As the Obama cabinet fans out for official appearances before Nov. 2, its sole Nobel laureate stopped by Silicon Valley to talk up green tech energy.
Energy Secretary Stephen Chu visited Google Inc.’s headquarters last Friday to chat with employees about the company’s investment in an undersea power line for offshore wind farms. America invented many of the world’s green technologies, but has fallen behind China and other countries, Chu reportedly said. He also praised the company for its recently announced investments in alternative energy, including an offshore cable in the Atlantic Ocean to carry wind-generated electricity to as many as 1.9 million households.
Chu’s stop at Google came the day after President Barack Obama visited the home of Google vice president Marissa Meyer for a $30,000-a-head fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. Google’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, sits on the president’s Council of Science and Technology.
The Energy Department denied any political motivation behind Chu’s trip. “This was a chance for Secretary Chu to be briefed about Google’s growing role in the clean energy industry” spokeswoman Stephanie Mueller told the Center, “including the recent announcement of Google’s partnership in a historic, $5 billion offshore wind power transmission project.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
With close Senate and gubernatorial races at the top of the ticket — as well as several close House of Representatives campaigns — voters interested in high-tech and green issues are an important constituency for the Democrats.
Last week, the Center reported on travel by members of the Obama administration on the eve of the midterm elections, a time-honored practice by both political parties that, in theory, helps shore up vulnerable incumbents. Included in the story were Chu’s two appearances in Ohio with embattled Democratic Congressmen Steve Driehaus and John Boccieri.