Feb 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate confirms former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as energy secretary

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate voted 64-35 on Thursday to confirm former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as secretary of the Department of Energy.

Why it matters: Granholm, only the second woman to head the department, will play a key role in President Biden’s efforts to accelerate the U.S. shift to clean energy and help other countries do the same.

  • Granholm said she hopes to strengthen solar and wind power usage, and to boost the development of clean-energy technologies, like electric vehicles.

The big picture: Granholm served two terms as Michigan's governor from 2003 to 2011, during which she focused on boosting the auto and manufacturing sectors.

  • She served as Michigan's attorney general from 1998 to 2002.
  • Granholm has also worked as an adviser to Pew Charitable Trusts’ Clean Energy Program.

The bottom line: Granholm's experience working with the auto industry, especially its venture into electric vehicles, is viewed as an important asset in fulfilling Biden's climate agenda.

  • While serving as governor of Michigan, Granholm secured $1.35 billion in federal funding for factories in her auto-focused state to produce electric vehicles, Reuters notes.

What we’re watching: Whether Granholm can help persuade congressional Republicans to back Biden’s call to greatly boost funding for clean tech research and development and commercialization programs.

Go deeper: Biden ushers in historical turn on clean energy and climate change


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