Energy Sec., EPA Admin, highlight Silicon Valley Leadership Group energy summit

Touting renewable energy and zero-emission vehicles, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Environmental Protection Administration Administrator Michael Regan spent Thursday afternoon eyeing a fleet of electric cars outside Oracles’ Redwood City office.

"I love coming back to California. There is no doubt about it," said Granholm. 

Added Regan, "It’s an exciting time in my space. Because we have this nexus of environmental protection and economic prosperity just coming together very quickly."

This Biden administration duo used the walk and talk to highlight the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s 11th Annual Energy and Sustainability Summit.

"It is just astonishing to see this wave of investment happening across the country, and in places that have been left behind," said Granholm.

Granholm said the administration's investments into so-called "Energy Earthshots" – geothermal, wind, solar, and electrical -- will help it meet its goal of a zero carbon footprint by 2050.

"And now we're seeing we can do it in a cost-effective way and do it faster than we’ve ever done it before," said Regan.

Officials said combining the push for environmentally clean vehicles and technology, with environmental protection, is a win-win in the corporate world.

Granholm pointed to the administration’s turning the shuttered steel town of Weirton, West Virginia, into an electric vehicle battery manufacturing hub. The act reinvigorated the area while reducing pollutants.


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"We gave them, through this policy, the gift of rebirth. Really a Phoenix rising from the ashes. And that story is happening in pockets all across the country," she said. 

Added Ahmad Thomas, the CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, "Right now we have a unique opportunity for innovation, all focused on making the climate cleaner. It’s just tremendously exciting." 

And Democratic State Sen. Josh Becker from District 13, representing parts of Silicon Valley and the Peninsula said, "It’s really the golden age of clean technology. We just have to make sure it happens faster."

Officials said, ironically, an idea California once cornered is now catching on with the rest of the country. The Golden State is in a position where it must now compete to keep its status as an industry leader.

"A lot of places are coming here to Silicon Valley saying, you got a great idea. But bring it to my state. I did this, 'cause I was governor of Michigan," said Granholm.

The secretary believes cutting regulatory red tape, and taxes is the way to keep California in the driver’s seat of innovation, and environmental protection.

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter, @JesseKTVU and Instagram, @jessegontv