Biden names Obama alum as DOE deputy secretary

By Jeremy Dillon | 02/10/2021 01:19 PM EST

President Biden has picked David Turk for deputy secretary of Energy.

President Biden has picked David Turk for deputy secretary of Energy. International Energy Agency

President Biden this morning named David Turk to serve as deputy secretary of Energy, the agency’s No. 2 leadership position.

The nomination of Turk, an Obama administration alumnus and Biden transition official, signals the administration’s international approach on climate and clean energy.

Turk is currently deputy executive director at the International Energy Agency, which has become a source of policy advice to U.S. lawmakers and Department of Energy officials.


"Throughout his tenure at the IEA, Turk has focused on helping countries around the world on their clean energy transitions," the White House said in its announcement. "He has also directed analysis focused on digitalization and energy, hydrogen, and tracking progress on a wide range of clean energy technologies."

Turk served as a deputy on the Energy Agency Review Team, which oversaw the president’s transition efforts at DOE.

His resume includes work during the Obama administration "coordinating international technology and clean energy efforts," the White House highlighted.

Those efforts focused on the launch of Mission Innovation — an international push to complement the Paris climate deal for countries to boost clean energy research and development spending.

That approach would appear to align with Biden’s $2 trillion spending proposal to boost U.S. climate activities and clean energy manufacturing and deployment.

Turk also spent time at the State Department, where he helped coordinate Senate ratification for the New START Treaty with Russia, which limited the proliferation of nuclear weapons between the two countries.

The Biden White House has moved to extend that agreement by five years to enable additional negotiation on weapons between the two countries.

Turk’s State Department tenure during the Obama years included work as deputy special envoy for climate change. He was also active in the National Security Council.

Separately today, Biden announced Julie Su as his nominee for the deputy secretary of Labor. Su is currently secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Prior to that, she served as a California labor commissioner from 2011 through 2018.

"Su is a nationally recognized expert on workers’ rights and civil rights who has dedicated her distinguished legal career to advancing justice on behalf of poor and disenfranchised communities and is a past recipient of a MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ grant," the White House said.