“Renewable energy” is not the first thing that comes to mind for many when thinking about Houston or Texas.
But it appears to be for Bill Richardson, formerly the governor of New Mexico and U.S. secretary of energy.
“What a lot of people don’t know is that you guys have taken up the challenge of creating the clean energy future as well as being one of the leaders in this area. You’re such a big state with such economic power and such potential in your human resources and your technology and your universities that I think that this is the state that I think can end up leading the country.”
Houston, for one, is the largest municipal purchaser of renewable power in the nation, according to the EPA.
Richardson acknowledges that oil and gas refineries play a huge role in Houston’s energy production. But he says the city does a good job dealing with the pollution that comes with that.
“The policies here in Houston in the schools, in the industry, in city government have been very progressive. I think there was a serious problem. It’s still there, but at least the problem is being addressed. Compared to other cities, you’re doing very well.”
Some questions that were raised and remained open at the roundtable were about jobs associated with renewable energy and the reluctance of consumers to pay for “clean” energy if it costs more than that produced the conventional way.