Pickens' Plan: Use Wind for Gas, Gas for Oil

Use the right energy for the right use. That concept lies at the core of a U.S. domestic energy plan unveiled Tuesday by legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens.

The United States uses close to $700 billion in foreign energy supplies, primarily oil, Pickens pointed out on CNBC's "Squawk Box." It will be impossible for one energy source to totally replace that supply, he noted.

But developing wind and solar power could lower the use of natural gas in some instances, he said. The some of that natural gas could be redirected to uses normally reserved for oil, like transportation. That, in turn, could lead to a 38 percent reduction in the use of foreign energy supplies, he concluded. (See Pickens explain the details of his plan in the video).

"That's a pretty good start," he said, adding that it would take about five years to "pretty far down the path" and 10 years to totally accomplish.

And that reduction would be accomplished with energy that doesn't run out, he pointed out.

"It's not like finding an oil field," Pickens said. "You find an oil field, and it's not long before it starts to decline, and then deplete. Then, the oil field's gone. The wind doesn't stop."

The layout of the United States lends itself to wind and solar development, he said. The central corridor is ripe for wind development, provided the U.S. government makes corridors available to transmit power out. And the southwest is ideal for solar development, he added.

Pickens himself pointed out that he would stand to benefit from such a domestic policy. He is a major investor in wind power projects and natural gas projects. He is in the midst of building a wind power farm capable of generating 1,000 megawatts of power — the first tranche of a $10 billion, 4,000 megawatts plan — and new transmission lines to bring this wind power to energy-hungry Texas cities.

"I expect to make money in whatever I put my money in, but...it's secondary to what I'm trying to accomplish here," Pickens explained. "... Back in, it was 1970, we were importing 24 percent (of our energy needs). By 1991 -- the Gulf war -- we were importing 42 percent, and now we're importing almost 70 percent. We are very close to a disaster for the country."

Pickens indicated he will spend upwards of $10 million to promote his plan and make it a topic of the ongoing presidential campaign.

"I'm 80, and I've had almost 60 years experience in this business...I think I have a story to tell, and the story is that the country's in trouble," Pickens said.