T. Boone Pickens has evidently decided that somebody needs to act — seriously, in a big way — on the energy problem. And he’s starting with wind. (CNN)
The legendary entrepreneur and philanthropist on Tuesday unveiled a new energy plan he says will decrease the United States’ dependency on foreign oil by more than one-third and help shift American energy production toward renewable natural resources.
“The Pickens Plan” calls for investing in domestic renewable resources such as wind, and switching from oil to natural gas as a transportation fuel.
I can’t help it. I think this is an exciting, enormous step forward, and I see some real possibilities here.
I wrote more at The Moderate Voice, here.
What do you think?
I think we have to consider the source. T Boone has managed to run Mesa Petroleum into the ground (after killing off Gulf Oil in the 1980s), and it sounds like he is trying again – this time with wind. Could he possibly be positioning his company to take advantage of Federal subsidies for wind power generation?
Switching from oil (gasoline) to natural gas for vehicular transportation is a great idea, only it is missing two components:
1) The infrastructure to deliver NG to the vehicles
2) Vehicles which can use NG as fuel.
In addition, the same regs that prevent oil exploration also hinder efforts to find/develop sources of NG.
Number 1 also applies to pretty much *any* replacement for gasoline (one of the things that will hinder widespread acceptance of things like hydrogen fuel cell cars.)
It doesn’t mean we should explore/develop new ways of doing things, but I am *not* feeling this is an “exciting, enormous step forward”.
T. Boone Pickens was one of the original Mergers & Aquisitions Greenmailers back in the 80’s. He found much more oil on Wall Street than he ever did in the ground.
His “vision” needs to be divided into sections and each section reacted to separately, IMHO. The section about a massive wind farm with coal backup and natural gas for surges in demand is what I believe you were reacting to, and is very encouraging. If he can make it work financially, he will have shown the way to make a renewable energy source provide more than a negligible percentage of the US electricity needs.
The part of the vision about using natural gas to power cars is what EdT seems to be reacting to. As Ed says, there are just a few pieces missing from this one, which makes it more like preaching at people what they ought to be doing than a vision–nothing new there.
One can be encouraged by the former and still recognize the latter as so much empty rhetoric. And one can be a cynical as one wants about Pickens being motivated by the lust for tax credits, but he’s spending his money now on big turbines despite tax credits that are about to expire, and with no guarantee what, if any, incentives will be put in place to replace them.
I expect you are right. This wind farm idea truly excites him.
some facts about oil and wind generation. Heres an example.
MGE built and operates a wind farm consisting of 17 turbines (each 660 kW) to provide renewable, Wisconsin-based electricity.
23,000,000 kilowatt-hours annually—enough electricity for roughly 3,300 homes (assumes 98% availability and 23% capacity factor). The rated power output is 660 kW at 33 mph (optimal operating wind speed).
Average wind speed is 13 to 14 mph (at 110 feet aboveground). Wind blows predominantly from a west (from the northwest through the southwest) direction. The cut-in wind speed is 9 mph and the cut-out wind speed is 56 mph.
Okay assuming we divide the USA by 4 members per household we end up with 50 million residences. 17 turbines will power 3300 homes. IF the wind blows.
thus we need 15, 151 tubines just to power homes and this does not even include the mindboggling power needed to power industry.
So then we can throw in solar generation. If the sun shines. Then we can throw in coal fired power plants if the sun dont shine and the wind dont blow. Then we can throw in Nuke plants to offset the carbon signature and we are right back to where we are today.
NO POWER while Congress fiddles away our future on entitlements, wars and a lack of forsight in our energy needs.
However in the last two days as energy has become the focus on the net and McCain wants to drill and devolop alternative fuels the price of oil has plummeted almost 10 dollars per bbl.
Just the threat of drilling and a country willing to seek their energy somewhere besides the OIL market is enough to drop the price. This is why we have to drill and drill now.
My math is off actually you must multiply 15,151x 17 or=or 257,567 wind turbines just to power the nations private residences.
BTW, I’m not unaware of the need to take steps to get ourselves out of the energy hole we have dug. And, yes, a range of options should be considered (I, personally, gave up driving solo to work over a year ago.)
What I was reacting to was Polimom’s reaction to a T-Boone speech as an “exciting, enormous step forward”. My experience is that his speeches are fuller of empty rhetoric and hot air than your average politician. As The Master noted, he has been far more successful on Wall Street than in the iol patch.
Until the tree huggers get out of the way and let us drill, let us relax regulation so we can expand refineries and build nuke plants then we are in a huge quandry.
But its more then the Democrats its the Republicans too. The leasing of lands is a bizarre joke on the American public. Oil Companies really have not much desire to spend billions developing new sources at the moment because the ones they have now are producing record profits…..so why go explore and develop more oil if that is going to bring the price down?
One producing oil field requires roughly 2 million gallons of water per day to sustain. 2 million gallons. TWO MILLION. So all of these potential lands the Democrats in congress point too are unused………YES THEY ARE AND WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?
You got it. WATER. EVEN if they found a bazillion BBLS of oil high in the Rockies its gonna be impossible to extract it without building a multi billion dollar pipeline.
So this brings us to the WHY. Why are they so keen to drill offshore……………WATER. Make sense now?
But Big oil is not keen on drilling for 2 reasons. Right now bringing more oil to market just eats up their profits and secondly even if they did bring more to market our economy cannot manufacture it into gasoline and thus it goes on the spot market and guess what…..OPEC LOWERS PRODUCTION and were right back to where we were before.
SO why am I such a strong proponent of drilling? Because if we allow wildcaters to buy these leases and forbid the big 5 from bidding outrageous amounts on these leases, then they will find oil and bring it to market. Secondly unless we relax restrictions on the gasoline plants and bring new ones on line in addition to remodeling and expanding the old ones then we are not solving anything.
But a threat to do this in the last two days has dropped the price of oil almost 10 dollars per bbl in 2 days time. Why is that? Because the OPEC and BIG oil monopolies do not want anyone to upset the apple cart. Why would they. Their goal is profit with OPEC hoping in their heart America Burns.
Congress for 30 years has guaranteed that America will burn. All of them. Democrats and GOP alike. This quandry is NOT Barak Obama’s fault but he has absolutely no clue how to tackle it because his party will not allow him to do the right thing.
Let me add that my drill, drill, drill program is in concert with a massive alternative energy program that does expand the use of Wind Generators. Solar Panels. Nuke Plants and biofuels if you can convince me that Biofuels is the right way to go.
I do not believe that oil is our future. I agree with the tree huggers on this but right now our entire economy……100 trillion dollars in infrastructre is built around OIL, to suddenly just expect everything to stop and switch to alternatives is ludacrious and its even more dangerous then terrorism. Unless they start packing WMDS of course.
So while I understand the need to switch to alternatives I also see the need to prevent the world, just not the USA but the world economies from melting down and going in the tank because suddenly world demand is far above oil production.
Can you imagine the chaos that we will inflict on this nation if we start rationing not just gasoline BUT OIL. Hell half of all the things we manufacture use by products of oil to do so.
I have a wind turbine in my back yard. I live in Colorado. I have two solar panels on the roof of my Barn. I am not a farmer but I do own some land so I can do so. Most Americans cannot own wind turbines and solar panels. Kinda hard to do that living in a 500 unit apartment complex in Chicago. So Im a strong believer in alternative fuels but…….
We continue to argue about it. Just as we have about the health care. The Dems have their plan. The GOP has their plan and we go round and round and round for decades and nothing gets done. We polarize with talking points to the point that the parties then must rigidly adhere to those talking points or risk being fired.
Look at McCain. He wants to be a maverick but he cant. At least and not get the talking point support of the GOP. Its pathetic what we have created in America with our two party system.
As it happens, I agree with your ultimate conclusion. Our “fearless leaders” have hamstrung the country, and shut down our options.
I’m not going to try to argue in favor of biofuels, specifically, but I will add that there are regional assets which, if implemented on a serious scale in their various locations (like BIG wind farms such as the Pickens project), can begin to make incremental progress.
One of the more promising, as I understand it, is geothermal. Like wind, or solar, it isn’t practical everywhere. But it’s another major prong.
I think I disagree with you, though, about the need to drill drill drill.
Oil is like a cheap drug. We (our society) is totally hooked, and every infusion (or possibility thereof) prolongs and/or delays the agony of the withdrawal.
The reaction to reality has at last begun to hit, at least in the population. Private entrepreneurs are, quite obviously, getting tired of waiting for our stupidly hog-tied government to get off its backside and do anything. (Even reducing regulations would be something). And they’re going to start pushing things forward, come hell or high water.
The private enterprise process would be far less likely to get underway or gain support if the government was acting, or if people suspected an oil infusion would save them in a decade.
Drilling will not do what it has done in the past. In the past we could bash oil prices back into the ground if we wanted. Remember about 5 or 6 years ago when gasoline ran up to 2 bucks a gallon and the country was incensed over it. Suddenly production increased around the world and gasoline went back down to 1.35 a gallon and all was well.
Thats no longer an option. India and China and their insatiable thirst and 2 billion population who demand western type lifestyles have guaranteed that oil will continue to be in short supply and that by projections in just two short years we will as a world be on rationing of oil as the current 63 million bbls of oil being pumped is pushed to 70 million by China, India and a world wide growing demand.
