Check the facts: Rick Perry has what it takes to lead Energy Department
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I am a strong supporter of expanding research and development of clean energy and I believe former Gov. Rick PerryRick PerryRepublicans are the 21st-century Know-Nothing Party College football move rocks Texas legislature Trump tries to spin failed Texas endorsement: 'This was a win' MORE (R-Texas) will be a good leader for the Department of Energy (DOE).

According to most people, Perry will be terrible for renewable energy.


But, if his detractors took a moment to review the former governor’s record, they would see that he has an immense amount of experience that qualifies him to run the DOE, including expanding development of renewable energy and working to make America more energy independent.

Perry is most prominently known as a proponent of oil and gas, but his Texas legacy focused on the deployment of new technology and innovative energy solutions, including renewable energy. 

In his January 2015 farewell speech to the Texas Legislature, Rick Perry reflected on the role that horizontal slant drilling, which obtained numerous investments by the DOE, played in driving economic change for Texas.  

He specifically highlighted the economic and environmental benefits of deploying more energy from wind turbines in Texas, noting that Texas alone deployed more energy from wind turbines than all but five countries in the world over his tenure as governor.  

Since over 40 percent of DOE’s 2017 Fiscal Year budget request comprises expenditures on the development and deployment of innovative energy solutions, Perry’s experience in successfully removing market barriers, deploying new energy technology, and updating aging infrastructure via free market principles will be immensely beneficial for DOE.  

Specifically, Perry can help to develop a policy to revitalize DOE’s 17 National Labs, improve existing DOE programs, and help foster pragmatic policy that drives solutions for U.S. energy reliability and independence. 

In Perry’s presidential campaign announcement speech, he stated that Texas was an engine of growth because of a simple policy formula and that, during his tenure as governor, Texas companies created almost one-third of all new American jobs.  

He elaborated on his economic development approach for energy in his farewell speech by stating, “In Texas, we have chosen jobs. We have chosen energy security, and we will one day end America’s dependence on hostile sources of foreign energy.” 

Perry’s experience developing and executing a wide-ranging energy strategy to drive economic prosperity for Texas aligns with DOE’s mission to drive energy development and deployment for the U.S.  

Specifically, Perry’s gubernatorial experience, in combination with the statutory underpinning of DOE Programs such as ARPA-E and the DOE Loan Program Office, can help America regain its position as a global leader in both clean and traditional energy, and prosper from the increasing global demand for such.

While it’s evident that Perry is qualified as Secretary of Energy with regard to energy deployment and economic development, his detractors claim he is not scientifically qualified to oversee the remaining 50-60 percent of DOE’s $30 billion annual budget.  

His detractors focus on his lack of scientific qualifications given the academic pedigree of his recent predecessors. However, the position was held by people without a science or engineering degree from the 1970’s to 2005.

Many of them didn’t have the extensive experience and proven results Perry has in the energy sector. In other words, this is a false attack that disregards the facts. 

Perry has the energy policy experience and the proven track record to lead the DOE into the 21st Century with clean energy development. He'll create a more energy independent America and that is who we need as the secretary of energy. 


Taite McDonald specializes in clean energy technology development and is a senior policy advisor at Holland & Knight.


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