On Friday, March 1st, 2013, NRG Energy President & CEO David Crane took the stage at the MIT Energy Conference to offer the Friday Keynote Address to a packed theater.

MIT Energy Initiative Executive Director Melanie Kenderdine moderated the Friday Keynote in a one-on-one Davos-style conversational interview. In it, she asked Crane to offer his advice to the yet-to-be-named incoming Department of Energy nominee. The question timed nicely with the White House announcement on the following Monday, which put forward MIT Professor and MIT Energy Initiative Director Dr. Ernest J. Moniz as the nominee for Secretary of the DOE.

Crane offered the incoming Department of Energy Secretary his top three energy priorities for the next administration. Crane’s first point emphasized the importance of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in the next administration, with special emphasis on the need for a federal RPS to meet the country’s energy goals and carbon reduction targets.

Crane’s second point was that renewable energy incentives should not involve federal taxes. The most innovative companies, Crane argued, are not the same companies that pay taxes and are concerned with tax-related incentives. Crane’s point, therefore, was that the DOE must motivate smaller companies, start-ups, and innovation labs with incentives that directly impact them.

Crane’s third point was to engage the energy industry directly in order to move policy and politics forward. The opposition in Washington is too strong, said Crane, and the only way to get past the current political paralysis is to engage all sides in dialogue.

Crane made one final interesting point regarding policy for the next administration: fight energy battles through the DOE, not through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA is too polarizing and is too easy to demonize, and energy issues will be harder fought and won through the DOE under a new Secretary.

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