Energy Secretary Steven Chu is stepping down, ending a four-year tenure marked by milestones in green-energy spending along with withering attacks from Republicans and the collapse of the solar company Solyndra.
Chu announced Friday that he intends to resign once a successor is confirmed, according to a memo sent to Energy Department staff and obtained by POLITICO. He was the last of President Barack Obama’s long-serving Cabinet members to announce plans to leave or stay for the second term.
“While I will always remain dedicated to the missions of the department, I informed the president of my decision a few days after the election that Jean and I were eager to return to California,” Chu wrote in a lengthy “Dear Colleagues” letter Friday morning. “I would like to return to an academic life of teaching and research but will still work to advance the missions that we have been working on together for the last four years.
“In the short term, I plan to stay on as secretary past the ARPA-E Summit at the end of February. I may stay beyond that time so that I can leave the department in the hands of the new secretary,” he added.