Dec. 4, 2014

Professor Franklin “Lynn” Orr, founding director of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as under secretary for science and energy at the Department of Energy (DOE).

Orr was nominated by President Obama in November 2013 and approved by the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee in January 2014.  The full Senate finally approved his nomination on a voice vote this morning.

“The science and energy research supported by DOE is a critical component of the energy transitions that lie ahead,” Orr said. “I am looking forward to starting work with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and his team to tackle those challenges.” 

Orr, 67, will oversee all of the DOE’s science research programs, including a majority of the national labs. This position is part of the department’s recent reorganization, which expanded the Under Secretary for Science role to encompass both science and energy. Orr’s role will include oversight of research in the Office of Science, the Office of Fossil Energy, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Nuclear Energy, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, the Office of Indian Energy and the Office of Technology Transfer Coordinator.

“Lynn Orr is an outstanding scientist and has successfully led a major multidisciplinary program on energy sources, technology and analysis at one of the top research universities,” Moniz said. “This experience will serve him well as the DOE Under Secretary for Science and Energy. I look forward to working closely with Lynn to shape the nation’s clean energy agenda, and to sustain American leadership in science. I thank the Senate for approving his nomination.”

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford would be one of the national laboratories to also reside within the new organizational unit.

Earlier this year, Orr stepped down from his post as the director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, which he had led since the institute was created in 2009. Prior to leading the Precourt Institute, Orr served as the founding director of the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford from 2002 to 2008.

Since 1985, Orr has been an associate professor and professor in Stanford's Department of Energy Resources Engineering (formerly the Department of Petroleum Engineering). He was dean of the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford from 1994 to 2002 and chairman of the Department of Petroleum Engineering from 1991 to 1994. Orr held several other research positions from 1970 to 1985 in New Mexico, Texas and Washington, D.C. He received his BS degree from Stanford University and PhD from the University of Minnesota.