Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced his departure on Friday. Here are the candidates on the short list to replace him:
- Daniel Poneman, deputy secretary of Energy. Poneman has served as deputy Energy secretary since 2009. The Harvard graduate has a Washington-centric resume: He joined the Energy Department as a White House fellow in 1989, followed that posting with a stint at the National Security Council, where he focused on arms control, nonproliferation, and export controls, and worked as a principal of The Scowcroft Group, a business advisory firm.
- Tom Steyer, hedge-fund founder. Steyer is the founder of massive hedge fund Farallon Capital Management, from which he retired last year. The billionaire Democratic donor spoke at the Democratic National Convention in September and has been active in California politics, including a campaign against a ballot measure that would stop the imposition of strict clean-energy standards in the state.
- Jim Rogers, utility-industry CEO. Rogers is the president and CEO of Charlotte-based Duke Energy. His Washington chops include a stint at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and as a partner at the law office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. His company biography describes him as a “CEO Statesman,” referring to his experience testifying before Congress and addressing international forums like the U.N. General Assembly. He also played a central role in President Obama’s effort to push a climate-change bill through Congress. Rogers has been a CEO in the utility industry for more than two decades.
- Byron Dorgan, former senator from North Dakota. The Democrat served for years on the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee and also chaired the Appropriations subcommittee charged with overseeing the Energy Department’s budget. According to his website, Dorgan is now “teaching, writing, consulting, and serving on a number of Boards of Directors.” The former lawmaker advocates clean energy—but also supports the oil and gas fracking boom that brought economic prosperity to the Peace Garden State.
- Bill Ritter, former Colorado governor. Ritter led a push for a “new energy economy” when he was governor from 2006 to 2010. Today, he heads Colorado State University's Center for the New Energy Economy, a privately funded initiative supporting clean energy in the United States.
- Christine Gregoire, former Washington governor. Gregoire, who just wrapped up her gubenatorial tenure, is steeped in experience in energy and environmental issues. Sources close to the administration say she is being considered for one of three Cabinet-level jobs, one of which is Energy secretary. She is also a contender for either Interior secretary or head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Dan Reicher and John Podesta, former Clinton administration officials. Reicher was Clinton’s assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Podesta was Clinton’s chief of staff. Today, Reicher is the executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University and Podesta chairs (and founded) the liberal think tank Center for American Progress in Washington. If nominated to replace Chu, their progressive backgrounds could make for a tough Senate confirmation process.
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