Granholm has said she will draw on her experience revitalizing Michigan’s economy after the 2008 recession, and has vowed to focus on creating new jobs during the clean-energy transition. Some lawmakers representing fossil fuel-producing states have been critical.
“The Biden administration is telling these oil rig, coal mine, and well workers that they can simply get new jobs ‘building solar panels’,” Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso said last month. “Their livelihoods are being sacrificed in the name of the Biden agenda.”
In her remarks at the conference, which is being held virtually this year, Granholm said the Biden administration has created a new Office of Energy Jobs to help fossil fuel employees identify new opportunities. Among the examples Granholm cited was oil and gas workers using their drilling skills to tap into geothermal energy and sheet metal workers reinforcing pipelines to protect against methane leaks.
Granholm praised oil and gas companies that have already vowed to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“The market is raising its hand and saying we are heading in a direction you better come along or you are going to be left behind,” Granholm said. “Maybe we should listen to some of those signals and it’s an opportunity for those who work in these sectors to work with us to diversify into clean energy solutions.”