U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu on the way out

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu is leaving his post in President Barack Obama’s second term, according to a Bloomberg report citing sources familiar with the matter.

Announcement of Chu’s departure is expected next week, said the sources who requested not to be named. Energy Department spokesman Bill Gibbons said in an e-mail that Chu hasn’t made any announcement about his future plans.

Chu is the latest cabinet official to be leaving. Earlier, State Secretary Hillary Clinton, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson announced their resignation.

Chu’s departure leave’s Obama without people in three departments implementing his energy and environmental policies.

Chu, 64, was a career scientist and co-winner of the Nobel Prize for physics when he joined the Cabinet in January 2009, according to Bloomberg. He is known for championing renewable energy projects during his term. Wind- and solar-power generation doubled during Obama’s first term as Chu promoted investments in alternative and renewable energy.

Chu also made his department work more closely with industry to bring the technologies to market and promoted promoting the Advanced Research Projects Agency in backing new energy technologies, according to Joshua Freed, vice president for clean energy at the Third Way.

But Chu’s endorsement in 2009 of a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra tarnished his image as the solar energy company went bankrupt two years later. The collapse of Solyndra was investigated by Congress as Republicans charged that the loan benefitted the company’s main shareholder, who is a supporter of Obama. The investigation failed to prove the allegations.

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