Pickens Energy Plan Presented in New York

Pickens Energy Plan Presented in New York

September 9, 2008 16:22

NEW YORK -- Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens presented his renewable and clean energy plan Tuesday, arguing that while he agrees with Al Gore that climate change is a problem, addressing climate change has to be second to achieving American independence from foreign oil.

Speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s Viewpoints Executive Breakfast Series Tuesday with a gathering of elite investors, investment bankers and prominent New York business people, Pickens described his plan for massive investments in wind energy resources from a stretch of the U.S. from the Dakotas to Texas and major deployments of natural gas vehicles and a nationwide network of natural gas refueling infrastructure.

“Senator McCain wants us to focus on nuclear energy, but 70 percent of U.S. oil imports go to transportation and nuclear doesn’t run transportation,” Pickens said. “The only resource we have in North America to replace oil is natural gas.”

According to Pickens’s plan, investments in wind energy production and natural gas vehicles will enable the U.S. to substantially reduce foreign oil imports while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping achieve energy security.

“With global warming, there is no question it’s there,” Pickens said, indicating that he accepts the scientific conclusion that climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed. “Al Gore is on page 2, but I’m on page 1.”

Pickens explained that “page 1” is the fact that the U.S. is importing 70 percent of its oil or 700 billion barrels a year from foreign sources.

Pickens described advancements in oil exploration and production technology that have allowed the oil industry to double domestic petroleum reserves.

In response to questions, Pickens rejected the cynical view of critics that he’s seeking to promote wind energy and natural gas use in motor vehicles as a way to promote his business interests.

“Clean energy fuels is about the energy future of the country, not about making money,” Pickens said. “This is about America, I promise you that.”

Pickens, whose company, Clean Energy, recently launched an initial public offering and operates natural gas vehicle fueling stations from British Columbia to Mexico, released on September 2, 2008 his new book, “The First Billion is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America’s Energy Future.” He said he is touring the country to seek popular support for his energy plan because no amount of money can change the federal government’s energy policy without popular support.

“If the new [presidential] administration said that all new vehicles purchased by the federal government will run on natural gas, that will send a serious message to Detroit,” he said, adding that rural America can focus on installing wind farm resources and solar energy fields.  “Anything American is better than foreign oil.”

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The business case for the development of renewable energy projects, from biodiesel and ethanol to wind, solar, and distributed generation, is more compelling than ever as tax and regulatory incentives combine to attract investments. Emerging issues in environmental law and increasingly recognized principles of corporate social responsibility are encouraging public companies to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions, install clean energy alternatives, and invest overseas in projects under the Kyoto Protocol to respond to climate change concerns.

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