Update: Industry Responds to Karsner Departure
July 31, 2008
With the announcement that Alexander "Andy" Karsner, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, is departing his position at the end of August, industry is responding with appreciation for his leadership and initiatives.
In an article on Greenwire, an energy news Web site, observers described him as "bringing a private-sector focus to public programs."
The piece further stated that, "[Karsner] led efforts to boost the use of biofuels like ethanol for transportation; speed the adoption of compact fluorescent light bulbs; push for more wind and solar energy use; keep a focus on hydrogen fuel cells, among others; and set a framework for significant reductions in the federal government's own energy use."
Randy Swisher, head of the American Wind Energy Association, gave Karsner credit for "spearheading the publication last year of an outline to how the nation could get 20 percent of its electricity from wind." He was quoted as saying, "In my mind it provides the wind community with a roadmap for many years to come."
Karsner was also praised by the biofuels industry, which has seen "tremendous expansion during Karsner's tenure." Brent Erickson, head of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, said Karsner "energized" cooperation between industry and the federal government.
Erikson was quoted as saying, "Andy brought the perspective of an investor to his duties and helped create an environment that will accelerate the commercialization of cellulosic and other advanced biofuels. He recognized that the government can send potent market signals to investors by not only supporting the rapid advancement of research and development but more importantly by helping build commercial-scale facilities to demonstrate cellulosic technologies."
Karsner was further praised by Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman for his work in establishing the Entrepreneur in Residence program, an initiative to enlist venture capitalists in commercializing the work of the National Laboratories.
For more, read the Greenwire article (subscription required).
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced on July 31 that Assistant Secretary Alexander "Andy" Karsner, of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, would depart his position at the end of August.
Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman released the following statement regarding this announcement:
"Andy has served with tireless dedication and tremendous leadership as the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for more than two and a half years. He has played a key role in the administration's efforts to engage the private sector in advancing and deploying efficiency and renewable energy technologies. He has been instrumental in accelerating the research and development of cellulosic biofuels, solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal power, as well as advanced vehicle battery storage and hydrogen fuel cells. Andy's extraordinary leadership has helped pave the way to make the U. S. more environmentally healthy and energy secure by pursuing sustainable energy sources that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on foreign oil.
"Andy's impressive experience and relationship with the private sector has been a tremendous asset to commercializing, clean, efficient, greenhouse gas reducing technologies. His work to open our national labs to faster flows of technology transfer through creation of the 'Entrepreneur in Residence' Program greatly enhanced the public sector's engagement with the private market.
"In another exceptional effort Andy saw to it that the Department led by example, establishing the Transformational Energy Action Management or 'TEAM' Initiative, which aimed to reduce our energy intensity and lower emissions across the nationwide DOE-built environment by 30%. This project serves as an example of how the Federal Government can attain energy savings in a short timeframe.
"Andy's passionate commitment, business-like effectiveness, untiring zeal, and drive will be missed. The work he performed during his tenure here will benefit us all in the future. I wish him the very best in his future endeavors."
Assistant Secretary Karsner said, "It has been among the greatest honors of my life to have been asked by President Bush to serve the American people, under the leadership of Secretary Bodman. I have full faith that our nation has the capacity to lead the world to innovate, invest, and deploy efficient, clean, green, renewable, and secure energy. I hope we have made a lasting difference putting fundamental building blocks of policy and technology in place for those who follow and for our children's sake; a new generation that deserves to inherit their chance at an American dream, while enjoying a stronger, more secure, healthy, and more environmentally sound future. That is the mission of the Department's dedicated federal employees and I have been so privileged to serve among them.
"One of the greatest aspects of our country is the potential of our capital markets to commercialize and scale new technologies at a rate that is consequential. With meaningful policy and leadership in place, the United States is now on track to be a global leader in clean energy technology development, deployment, and diffusion, transforming global challenges into economic opportunity. But it will take the sustained multigenerational collaborative efforts and leadership of policy makers, our entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and commercial developers, and a robust response capital markets to bring about the transformation our nation seeks and our world needs. I am proud to have been with the Department at such a pivotal time of change in our energy and environmental thinking."
As the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Karsner manages the Nation's $1.72 billion applied science, research, development, and deployment portfolio; and bears primary responsibility for education, conservation, regulation and efficient use of energy. He also is the administration's point on efforts regarding the Advanced Energy Initiative to rebalance clean energy research and development portfolios, including the "Twenty in Ten" Vision to reduce gasoline consumption, the most aggressive alternative fuel standards, as well as the highest efficiency standards for vehicles, lighting, and the built environment ever proposed and enacted. Karsner has been a principal contributor to achieving the "Bali Roadmap" under the U.N. Convention and the Administration's Major Economies Meetings process toward achieving a post-2012 international climate change and energy security framework, as well as other multilateral agreements.
Karsner was instrumental in the successful effort to pass the landmark Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, testifying more than 20 times in support of the bipartisan agreement. Previously, Karsner was a private sector energy developer and international entrepreneur on a wide range of technologies and fuel sources. He received an MA from Hong Kong University and graduated with Honors from Rice University.
Assistant Secretary Karsner's departure will be effective August 31, 2008.