Ernest Moniz addressing an energy efficiency conference, several hours after he was worn in as Energy Secretary.

Energy Department on YouTubeErnest Moniz addressing an energy-efficiency conference, just hours after being sworn in as energy secretary.

The cleanest electricity is no electricity at all — a fact that is not lost on new Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

During his first speech after being sworn into his new post, Moniz said energy efficiency would be one of his top priorities.

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Secretary Moniz spoke to a crowd at the Energy Efficiency Global Forum about his upcoming agenda as secretary.

“Efficiency is going to be a big focus going forward,” he said. “I just don’t see the solutions to our biggest energy and environmental challenges without a very big demand-side response. That’s why it’s important to move this way, way up in our priorities.” The audience applauded.

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Moniz’s decision to speak at an energy efficiency conference “speaks volumes about how important efficiency is” to his plans at the Department of Energy, said Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy.

Indeed, Moniz made it very clear that efficiency would be a central priority during his tenure. He backed up President Obama’s call in the State of the Union for doubling U.S. energy productivity by 2030

The Hill reports that Moniz has already started meeting with lawmakers to promote a recently introduced efficiency bill:

New Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz vowed Tuesday to help advance a big bipartisan energy efficiency bill that’s moving through Congress and make conservation a major priority using his existing authorities. …

Moniz said he has met with senior leadership in both chambers of Congress about legislation, noting he sees an opening for the measure sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and a companion plan in the House.

“There is a ways to go to get it together, but there is clearly an interest in moving this,” he said. “This is the kind of initiative that I think has a real chance to move forward and I certainly will work with Senator Shaheen and others to try and help make it work.”

The Shaheen-Portman plan, which sailed through the Senate’s energy panel with bipartisan support recently, contains an array of provisions to boost efficiency in buildings by improving codes, workforce training and other steps.

It also contains measures to help manufacturing plants become more efficient and boost conservation within the federal government itself.

The Energy Department posted Moniz’s 11-minute speech on YouTube: