Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu is reportedly leaving his position, and if the news is true, it’s the end of an era for renewable energy.

Green_Globe_with_Houses_SmallU.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who drew criticism from Republicans over his support for loans to Solyndra LLC before the solar-panel maker went bankrupt, will leave his Cabinet post in President Barack Obama’s second term, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The exit will leave the Obama administration with vacancies at the top of the three departments that oversee energy and environmental policy. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Lisa Jackson, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency, have announced their intention to leave the administration.

Chu, 64, was a career scientist and co-winner of the Nobel Prize for physics when he joined the Cabinet in January 2009. Supporters said Chu brought a fresh perspective to discussions often dominated by politics in Washington.

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Source: Hans Nichols and Jim Snyder | Bloomberg | January 17, 2013