Appointing Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy was one of President Obama’s finest moves. Having a Secretary of Energy focused on energy sources other than fossil fuels is important. Chu gets a lot of flack from fossil fuel folks for not paying attention to “dinosaur” fuel, but the hydrocarbon industry has commanded the government’s attention for about the last 100 years, and they still get plenty of notice and support. But just about everybody knows we can’t stay on the stuff forever, whether you take the national security argument, the environmental angle, or a peak oil view. Having a Nobel prize winning physicist at the helm ensures that the Department start paying attention to the necessity of concentrating on renewable energy while putting the focus more on science and less on politics. The apparatus to deal with hydrocarbons is in place and can function fine without the topmost level of attention.
We live in incredibly exciting times. We are witnessing a slow but true change to new energy paradigms; democracy continues to spread – even in the heart of the Arab world – and on its own accord; 3 billion consumers coming online in China/India/Africa. In a world like this, clean energy and sustainability is going to be more important than ever. Let’s focus on the future.