the Energy Secretary nominee for the Obama administration, told a congressional committee this week that he while he supports nuclear and clean coal energy sources, he believes that the best way to approach energy right now is to promote efficiency.
Chu noted that the typical American family doesn’t have the resources to pay for costly energy in the face of the current economy. “I feel very strongly what the American family does not want is to pay an increasing fraction of their budget on energy costs. That we do the best we can on energy efficiency–that, in my mind, remains the lowest hanging fruit.”
Part of the department’s budget should go toward developing better batteries to make electric hybrid cars more sensible, he suggested. And federal loans should help jump-start the nuclear industry and create long-term plans for waste and recycling.
Committee Chair Jeff Bingaman embraced Chu’s plans and hopes the committee can vote quickly on his appointment so he can be confirmed by the entire senate on January 20, when Obama takes office. If confirmed, Chu – a Nobel Prize winning physicist – will be appointed at what Bingaman calls “a pivotal time in the department’s history.”
Chu would be just one member of Obama’s “green team,” which has been applauded by many environmental experts.