United States Secretary of Energy

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Secretary of Energy of the United States of America
Seal of the Department of Energy
Flag of the United States Secretary of Energy.svg
Flag of the Secretary of Energy
Moniz official portrait sitting.jpg
Ernest Moniz

since May 21, 2013
United States Department of Energy
Style Mr. Secretary
Member of Cabinet
Reports to The President
Seat Washington, D.C.
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument 42 U.S.C. § 7131
Formation August 6, 1977
First holder James R. Schlesinger
Succession Fourteenth in the United States Presidential Line of Succession
Deputy Deputy Secretary of Energy
Salary Executive Schedule, level 1
Website www.doe.gov

The United States Secretary of Energy is the head of the U.S. Department of Energy, a member of the U.S. President's Cabinet, and Fourteenth in the presidential line of succession. The position was formed on October 1, 1977 with the creation of the Department of Energy when President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Energy Organization Act.[1] Originally the post focused on energy production and regulation. The emphasis soon shifted to developing technology for better, more efficient energy sources as well as energy education. After the end of the Cold War, the department's attention also turned toward radioactive waste disposal and maintenance of environmental quality.[2] The current Secretary of Energy is Ernest Moniz.[3]

Former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger was the first Secretary of Energy, who was a Republican nominated to the post by Democratic President Jimmy Carter, the only time a president has appointed someone of another party to the post. Schlesinger is also the only secretary to be dismissed from the post.[4] Hazel O'Leary, Bill Clinton's first Secretary of Energy, was first female and African-American holder.[5] The first Hispanic to serve as Energy Secretary was Clinton's second, Federico Peña.[6] Steven Chu became the first Asian American to hold the position on January 20, 2009, serving under the administration of Barack Obama. He is also the first and only Nobel Prize winner to be a Cabinet secretary[7] and the longest-serving Secretary of Energy.

Secretaries of Energy[edit]


      Democratic       Republican

No. Portrait Name State of residence Took office Left office Party President(s)
1 James Schlesinger official DoD photo.jpg Schlesinger, James R.James R. Schlesinger Virginia August 6, 1977 August 23, 1979 Republican Carter, JimmyJimmy Carter
2 Secretary duncan.jpg Duncan, Jr., Charles W.Charles W. Duncan, Jr. Texas August 24, 1979 January 20, 1981 Democratic
3 James B. Edwards.jpg Edwards, James B.James B. Edwards South Carolina January 23, 1981 November 5, 1982 Republican Reagan, RonaldRonald Reagan
4 Donald hodel.JPG Hodel, Donald P.Donald P. Hodel Oregon November 5, 1982 February 7, 1985 Republican
5 John S. Herrington.jpg Herrington, John S.John S. Herrington California February 7, 1985 January 20, 1989 Republican
6 Admiral James Watkins, official military photo.JPEG Watkins, James D.James D. Watkins California March 1, 1989 January 20, 1993 Republican Bush, George H. W.George H. W. Bush
7 Hazel O'Leary.jpg O'Leary, Hazel R.Hazel R. O'Leary Virginia January 22, 1993 January 20, 1997 Democratic Clinton, BillBill Clinton
8 Federico pena energy.jpg Peña, Federico F.Federico F. Peña Colorado March 12, 1997 June 30, 1998 Democratic
9 Bill Richardson, official DOE photo.png Richardson, William B.William B. Richardson New Mexico August 18, 1998 January 20, 2001 Democratic
10 Spencer Abraham.jpg Abraham, SpencerSpencer Abraham Michigan January 20, 2001 February 1, 2005 Republican Bush, George W.George W. Bush
11 Samuel Bodman.jpg Bodman, Samuel W.Samuel W. Bodman Illinois February 1, 2005 January 20, 2009 Republican
12 Steven Chu official DOE portrait.jpg Chu, StevenSteven Chu California January 20, 2009 April 22, 2013 Democratic Obama, BarackBarack Obama
13 Moniz official portrait standing.jpg Moniz, ErnestErnest Moniz Massachusetts May 21, 2013 Incumbent Democratic

Living former Secretaries of Energy[edit]

As of February 2016, there are nine living former Secretaries of Energy, the oldest being Charles Duncan, Jr. (1979-1981, born 1926). The most recent Secretary of Energy to die was James B. Edwards (1981–1982), on December 26, 2014.

Name Term of office Date of birth (and age)
Charles Duncan, Jr. 1979–1981 (1926-09-09) September 9, 1926 (age 89)
Donald P. Hodel 1982–1985 (1935-05-23) May 23, 1935 (age 80)
John S. Herrington 1985–1989 (1939-05-31) May 31, 1939 (age 76)
Hazel R. O'Leary 1993–1997 (1937-05-17) May 17, 1937 (age 78)
Federico Peña 1997-1998 (1947-03-15) March 15, 1947 (age 68)
Bill Richardson 1998-2001 (1947-11-15) November 15, 1947 (age 68)
Spencer Abraham 2001-2005 (1952-06-12) June 12, 1952 (age 63)
Samuel Bodman 2005-2009 (1938-11-26) November 26, 1938 (age 77)
Steven Chu 2009-2013 (1948-02-28) February 28, 1948 (age 67)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Origins". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  2. ^ "The Clinton Administration". The Washington Post. 2000-02-18. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  3. ^ http://www.energy.gov/articles/dr-ernest-moniz-sworn-13th-secretary-energy
  4. ^ "Biography of James Schlesinger Origins". U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  5. ^ "President Hazel R. O'Leary Honored by Urban League". Fisk University. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  6. ^ "Federico F. Peña to be Sworn in as the Eighth Secretary of Energy". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  7. ^ "Chu named energy chief". The Straits Times. 2008-12-12. Archived from the original on December 19, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 

External links[edit]

United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Secretary of Transportation
Anthony Foxx
15th in line Succeeded by
Secretary of Education
Arne Duncan