Monday, September 29, 2008

Why Boone Pickens' energy plan won't work

T. Boone Pickens, who has made billions in the oil and gas industry, is now touting the virtue and value of wind energy. He proposes that the U.S. spend roughly $1 trillion to install gigantic wind turbines from Texas to the Canadian border that he believes would eventually meet as much as 20% of our domestic electricity demand. By doing this, Pickens says we can shift away from using natural gas for power generation and use it instead to power our vehicles.

Although this sounds good in theory, the devil is in the details. One of those itty-bitty details is infrastructure. Pickens' plan leaves lots of unanswered questions:

• Who will build the transmission lines from the prairies to the cities where the power is needed?
• Who will pay for it?
• Who will build the natural gas fueling stations, complete with new pumps and storage tanks?
• Who will pay for it?

Investment banker Matt Simmons recently described his own wind energy project to Oil & Gas Financial Journal. He is investing in a large wind farm off the coast of Maine because the wind is fairly constant over the sea. Not so for land-bound locations such as the Texas panhandle where the winds tend to subside during summer months when electricity demand is greatest. This is where Pickens' own Mesa Power is pouring $12 billion into what he calls “the world’s largest wind farm.”

Pickens’ proposal is bold (some would say grandiose), but it is riddled with problems. Everyone knows that Americans need to wean ourselves away from our reliance on foreign oil, but I’m not convinced Boone has the solution.

What do you think?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived out in the area that Boone is building the farm and quite frankly I don't remember that darned wind EVER dying down....but I do wonder about the transmission lines etc....and now that the whole economy seems to have gone into the toilet who knows when this will all get going?
Let's get some strong leaders and ideas in Washington....PLEASE

October 8, 2008 at 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

T-Boone is spending an awful lot of petrodollars promoting wind energy and natural gas. He's a little too windy for my taste, but Drill Baby Drill won't solve our energy problems. Unless you include coal, we just don't have enough hydrocarbons in the USA to be self sufficient. We Americans need to go on an energy diet. You don't see Europeans or Japanese driving around in gas-guzzling SUVs.

October 8, 2008 at 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Rob Roberts said...

Pickens has a point, but to think that everything can be resolved this way is short-sighted. I believe in the Picken Plan and moving forward with more wind and solar for electricity. I do, however, think more nuclear should be used to free up natural gas for auto use.
I firmly believe that CNG for large vehicles, replacing deisel in buses and big rigs, is a viable solution. I think it would take a major carrier such as Central or Yellow to shift the thought on transport carriers, but it should be done. Perhaps an intermodal carrier can make more headway?

October 10, 2008 at 9:03 AM  

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3 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I lived out in the area that Boone is building the farm and quite frankly I don't remember that darned wind EVER dying down....but I do wonder about the transmission lines etc....and now that the whole economy seems to have gone into the toilet who knows when this will all get going?
Let's get some strong leaders and ideas in Washington....PLEASE
October 8, 2008 at 12:56 PM  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
T-Boone is spending an awful lot of petrodollars promoting wind energy and natural gas. He's a little too windy for my taste, but Drill Baby Drill won't solve our energy problems. Unless you include coal, we just don't have enough hydrocarbons in the USA to be self sufficient. We Americans need to go on an energy diet. You don't see Europeans or Japanese driving around in gas-guzzling SUVs.
October 8, 2008 at 3:41 PM  

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Anonymous Rob Roberts said...
Pickens has a point, but to think that everything can be resolved this way is short-sighted. I believe in the Picken Plan and moving forward with more wind and solar for electricity. I do, however, think more nuclear should be used to free up natural gas for auto use.
I firmly believe that CNG for large vehicles, replacing deisel in buses and big rigs, is a viable solution. I think it would take a major carrier such as Central or Yellow to shift the thought on transport carriers, but it should be done. Perhaps an intermodal carrier can make more headway?
October 10, 2008 at 9:03 AM  

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