Chu navigated energy policy through changing tides in U.S. production
In February 2009, shortly after becoming President Obama's secretary of Energy, Steven Chu responded haltingly to policy questions in his first session with the oil-obsessed Washington press corps. The U.S. economy was in a tailspin, reporters said. Oil prices had hit an all-time high the summer before, but had fallen sharply. Would the administration challenge efforts by Saudi Arabia to cut oil production? Should the United States continue refilling its Strategic Petroleum Reserve? For much of the past hour, Chu had expounded on the administration's broad goals to advance renewable energy through the use of science and technology and to slash demand for carbon-based fuels like coal and oil. Clean energy technology was what the Nobel Prize-winning scientist and former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California wanted to talk about.