The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Ernie Moniz: An Inspired Choice for DOE Secretary

Our industry should rally behind anyone who knows how to spell "photovoltaic." Especially at the DOE, which is a large, complex, slow-moving, virtually radioactive bureaucracy. Not only can Dr. Moniz spell photovoltaic, he's demonstrated the engineering, policy and management skills that it takes to succeed at the head of the DOE. And if his track record is any indication, he'll be terrific for the next stage of the solar industry's growth.

Editor's Note: Multiple sources are reporting that Ernie Moniz is to be nominated as the next energy secretary.

According to the DOE website, their mission is "...to assure America's security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions." Of the DOE's $27.2 billion 2013 budget request, 66% is directed towards nuclear energy. Specifically, $11.5 billion is for the National Nuclear Security Administration, $5.8 billion goes towards nuclear waste clean up, $5 billion is directed towards "Science" and $2.3 billion is for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

With their budget and DNA so closely tied to the nuclear industry, it's no surprise that Dr. Moniz is a nuclear physicist. He also has the right policy credentials; he served as DOE Under Secretary from 1997 to 2001, and Associate Director in the Office of Science and Technology from 1995 to 1997. As Director of the MIT Energy Initiative, he's successfully combined multidisciplinary research with technically sound policy. He's practical, and knows we need technologies such as fracked natural gas as a bridge to a renewable future.

Enough of the formal bio. What does Dr. Moniz know about solar? He's on the Board of Advisors of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems. He's advised a number of solar finance and technology companies. He's actively supported solar technology projects alongside hydrocarbon production within the MIT Energy Initiative. He "gets" the practical realities of solar R&D. Although more research is needed into solar, what we really need is development — and especially deployment. 

Four years ago solar panels were $4/watt. At the time we needed cheaper solar equipment to make the economics work for customers. Now, with panels less than $1/watt and likely to stay that way, the emphasis in the solar industry has shifted towards getting glass on the roof. Of course, there are still plenty of opportunities for technology R&D. Sunshot funding initiatives are looking at clever ways to reduce soft costs — as well as driving panel and inverter prices even lower. But the focus now must be on deployment, where the obstacles are more political than technical.

Obsolete or simply inappropriate policies are the biggest barrier to widespread solar adoption in the U.S. We need to solve financing problems, permitting problems, and interconnection problems for systems of all sizes. Secretary Chu did a yeoman's job on behalf of the solar industry as solar panels went from expensive to cheap (and he’s got the scars to prove it). Now we need someone who has extensive engineering knowledge to stand up to incumbent energy providers when they complain that solar doesn't work, is unsafe or simply too expensive. Dr. Moniz has the right combination of DC political skills coupled with practical energy technology knowledge. He has the demonstrated ability to put the right policies in place — policies that won't require a huge new funding initiative for the solar industry.

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Study Reveals Room for Sales Response Improvement in Growing Solar Industry

Scott Ankley Solar installations have grown by more than 600 percent across both residential and commercial properties in the past...

Why Renewable Energy in Latin America is a Winner

Carlos Candiales Renewable energy in Latin America has made some important gains over the last decade and seems positioned to continue...

Solar Cell Efficiency Could Double with Novel “Green” Antenna

Renewable Energy World Editors The use of solar energy in the U.S. is growing, but panels on rooftops are still a rare sight. They cost thousands of...

LG Chem: Storage Battery Leader

Debra Fiakas The post “Energy Storage Restart,” which was published last week, discussed the efforts by General Electric (GE: NYSE...

PRESS RELEASES

OFS Announces Commercial Availability of InvisiLight® MDU Optical Solution for Multiple Dwelling Units

OFS, a leading-edge designer, manufacturer and supplier of innovative fiber optic netwo...

Intersolar AWARD „Solar Projects in India“ – Applications being accepted until September 18

The Intersolar AWARD in the category Solar Projects in India honors projects in the fie...

New local energy partnership brings innovative solar tracker to Washington State

A new partnership will bring the innovative AllEarth Solar Tracker solar electric syste...

30 days to GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) has announced that it is only 30 days to go to t...

FEATURED BLOGS

Cronimet / THEnergy study: In solar for mines size does not always matter - Reducing CAPEX with energy efficiency and load shifting

Munich, September 2015. Mining companies are constantly gaining interest in solar solutions because frequently solar ...

Final Program Now Available for GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo - Final Program from

Vacancy? No Problem!

Have you ever tried to sell an efficiency product or service to a prospect that owns or manages a building with high ...

Shedding Some Light on a Taxing Situation for Community-Shared Solar

For renters and for property owners with inadequate roof space, the many benefits of solar electricity may seem out o...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. He is the host of the weekly Energy Show on KLIV radio and Renewable Energy World. Based on decades of hands-on installation experience, M...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

6th Annual Europe Electricity Ancillary Services and Balancing Forum

Ensuring a smarter electricity market for efficient operations within a ...

International Energy and Sustainability Conference 2015

The fourth International Energy and Sustainability Conference will be he...

COMPANY BLOGS

Europe Leading Tidal Development, but US and Asia Catching Up

New analysis from market research and analysis firm Frost & Sullivan...

A Mind Trick For Call Reluctance

The more you think of yourself as the connection between a product or se...

Come check out Lumos at Solar Power International 2015!

The Lumos 2015 trade shows started off with a bang at Dwell on Design. W...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS