Biden: 'Energy revolution' calls for more investment in alternatives

Vice President Biden said the United States is having an “energy revolution,” which should spur more investment in renewable energy.

“We’re in the midst of a remarkable energy revolution in this country. It’s turning our energy from a strategic liability to a strategic asset,” Biden said.

Biden gave his remarks at the Energy Department before swearing in Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall as deputy secretary. Sherwood used to work for Biden when he was a senator on the Foreign Relations Committee.

“It seems to me, Mr. Secretary, this gives us room now to do what we should have been doing all along: invest even more in alternative energy,” he said to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “We have the luxury of being able to do so much more now.”

Cheap energy, especially natural gas developed with unconventional processes, is a main factor in manufacturers’ decisions to establish facilities in the United States, Biden said.

He hailed Sherwood-Randall, who most recently was a top adviser to President Obama for defense and weapon non-proliferation.

“Liz has not only the intellect, but the temperament to handle, I believe, any job in this administration,” he said. “I know I’m mildly prejudiced, but I think that’s true.”

Sherwood-Randall started working for Biden shortly after obtaining her doctorate at Oxford University.

“There’s two things you figure about Liz very quickly. One, she’s tougher than you, and two, she’s smarter than you,” he said.

Biden said he’s confident Sherwood-Randall would “continue the good work of this agency and even raise the bar beyond what it already is, and it’s pretty darn high,” he said.

Sherwood-Randall began her new post at the Energy Department earlier this week, replacing Dan Poneman. The Senate confirmed her nomination to the post last month.

“We have a lot to do together,” she told the department’s staff

“From advancing the president’s all-of-the-above energy strategy and Climate Action Plan to ensuring that the nuclear enterprise remains safe, secure and effective and counters proliferation and nuclear terrorism,” she said. “These challenges are larger than one person, larger than one department and worthy of our best. And we’ve got the best.”

She said she looked forward to taking on tough problems related to the department’s missions such as energy research and nuclear weapons.

Sherwood-Randall brought her husband, mother and two sons for the ceremony.