No position under the next administration will be more important for the economy, the environment, and national security than energy secretary. And no one fits the position as perfectly as Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Schmidt recently told the New York Times that he’s not interested in the role of "chief technology officer" in an Obama administration.
But that’s the wrong spot for Schmidt, a big waste of his administrative talents. Give it to some other geek. Schmidt should run energy. That’s a job with real power, and it’s absolutely vital that under Obama the energy secretary grasp the nature of the energy transformation that has to happen, including a new low-loss grid, maximum ramp-up of efficiency/wind/solar/geothermal, and a phase-out of aging coal plants.
Schmidt, obviously, is one of the most skilled managers in the country. He knows how to grow an organization, how to recruit talent, the cutting edges of finance and marketing, and of course technology. He knows both power marketing and the U.S. power grid from personal experience, since Google’s massive server farms make it one of the heaviest corporate consumers of electricity in the country. On the topic of effecting a major transformation in the U.S. energy system, anyone who doubts Schmidt’s chops should watch this amazing speech to the Commonwealth Club.
Or read Google’s revolutionary Clean Energy 2030 plan, which shows how to replace nearly all coal and half of natural gas in two decades.
Planet to Barack: If necessary, twist Eric Schmidt’s arm until it comes off, but don’t take "No" for an answer.