A number one candidate for Power secretary within the Biden administration, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall already boasts an endorsement from the president-elect.
Sherwood-Randall has the mind and the temperament to deal with “any job on this administration,” then-Vice President Joe Biden stated in 2014 as he swore in his former Senate aide to a prime job on the Division of Power.
“It was obvious three many years in the past, and he or she’s confirmed [it] day-after-day since,” Biden stated.
The non-public connection may show crucial as Biden considers candidates for the highest put up at DOE. In line with a number of sources, Sherwood-Randall is within the operating, as is former DOE Superior Analysis Initiatives Company-Power Director Arun Majumdar and some others (Energywire, Oct. 5). Even when she does not get the nod for secretary, sources say Sherwood-Randall may play a significant vitality position at DOE or in one other company, particularly on condition that Biden’s Cupboard picks have proven a desire for these he is labored with throughout his lengthy Washington profession.
Boosters say Sherwood-Randall is aware of each workplace in DOE’s sprawling forms after practically three years as deputy secretary to former Secretary Ernest Moniz. They are saying she may assist Biden ship on his promise to remodel the facility grid to all carbon-free vitality by 2035.
“The Biden administration needs to hit the bottom operating with a number of concentrate on what they’ll do on day one,” stated Karen Wayland, who was senior adviser for home vitality coverage to Sherwood-Randall and co-chairs Clear Power for Biden, a gaggle that backed Biden’s marketing campaign. “With the state of the businesses, they’re searching for skilled fingers, and Elizabeth is the entire bundle.”
Biden transition officers declined to remark.
Environmental activists are urgent Biden to nominate local weather hawks throughout his authorities, however Sherwood-Randall’s expertise is basically centered on nationwide and nuclear safety. Sherwood-Randall served within the Obama White Home from 2009 to 2013 as particular assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs on the Nationwide Safety Council.
Nonetheless, two-thirds of DOE’s finances is directed to nuclear safety, together with weapons stockpile upkeep, testing and nonproliferation. It additionally handles waste cleanup at a number of websites throughout the nation.
Wayland argues that along with her nuclear and nationwide safety credentials, Sherwood-Randall additionally dealt with vitality points as second in command at DOE and understands local weather change from a world perspective.
“She’s spoken about how one can’t restore the credibility of america within the worldwide sphere with out credibly addressing local weather emissions within the U.S.,” Wayland stated. “She’s very centered on what meaning for home local weather and vitality coverage.”
At a 2016 address to a Ladies in Clear Power symposium at Stanford College, Sherwood-Randall famous that whereas the Paris local weather accord had “formidable” objectives, “we understand that won’t be sufficient. We have to speed up the transition to a low-carbon financial system and spur innovation and science and know-how … in order that we are able to energy the world with low-carbon energy.”
The DOE put up would want Senate affirmation, and Sherwood-Randall would doubtless be a noncontroversial alternative in a doubtlessly Republican-led Senate. She was simply confirmed in 2014, with Brent Scowcroft, a nationwide safety adviser beneath Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush, telling senators at her confirmation hearing that “she is aware of tips on how to get onerous issues finished.”
Sherwood-Randall’s proximity to Moniz has drawn some criticism from inexperienced teams who oppose Moniz due to his embrace of President Obama’s “all the above” vitality strategy, together with a task for fossil fuels.
“It’s completely crucial that @JoeBiden maintain @ErnestMoniz out of his cupboard, and any of his protégée like Liz Sherwood-Randall,” Evan Weber, political director for the youth-driven local weather advocacy group Dawn Motion, tweeted in November.
Sherwood-Randall final yr joined the board of the Nuclear Menace Initiative, an anti-proliferation group that Moniz leads. Earlier this yr, she joined the board of Moniz’s Power Futures Initiative suppose tank, which he launched to advertise low-carbon energy.
Sherwood-Randall famous in a Council on Foreign Relations speech in 2016 that “all the above” meant clear vitality and carbon seize and storage for fossil fuels.
“Many international locations all over the world might want to use an vitality combine that features fossil fuels for many years to come back,” she stated on the time, telling a questioner that the division had engaged in conversations with oil and fuel corporations about how fossil fuels may very well be used responsibly.
‘Kitchen Cupboard’ member
Supporters say Sherwood-Randall is nobody’s apprentice.
“She has her personal opinions and her personal head and her personal concepts,” stated Jill Hruby, former director of the Sandia Nationwide Laboratories, who stated she participated quite a few instances in talks between Sherwood-Randall and different vitality leaders: “Under no circumstances had been these one-way discussions, I can guarantee you.”
Hruby stated Sherwood-Randall’s expertise throughout the company provides her a capability to inspire DOE’s numerous factions.
“She understands tips on how to get probably the most and the very best out of individuals and understands that what a company does depends on the folks and the mission,” stated Hruby, who in 2015 turned the primary girl to steer one of many United States’ three nationwide safety labs. “And he or she is available in not from the vitality trade, not from a laboratory, however with broad information.”
Sherwood-Randall started her profession in 1986 working for then-Delaware Sen. Biden as his chief international and protection coverage adviser when he served on the Senate Overseas Relations Committee.
She was 26 on the time and had earned a graduate diploma from Oxford College, the place she was among the many early ranks of feminine Rhodes students.
She later served within the Clinton administration as deputy assistant secretary of Protection for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, and led the trouble to take away nuclear weapons from three former Soviet states.
She would work with Biden later whereas she served within the White Home, advising him on quite a lot of subjects, together with vitality safety in Europe.
Biden swore in Sherwood-Randall as deputy Power secretary in 2014 at DOE headquarters, speaking fondly about her mother and father and her husband, a neurosurgeon.
“There are two issues you determine about Liz in a short time,” Biden stated. “One, she’s harder than you. Two, she’s smarter than you.”
Sherwood-Randall supplied her personal tribute to Biden, saying he had impressed her to be “fierce” and “relentless within the pursuit of what’s proper.”
She added, “We have now rather a lot to do collectively, from advancing the president’s all-of-the-above vitality technique and Local weather Motion Plan to making sure that the nuclear enterprise stays protected, safe and efficient.”
After leaving authorities on the shut of Obama’s time period, Sherwood-Randall joined Harvard College as a senior fellow at its Belfer Heart for Science and Worldwide Affairs, specializing in nationwide and vitality safety, “together with analysis on cutting-edge science and know-how important to our nuclear safety and to a clear vitality future,” the college stated on the time.
She’s additionally a professor at Georgia Tech, with joint appointments on the Sam Nunn Faculty of Worldwide Affairs and the Strategic Power Institute.
Sherwood-Randall was energetic in Biden’s presidential marketing campaign, knocking on doorways in Iowa and headlining fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts.
She was additionally a member of Biden’s international coverage “Kitchen Cupboard” and informally suggested the Biden group on a spread of vitality, local weather, diplomatic and nationwide safety points.
DOE in recent times has assumed extra duty for cybersecurity, and is energetic in defending energy grid infrastructure. And Sherwood-Randall performed a crucial position in pulling collectively a coordinating council amongst vitality firm CEOs, stated Kevin Knobloch, a former president of the Union of Involved Scientists who served as Moniz’s chief of workers.
“She introduced the gravitas and seriousness of goal to that effort and had the respect of all of these CEOs throughout the nation,” stated Knobloch, who’s now president of federal coverage at Massachusetts-based Anbaric, a developer of electrical transmission initiatives. “It is the sort of factor that with out sturdy authorities management, the competitiveness of the sector will get in the best way. It is not straightforward to herd these cats, however she pulled it off, and it was spectacular.”