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Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm visits Berkeley Lab

U.S. Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, speaks with scientists in from the Berkeley Lab's Joint Genome Institute.

On her final stop, Secretary Granholm chats with some of our scientists about their work and how the Lab is addressing urgent climate challenges and bringing science solutions to the world. (Credit: Thor Swift, Berkeley Lab)

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm visited the Bay Area today, stopping at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for discussions with Lab scientists on a range of topics, including climate, clean energy and environmental justice.

Granholm was accompanied by U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California’s 13th District and by representatives of U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein’s and Alex Padilla’s offices, and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office.

Top on the agenda for the visit was how Berkeley Lab could support the Biden Administration’s goals for addressing climate change, especially through clean energy science and technology.

After hearing Lab Director Mike Witherell describe Lab’s research supporting the Administration’s Energy Earthshots, Secretary Granholm remarked: “On the climate change side, you guys are providing solutions.”

And on clean energy and hydrogen, she said: “These are going to be projects that will fulfill the President’s EJ40 [Environmental Justice 40] goals in frontline communities. I want to loop the labs into that so that communities will get the benefits of the labs’ expertise.”

Throughout the visit, Granholm expressed strong interest in seeing clean energy technologies deployed quickly, and at scale, referring to the Department of Energy as “the solutions department.”

With California again struggling to cope with severe drought, the Secretary was briefed by researchers leading innovative research to create a more sustainable water future for our state and the nation.

Secretary Granholm, Congresswoman Lee, and Director Witherell met with several early- and mid-career researchers, who offered brief summaries of their work, including research of bioenergy crops, supercomputing and machine learning, improved batteries, eco-friendly plastics, and thanked the scientists for their commitment to public service.

At one point, Secretary Granholm, who once held a project scientist appointment in the Lab’s Energy Technologies Area, referenced her time at the Lab, noting that “I feel like this is my home lab.”

In concluding remarks, Granholm told her Lab hosts that her visit was inspirational and said in a Tweet: “@BerkeleyLab offers the nation the best science and deployment at scale — helping us solve climate challenges and focusing on innovations to make clean energy more affordable while reducing costs for consumers.”

Granholm’s day in the Bay Area was part of a multi-state campaign supporting the widespread adoption of clean energy technologies. Following her visit to Berkeley Lab, she visited a local solar homeowner, met with local officials and spoke with reporters in the City of Berkeley where she announced that 25 Bay Area communities have committed to use DOE’s new SolarAPP+ tool — a free online tool that helps local governments fast track the review and approval of rooftop solar panel installation permits.

Read the photo story here.

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Founded in 1931 on the belief that the biggest scientific challenges are best addressed by teams, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and its scientists have been recognized with 14 Nobel Prizes. Today, Berkeley Lab researchers develop sustainable energy and environmental solutions, create useful new materials, advance the frontiers of computing, and probe the mysteries of life, matter, and the universe. Scientists from around the world rely on the Lab’s facilities for their own discovery science. Berkeley Lab is a multiprogram national laboratory, managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit energy.gov/science.