Drilling now is not going to fix anything about oil. Oil is killing itself. But in order to make an infrastructure switch from oil to something else we have to buy time.
Drill now is buying time for the inevitable. The key is to put the wildcaters to work and not big oil. If we do that we can buy the time we need to get Nukes, Hydrogen, Wind, Solar, Geothermal, tidal harness, coal infrastructure in place along with much greater hybrids.
We need time……………..time…..Discovering and bringing to market 3 million more bbls of oil per day is not going to solve our problem at all. It is only going to forestall an economic melt down.
I compare it to the cancer patient who does radiation but elects to do chemo too. The chemo is not going to save them but it will forestall the inevitable a little longer. That is drilling.
Throw off your tree hugger talking points and grasp the reality. The reality is that if we do not drill today…………in 2 or 3 years this economy will see all those illegals fleeing back into mexico looking for jobs and all the social programs the left is begging for will be just more pipe dreams as our nation melts down under the burden of 25 trillion dollars of debt and a shrinking economy and 10 percent unemployment.
Additonally Biofuels are an evil. They are the biggest threat to world wide anarchy that we have seen.
The pure idiocy that we will take fertile farm land away from producing food that a rapidly expanding planet needs and divert it into fuel is just beyond absurd.
Secondly the biggest problem with biofuels is that we need to bring more land into production if we are going to increase biofuels. Great. The problem with idle lands is that they are idle for a reason. Yes its to keep the supply of commodities at a sustainable level so that the farmers can make money farming but there is another even more important reason.
An acre of land must sit idle from 2 to 3 years in order to refurbish its nutrients. Obama wants to pull this land into the development of biofuels. Sounds good but their is a reason that we keep this land idle. Using up its resources for biofuels will ensure that our production of food which needs to increase not decrease will most certainly fall as we are able to produce less and less with the continued use of poor lands brought about by the need for biofuels.
“Throw off your tree hugger talking points and grasp the reality. ”
Gimme a break, Neocon. Calling me a tree hugger is not only unhelpful to the larger discussion, it’s a clean miss with the bat.
The problem with calling for more drilling now… today… immediately… is that it’s too freakin’ late. Start drilling the ANWR or offshore, and in ten years, it’ll make it to market. It’ll start buying time in ten years, yes. But it won’t buy time between now and then.
The crisis is nearly upon us. Some would say it has already arrived (though I don’t actually think so). But we are definitely at a tipping point. We have to put alternatives on track. If the public pushes hard for them, we’ll start to see them. Otherwise, forget it. Our government is too screwed up to move without a massive public outcry.
We — as in, ordinary folks — are going to have to change out our lightbulbs for more efficiency. We’re going to have to turn down the thermostats (or turn them up, depending…). We’re going to have to expand public transportation. We’re going to have to start looking for work closer to our homes, if possible — or move to be closer to them.
I’m not suggesting the above should in any way be compulsory, btw. I hate the government telling us what to do. I’m suggesting that if the public is sufficiently motivated (and we’re getting there…), the intelligent will start to make the necessary changes. And it is the adjustments that we can make that will buy the time we need.
Fine. Your point is well taken. Barak Obama will lose the election on this one point.
His entire party believes that we can change our lightbulbs out and end the problem. I watched them build a Trex project in Denver, Colorado. It provides mass transit for 2 percent of the city. It cost billions and took almost 10 years to complete. But fine lets not drill and talk about mass transit which will take 4x longer to bring on line then will drilling oil.
The most tiresome and ageless talking point is that if we drill today we cant see oil in less then 10 years.
That is an absolute lie and its perpetrated by both the Democrats and the GOP. My family was wildcaters for decades. Today we can bring oil to the market in 9 to 18 months.
Theres just no will on either side to do so. The oil and gas just puts too much money into the good senators and congressmens pockets to instill a want too in them.
Well, we absolutely agree on one thing (actually several): there’s no will on the part of the government to do anything.
We’re in for a real disaster, unless We The People get off of square one ourselves.
The oil / energy crisis, btw, is the one thing I can see bringing down governments via anarchy and revolution. You’d think the Powers That Be would act, if only in self-preservation.
The off shore oil that is in the areas the oil companies can dill in right this moment is about 34 billion barrels.
Amount in the protected areas McCain says we should let them drill in is less then what they can already drill in.
Time till they can get any of that oil to market is estimated at 8-10 years.
So neocon is saying we should let them drill any where they want, so that in 8-10 years we can get a very small addition to what we alreadey are getting.
Or put another way, it is like planting seeds in a field so in 6 months you can feed each person in the country a single loaf of bread. Meanwhile those same people are starving today.