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Energy Dept. Shuffles Staff after Departures

Undersecretary of Energy Cathy Zoi will leave her post in March; Photo: energy.gov

A number of high-level Energy Department officials announced their departures from the agency this week, casting doubt on the administration’s renewable energy efforts.

Undersecretary of Energy Cathy Zoi, who oversaw energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts for the department, will head west after she leaves DOE in March for a private-sector position in California.

Meanwhile, Zoi’s chief-of-staff Rod O’Connor will also leave for a position with a London-based entertainment company.

Finally, general counsel Scott Harris announced he will also leave the department soon.

According to a Greenwire report in The New York Times, the departures, especially Zoi’s, could cast doubt on the administration’s continuing efforts on renewable energy and innovation.

The Greenwire report notes the juxtaposition between President Barack Obama’s State of the Union championing of energy innovation and the recent spate of departures.

For example, Zoi was in charge of the department’s applied science and research fields and oversaw the department’s $30 billion in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

An environmental analyst told Greenwire that Zoi’s leavetaking means the department will lose “one of its most effective advocates” for green IT and clean-tech investments.

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