This morning, President Obama announced his nomination of MIT physics professor Ernest Moniz to head up the US Department of Energy. Renewable energy advocates were dismayed at the appointing of the nuclear physicist, who wanted a leader with roots in green energy. But Obama stands by Moniz, whose governmental experience will help him lead the DOE in a time of much tighter budgetary constraints.

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During Obama’s first term, the DOE head was Steven Chu, another physicist. If the nomination is approved, Moniz’s tenure will likely differ greatly from Chu’s experience, who was operating during a time of growing budgets. Moniz will serve with a budgetary challenge, having the task of keeping Obama’s clean energy programs afloat with limited funds, as federal stimulus programs have expired.

The president chose Moniz, an academic, over a business person, as he has the experience to understand the innerworkings of the department, from the physics and weapons labs to renewable energy programs and press relations. Moniz worked as the Under Secretary of Energy from 1997 to 2001, and he also served two years at the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Should the Senate approve Moniz, he could get some flack from environmental groups for his support of natural gas and nuclear energy. But those close to Moniz claim he is a supporter of renewables and will address climate change, and will create a plan to reduce carbon intensity.

Via Green Tech Media

Images by Flickr user jeanbaptisteparis