An energy independent future for America is in sight – but more needs to be done

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the Pickens Plan launch. I began my crusade during the 2008 presidential campaign because I felt that it was necessary to refocus America’s attention on the need for energy independence from OPEC oil. 11 years later, the current state of US energy is stronger than ever. However, more needs to be done.

That is why I like to consider this day to be a special holiday I call “Energy Independence Day.” I celebrate today by honoring the dedicated members of the Pickens Plan, leaders in Washington who promote energy reform, and the commitment of millions of Americans to break our addiction to OPEC oil. I hope you will join me in taking a moment to reflect on the progress we have collectively made so that we may continue to focus on leveraging an “all of the above” strategy as it relates to energy. 

Since 2008 (and actually long before that), I have been an unwavering proponent for renewable energy – a key component of the Pickens Plan. Wind, solar and energy efficiency will ultimately contribute to total energy independence, in addition to leveraging our abundant natural gas resources and putting more natural gas vehicles on the road. The more American resources we have contributing to our energy mix, the better.

According to the Energy Information Administration, in April renewables accounted for 23% of the total supply of electricity in the United States while the amount from coal was only 20%. This is a significant milestone for our country that shouldn’t go unnoticed. I have been calling for renewables for over a decade. My own investments in wind energy may have been too far ahead of the curve — I am often right, and often too early. But I knew that with the right plans in place, we could create a better energy future for America. And now that dream is starting to become a reality.

While we have made significant strides it’s clear we can still do more as a country. We just need leadership. We need elected officials who understand the importance of continuing to focus on this goal. We need industry leaders who believe in a market driven approach to building this future. And it all begins with investing in good ideas.

In 2013, several members of my BP Capital team created BP Capital Fund Advisors and launched mutual funds, energy indexes and an ETF. Over the last year, that team worked to develop a renewable energy index and an ETF that parallels the Pickens Plan and focuses on the best way to invest in renewables for the next 50 years. I’m excited to see it all unfold and help continue the spirit of the Pickens Plan.

As Americans, we need to continue working together to change the way our country looks at energy and raise awareness about the need for a focused plan to achieve total energy independence. Someday, I hope Energy Independence Day will be a celebration of something that happened in the United States a long time ago and not something that we are still striving to achieve. I know we can get there.