WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden will select former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to be Secretary of Energy, according to multiple news reports.
Granholm, 61, was attorney general of Michigan from 1999 to 2003 and the 47th Governor of Michigan from 2003 to 2011. She was the first woman to serve as Michigan’s governor, where she made clean energy development a hallmark of her administration.
With a budget of roughly $31 billion and a workforce of about 14,000, the Department of Energy regulates the nation’s varied energy portfolio, including fossil fuels and renewable sources such as solar, and nuclear energy.
Granholm is experienced in dealing with the auto industry, which could come as an advantage to Biden’s administration, as he seeks to make clean energy a priority in his administration including efforts to increase fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks.
Much of the department’s focus involves development of cutting-edge fuel sources that could play an important role in Biden’s pledge to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions produced by coal, oil and gas.
The department also regulates the minimum energy efficiency of light bulbs and appliances, such as washers and dryers – everyday consumer items that collectively contribute to the carbon footprint that has added to the planet’s warming temperatures.
Since she left the governor’s mansion, Granholm has been involved in several initiatives focused on transforming the nation’s energy industry from one focused on fossil fuels to one expanding renewable sources, such as wind and solar.
She founded the American Jobs Project, a 30-state multi-university research project focused on advanced manufacturing jobs in clean energy.
Scott Segal, partner at the Washington law firm Bracewell LLP, which represents energy sector clients, said he wasn’t surprised by the choice of the former governor.
“Granholm is well positioned to run DOE,” he said. “She has been a leader in the clean energy transition back in Michigan, addressing some of the same key issues that will confront development and implementation of the Biden plan. In addition, she learned power sector issues by working with some of the most sophisticated utilities in the nation.”
Granholm was also on President Barack Obama’s shortlist to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens in 2010.
She is the third woman to be selected to Biden’s cabinet, thus far. Others include Janet Yellen for Treasury Secretary and Marcia Fudge for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
POLITICO first reported the selection of Granholm.