Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) physicist Ernest J. Moniz has been nominated by U.S. President Obama as the Energy Secretary, to replace Steven Chu.

Moniz, whose nomination must be approved by Senate, is the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, Director of the Energy Initiative, and Director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment at MIT, where he has served on the faculty since 1973.

His research focus has been on energy technology and policy, including a leadership role in MIT interdisciplinary technology and policy studies on the future of nuclear power, coal, nuclear fuel cycles, natural gas, and solar energy in a low carbon world.

Moniz served as Energy Under Secretary (1997- January 2001) and previously as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President (1995-1997).

“The good news is that Ernie already knows his way around the Department of Energy,” said President Obama in announcing the nomination. “Most importantly, Ernie knows that we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still taking care of our air, our water and our climate. And so I could not be more pleased to have Ernie join us.”

Steven Chu, who became Energy Secretary in 2009, during his term has overseen the disbursement of the Recovery Act funding towards smart metering and the smart grid, among a considerable number of other achievements. He will be returning to academic life of teaching and research in California.