DOE shuffles renewable office as top leaders exit

Source: By Lesley Clark, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Trump appointees are leaving the Department of Energy and civil service workers are moving into new leadership positions this week ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to a memo obtained by E&E News.

Daniel Simmons, assistant secretary in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said in an email to staff Friday that David Solan, deputy assistant secretary for renewable power, announced he would be leaving the agency today. Simmons thanked Solan “for his vision and dedication.”

Solan previously directed a research institute at Boise State University. He was also a staffer for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy and Resources and served at EPA as a senior policy adviser to the deputy administrator and to the Office of Research and Development on energy issues.

Simmons also wrote that three EERE employees, all of them civil service workers, will move into acting deputy assistant secretary roles.

Alejandro Moreno will serve as acting deputy assistant secretary for renewable power, according to the email. Moreno returned to EERE in 2017 to start up the newly authorized Water Power Technologies Office and serve as its director, which he will continue to do with the new duties.

In his current role, he manages efforts to develop and commercialize technologies and market solutions for clean, domestic power generation from hydropower and marine energy resources.

Prior to that, he served in the energy groups of the World Bank and International Finance Corp., where he designed and led regulatory reform programs to spur investment in clean energy and rural electrification.

Derek Passarelli will serve as acting deputy assistant secretary-operations, Simmons said. Passarelli has served at DOE in Golden, Colo., as chief counsel, human resources director, acting deputy director and most recently Golden field office director, responsible for oversight and implementation of EERE’s $2 billion financial assistance portfolio.

He will also continue in his role as Golden field office director.

Rob Sandoli will serve as acting deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency. Simmons said Sandoli recently returned to EERE to serve as strategic initiatives director to coordinate efforts across DOE program offices on energy storage, critical materials and plastics innovation.

Previous DOE roles include director of the Office of European and Eurasian Affairs, director of EERE’s international program and senior adviser to the undersecretary of Energy.

He also served as a program examiner at the White House Office of Management and Budget, where he oversaw EERE programs and facilitated implementation of energy management directives across federal agencies.

Also, Undersecretary for Science Paul Dabbar, a Trump political appointee, announced via Twitter and a press release last week that he’ll leave DOE “as this cycle closes” to return to his family in New York.

“The prospects for the ‘Department of Exploration’ have never been stronger,” Dabbar said, listing what he said were the department’s accomplishments.

Dabbar oversaw environmental management at DOE in addition to nuclear cleanup. He came to the department from JPMorgan Chase & Co., where he managed $400 billion in investments across all energy sectors, from renewables to oil and gas to nuclear.

Before that, he was a nuclear submarine officer in California and in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He once deployed to the North Pole.

Reporter Christa Marshall contributed.