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Obama energy secretary named to utility giant’s board

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Obama energy secretary named to utility giant’s board

Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has been tapped to serve on the board of electric utility giant Southern Co.

Moniz, who served under former President Obama from 2013 to 2017, will be an independent director on the board.

“I have long admired Southern Company for its innovative approach to research and development within the clean energy space, and look forward to joining the board,” Moniz said in a late Monday statement.

“Tom is an industry leader and I’m eager to work with him and the entire board in helping Southern advance at a time of great change in the energy world,” he said of Tom Fanning, Southern’s CEO.

“Ernie Moniz enhances our board by bringing a strong energy science and technology background together with broad expertise in energy and environmental policy, which will be invaluable as we continue to develop innovative solutions to shape America’s energy future,” Fanning said in the statement.

Southern is the country’s second-largest utility. It is based in Atlanta and has operations throughout the southeast, in power generation, distribution and transmission.

The company is working to build two new reactors at Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia, the only nuclear power plant currently under construction in the country. But they are years away from completion and billions of dollars over budget.

The Vogtle project has benefited significantly from federal government actions, such as major Energy Department loan guarantees announced last year and Congress’s decision this month to extend the eligibility dates for tax credits for newly-built nuclear plants.

Moniz is an outspoken supporter of nuclear power and argues that it is an essential factor in the world’s efforts to fight climate change.

Moniz also leads the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Energy Futures Initiative.

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