But he also acknowledged that getting energy legislation through Congress will not be an easy task.
“We do have to work with this Congress, as challenging as that will be,” he said, adding that the administration can take a number of steps using existing authorities.
Obama has outlined a goal of cutting the country’s dependence on oil imports by one-third by 2025. While there is bipartisan support for the goal, lawmakers remain divided on how to reach it.
House Republicans passed three bills in recent weeks aimed at a dramatic expansion of offshore oil drilling. The bills face major hurdles in the Senate, where Democrats are pushing legislation to slash billions in tax breaks for the largest oil companies.
Holdren, in his remarks at the energy conference, also stressed the importance of educating consumers about their energy choices.
“It is a matter of education to let people know that they have 30 percent of our energy usage in their hands,” Holdren said. “It is important for people to understand that they can make a difference.”
Holdren said it’s important to boost science and math education in order to build a “more technology-savvy workforce.”
“We’re trying in various ways to reach out with informational materials. But we’re also trying to lift our game in science, technology and mathematics education,” he said.
Holdren has previously lamented what he called an “education” problem in the United States on climate change.