Monday, November 15, 2010

For energy chief, race is on to find fuel alternatives

It's a stunning fall morning in Washington, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, clad in bike shorts and a snug Stanford University biking shirt, climbs onto his Colnago bicycle and rolls down his leafy street and onto the Capital Crescent Trail. Then it's a 20-minute sprint to downtown Washington. Chu's nearly two years as energy secretary have been a sprint of sorts. Until last year, the department spent most of its time and its $26 billion budget as caretaker of the nation's nuclear waste and weapons stockpile. But with rising concerns about climate change and the nation's economy hanging on a precipice, Chu was effectively made the green-energy czar. The stimulus bill gave the agency an extra $36 billion for grants and low-interest loans to jump-start new technologies and greater energy efficiency. More>