Former Energy Secretary Richardson has called energy security (Albuquerque Tribune) the most important issue facing the United States. He calls for “a massive public and private investment to develop new technologies, particularly renewable technology.” The New Mexico governor once said (Billings Gazette) that he wants his state to be "the Saudi Arabia of Wind, Solar, and biomass."
In December of 2006, he signed an executive order requiring state vehicles to use renewable fuels and state offices to have energy efficient appliances (PDF). In this interview with Tavis Smiley, Richardson says that the United States needs to reduce the amount of imported oil to ten percent of its total from the current 65 percent.
He suggests achieving this by "getting the 100 mile per gallon (mpg) car into the marketplace," according to his campaign. He also says the CAFE standards should reach 50 mpg by 2020.
Richardson says as president, he would push for legislation requiring a 20 percent improvement in energy productivity by 2020. He also believes "carbon clean coal" (Grist) wil play a role in the United States' energy future.
Council on Foreign Relations
Transcript from the Nevada Democratic Debate:
Richardson: Well, you mentioned all the labs, Argonne, Yucca Mountain. I was in charge of them.
Here's what you do. First, the future is renewable. It's not oil. It's not coal. It's not nuclear.
What you do with the waste is you don't put it in Yucca Mountain. All my life, as secretary of energy, as a congressman, I oppose the site, for environmental reasons, water saturation.
I don't think the answer also is in regional sites. There is a technological solution, a scientific solution.
What I would do, I would turn Yucca Mountain into a national laboratory. We have the greatest brains in our national lab scientists. We need to find a way to safely dispose of nuclear waste. There is a technological solution, but while we do that, we shouldn't be giving the nuclear power industry all of these advantages in the Senate bills that are coming forth, or subsidies. Oil, coal and nuclear are getting most of the subsidies.
We need an energy revolution in this country to shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources by 50 percent by the year 2020. Eighty percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are mandated.
We need to have 30 percent of our electricity renewable, and it's going to be also the American people -- I going to say this honestly -- sacrificing a little bit when it comes to appliances, when it comes to being part of an energy efficiency revolution.