Last updated on: 2/17/2009 | Author:

Samuel Bodman, ScD Biography

Former US Secretary of Energy
Con to the question "Can Alternative Energy Effectively Replace Fossil Fuels?"

“[S]ince the start of 2007, the Energy Department has announced over $1 billion of investments to spur the growth of a sustainable biofuels industry, with a particular focus on cellulosic biofuels derived from waste streams rather than edible fuel sources. Other areas of emphasis include solar and wind power, geothermal energy, hydrogen fuel cells, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

We are working to ensure that these ‘alternative’ technologies become cost competitive, mainstream energy options by funding innovative R&D programs at our National Laboratories and by partnering with industry and universities. At the same time, we’re collaborating with cities, states, and utilities to integrate new technologies into the marketplace – and into the grid – quickly and efficiently.

Any comprehensive strategy must recognize that our energy challenges have been decades in the making and certainly won’t be resolved overnight. So even as we rightly place a great deal of emphasis on renewable energy and alternative fuels, it is clear that our economy is – and will remain for some time – dependent on fossil energy. We must diversify the available supply of conventional fuels and expand production around the world and here at home– including within a small area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and portions of America’s Outer Continental Shelf – in an environmentally sensitive and efficient manner. Also, we must maintain an adequate liquefied natural gas infrastructure and promote the development of nontraditional fossil fuels like oil shale and oil sands.

Additionally, we must improve and expand the availability of clean-coal technologies. After all, this nation is blessed with an abundant coal supply. Our challenge is to reduce – or perhaps eliminate – its environmental impacts. To that end, the Energy Department is advancing technologies to make carbon capture and storage commercially viable for coal-fired plants. A fundamental factor in the clean energy equation is the need for increased commercial nuclear power. Nuclear energy is the Nation’s largest provider of clean, carbon-free electricity, absent of greenhouse gas emissions or air pollutants. It is the only mature technology readily available to help us meet the extraordinary base load requirements for our Nation’s projected increased electricity demand, and it is a primary component of our clean energy approach. Successful and safe expansion of commercial nuclear power is a priority both at home and abroad.”

“Developing a Cleaner, Sustainable, and More Energy Secure Future,” Washington Times, Apr. 22, 2008

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • US Secretary of Energy, 2005-Jan. 2009
  • Deputy Secretary, US Treasury, 2004-2005
  • Deputy Secretary, US Department of Commerce, 2001-2004
  • Former Chairman, Cabot Corporation
  • President and Chief Operating Officer, Fidelity Investments, 1983-1987
  • Former Technical Director, American Research and Development Corporation
  • Former Director, School of Engineering Practice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Former Member, Executive Investment Committees, MIT
  • Former Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering, MIT
  • ScD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 1965
  • BS, Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 1961
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Can Alternative Energy Effectively Replace Fossil Fuels?