Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who came to the White House leading a push for green energy, but got snarled by the Solyndra bankruptcy, announced his plan to resign on Friday. Chu wrote a long explanation of his decision to Energy Department employees. In the letter Chu seemed to begin by defending his tenure against critics who decried the loans made to the solar company Solyndra under his watch.
“…I believe we should be judged not by the money we direct to a particular State or district, company, university or national lab, but by the character of our decisions.”
Chu laid out a number of accomplishments in promoting renewable energy sources and warned of disturbing climate change weather events that may lie ahead.
“During the three decades from 1980 to 2011, the number of violent storms, floods, droughts, heat waves, wildfires, as tabulated by the reinsurance company Munich Re, has increased more than three-fold. They also estimate that the financial losses follow a trend line that has gone from $40 billion to $170 billion dollars per year. Most of those losses were not insured, and the country suffering the largest losses by far is the United States….While we cannot accurately predict the course of climate change in the coming decades, the risks we run if we don’t change our course are enormous. Prudent risk management does not equate uncertainty with inaction.”
Chu concluded on a positive note, connecting the shale gas revolution to DOE research conducted back in the 1980′s, and forecasting a similar renewable revolution on the horizon.
“The journey that I began with you four years ago will continue for many years. I began my message talking about my vision of what I wanted to do with the Department. Some of those goals have been realized, and we have planted many seeds together. Just as today’s boom in shale gas production was made possible by Department of Energy research from 1978 to 1991, some of the most significant work may not be known for decades. What matters is that our country will reap the benefits of what we have started.
It has been a great honor and privilege to work with all of you.”