Energy Department to announce Clean Energy Corps, hire 1,000 staffers to work on climate change – The Washington Post

People who join the Clean Energy Corps will pursue projects aimed at accelerating the deployment of clean energy and cutting planet-warming emissions. For example, participants will jump-start an initiative to build thousands of miles of electric transmission lines to carry wind and solar power to communities nationwide.

“It’s truly a remarkable time to be at the Department of Energy as we set off to implement the historic $62 billion in clean energy investments from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. “The launch of our Clean Energy Corps is the latest definitive step along our path to making transformational changes to America’s energy sector and ensuring a clean energy future for all. We’re calling on people of all backgrounds and career levels who understand the urgency of tackling climate change now, and are eager to join the team that is best positioned to do so.”

The corps will include current career staff as well as 1,000 new employees across more than a dozen offices, marking the largest expansion of the Energy Department’s workforce since its establishment in 1977. To recruit people, the department is launching a hiring portal that allows applicants to indicate specific areas of interest, such as public policy, energy finance and legislative affairs.

“There are people in the C-suite that we need to attract to DOE, but there are also people in more junior legislative, policy and project management roles,” Tarak Shah, chief of staff at the Energy Department, told The Climate 202. “So we’re looking for people who have just graduated all the way to people who have been in the energy business for a long time.”

The Department of Homeland Security also announced today that it will create a new program to recruit experts focused on climate change. The two-year program “will be instrumental in helping the Department adapt to our changing climate by providing hands-on experience and guidance to young professionals interested in climate adaptation and resilience,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

“Frankly, we are rather behind the eight ball somewhat in terms of moving out strongly in this decade,” he said. “We have the administration’s 50 to 52 percent reduction goal by 2030, and for that to happen, we’re going to have to really move quickly to start putting these funds to work on effective ways for decarbonization.”

Moniz, who is now president and CEO of the nonprofit Energy Futures Initiative, noted that several offices across the Energy Department work on reducing emissions from transportation, the country’s largest source of greenhouse gases. He said the Clean Energy Corps could bring together staff in different offices to collaborate on decarbonizing transportation and developing advanced fuels such as hydrogen.

Dan Reicher, who was assistant secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy under President Bill Clinton, agreed with that assessment. He noted that staffing levels at the Energy Department dropped under President Donald Trump, whose administration prioritized the production of fossil fuels. 

The number of permanent employees at the Energy Department fell from 13,911 at the beginning of Obama’s second term to 12,461 at the end of Trump’s presidency, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management compiled by Andrew Ba Tran, an investigative data reporter at The Washington Post

“Take the Nord Stream 2 pipeline — it sounds like a good idea for European economies to depend on regional energy suppliers,” Sommers said in his speech at API’s State of American Energy event. “The problem is that when certain foreign governments control your energy, they have the power to use it for their own purposes — not yours. We don’t want to learn that lesson the hard way.”

Three members of Biden’s White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council wrote to White House chief of staff Ron Klain on Monday to raise concerns about how the administration will fulfill its environmental justice goals. In their letter, obtained by Politico, the experts call for the installation of an environmental justice expert at the Climate Policy Office led by Gina McCarthy.