Oil baron turned wind developer T. Boone Pickens says gas-guzzling America is in need of an oil intervention. To get us off the sweet Saudi sticky, today Pickens has launched his Pickens Plan, accompanied by a media blitz of television ads (embedded after the jump), a […]

Oil baron turned wind developer T. Boone Pickens says gas-guzzling America is in need of an oil intervention. To get us off the sweet Saudi sticky, today Pickens has launched his Pickens Plan, accompanied by a media blitz of television ads (embedded after the jump), a web site and even an array of web 2.0 tools (T. Boone Twitters!).

With a Texan’s penchant for superlatives, Pickens, who is currently building what he says will be the world’s largest wind farm, is launching his Pickens Plan with what he calls the biggest public policy ad campaign ever. Pickens’s PR tells USA Today that America will be seeing just about as much Boone as Obama or McCain in their living rooms as the hedge funder tries to make foreign oil independence the No. 1 issue of this election. (also watch the informational video from Pickens web site embedded below)

The Pickens Plan sounds simple enough: In order to reduce our use of foreign oil, Pickens proposes using the natural gas that currently generates about 20 percent of our electricity to replace about a third of our imported transportation fuel. Compressed natural gas has existed as a transport fuel for some time but hasn’t been a highly prioritized alternative to gasoline.

Pickens then wants to replace that energy on the grid with wind — an energy source the DOE estimates is capable of satisfying 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs. According to Pickens’s flowchart-laden math, this energy shuffle will reduce our annual imports of foreign oil to $400 billion from $700 billion in 10 years.

This isn’t the first time Pickens has bought a place for his voice in a presidential election. In the 2004 election, Pickens supported the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry and offered $1 million to anyone who could disprove the group’s claims.

Pickens stands to gain considerably from his proposed plan, as his $12 billion wind investment is still under construction. But the 80-year-old oilman is convinced we can do it. We just need the right leadership, he says, which might be purchasable with the right ad campaign.

By Craig Rubens

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  1. greensolutions Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    I appreciate his promotion of renewables. He’s definitely right about large-scale wind in the central U.S. and expanding solar. I’m kinda surprised he can’t afford better advisers on technical, financial and ecological issues, though.

    If his true intention is to help this country, I think his money would be much more effective if it was invested in changing our patterns of energy and material flows and closing the loops. This would produce much higher returns, both financially and energetically.

    Why not first invest billions in negawatts instead of megawatts in the electricity sector?

    -Smart Grid Technology
    -Waste Heat Recycling for power plants and industries requiring process heat
    -Combined Heat and Power
    -CSP and sustainable biomass (where appropriate) supplementing existing coal and natural gas power plants
    -LED technology

    here’s a page with some links–> http://www.recycled-energy.com/pubs/pubs_tom_casten.html

    Why not invest billions in negabarrels instead of megabarrels in the transportation sector?

    -Locally-focused agriculture projects, compost services, recycling projects, etc, making transport unnecessary
    -Mixed-use developments that make commuting unnecessary
    -Freight and commuter rail infrastructure

    I see major flaws in relying upon a higher proportion of natural gas in the transportation sector:

    -The high monetary and energy cost of expanding a guaranteed-to-be-obsolete natural gas dispensing infrastructure

    -The low efficiency of internal combustion engines

    -Rising natural gas prices as the good stuff peaks and unconventional stuff gets tapped, plus we have an inadequate LNG shipping infrastructure.

    -Potential conflicts over a dwindling resource (how is natural gas better than oil in this regard?)

    -CO2 emissions

    His arguments are based on continuing our current consumption of natural gas, which is simply not feasible.

    I guess being an old school oil man influences his decisions in favor of centralized infrastructure, top-down approaches and supply-centric and mechanistic thinking. Too bad. That mulah could do a lotta good.

    1. Crybaby.

      What a wimp you are; bloated text with no substance, jealous of others success, dreaming about utopia and neglecting real time lines.

      But oh, do you know how to spend other folks money!

      Yes Sir! Tell us how many millions YOU’ve earned so far with your brilliant concepts?

  2. The sweet Saudi sticky?

  3. Go Boone Go,,,,do solar and wind together,,there are very few days that it is cloudy and no wind.
    Get car companies to start making a line of cars that run on propane. Put propane stations in conjunction with truck stops.

  4. Go for it Boone! You’re right on this issue and you need to go public and ask people to write their congressional representatives and demand that the government provide incentives to the private sector to implement this plan. You need to be frank and alarmist on this issue to wake up the American people and overcome their apathy before it’s too late. Make the candidates address this issue. Good luck.

  5. I’m happy he’s doing something. I don’t think the average American realises how much China buys our collective American soul everyday. Rome is falling and we’re watching reality shows – oh wait now we’re watching Chinese shows…and so it begins.

  6. I think this is a great plan, frankly. Wind is the most currently economic of the renewables, and Natural Gas cars are the most ready for the road. I view it as best a bridging strategy to get us off of oil as quickly as possible and give time for electric transportation to really get going.

    Obama, if he were smart enough, would approach Boone and embrace this before McCain does.

  7. Mr. Pickens & Co.
    I agree with Kirby Ward above; Go with both wind & solar. Use the mega wind machines and mega solar sites for these plans. Do not ‘sell back’ to the Power Cos. Be the Power Cos. Distribute this maxi-power via microwave or similar wireless media. Set up plans for different market levels agribusiness to villages to towns and small cities. Offer these plans under the TBP license control.
    Establish separate smaller units for indivual home use – in both types solar and wind for small ranches and minimal acreage plots. Encourage / Mandate Government subsidies and participation under the Small Business Administration.
    more to come…….

  8. Boone declined to comment Wednesday. They’re amazingly adept at construction. ” It’s important to me that Kirby Ward makes construction, and that they must be here to participate.

  9. David Sanders Thursday, July 10, 2008

    With rising fuel costs, the federal government still requires its workforce to work M-F and supervisors still “don’t support” telework/telecommuting (working from home) or compressed or alternative work schedule (working four 10 hour days and 1 day off a week or working eight 9 hour days and 1 eight hour day with 1 day off every other week).

    With rising energy costs, my home owner association still bans solar panels (in its covenants) but hasn’t addressed wind turbines yet.

    Even though I watched the G Word TV program on wind generators in Texas, the end of the segment introduced one that was home sized — yet no manufacturer or way to contact anyone about obtaining one.

    The next president and the next Congress will have to start drilling in ANWR, off shore, start construction of oil refineries, and permit the licensing of nuclear facilities. AND tell Detroit to start creating fuel efficient engines and producing them in quantity.

    Wind generators offshore or in communities should be encouraged and constructed now — debate should stop. Fossil fuels have a limit — wind does not. The same applies for solar powered generators.

    Recycling (paper, glass, metal) could be encouraged or enforced.

  10. I think it’s great that Pickens is putting so much money into alternative energy. For the most part his plan is great and it is getting a lot of people to talk.

    However, the part of the plan that fails is the natural gas aspect for vehicles. We don’t want to replace one non-sustainable energy source with another. Otherwise, we will run into the same problems with natural gas that we have with oil today.


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