Secretary of Energy speaks to UT community about energy solutions, immigration


Daulton Venglar

Dr. Ernest Moniz, secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, gave a talk in the Avaya Auditorium on Thursday morning. 

Justin Atkinson

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said in a speech Thursday at the University that he attributes progress in the field of renewable energy to the efforts of
immigrant citizens.

“The president has been very clear that immigration will be a major focus this year,” Moniz said. “The Department of Energy can’t avoid that major pushes in the investment of clean energy have come from people who came to this country, were educated in this country and have now contributed to our economy.”

Moniz, who was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before his appointment as secretary of energy, said the development of more efficient energy sources is an important nationwide issue.

“There is no ambiguity about the need to lower greenhouse gas emissions,” Moniz said.  

Moniz, who spoke with engineering students about their ideas on renewable energy, said the solution to clean energy problems will require creating opportunities for various ways to fix the issues.

“There is no single low-carbon solution that will be the magic answer everywhere,” Moniz said. “What we need to do is enable all of the fuels, all of the technologies, to have a marketplace position in a future low-carbon economy.”

University Provost Gregory Fenves said he believes the goals of the University were in sync with those of Moniz’s department.

“When we look at the mission of the Department of Energy and compare that to what we do at the University of Texas, there is tremendous alignment in our education mission, in our research mission, and also in how we get our innovations out to serve the world through entrepreneurship and communication,” Fenves said. 

Engineering professor Michael Webber, who introduced Moniz, said he has been impressed with the secretary’s performance since his appointment in May.

“He works hard, he hustles for the American people and he’s an advocate for energy solutions that stand the test of time,” Webber said. 

Moniz said his department hopes for a more diverse workforce in future years.

“When we look at what is going to be the resource needed to get the kind of energy system we want mid-century, we’re going to need a really good workforce,” Moniz said. “We just don’t have an energy workforce that reflects our demographics and our future demographics.”