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T. Boone Pickens: Kicking Off the World's Largest Wind Farm

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Our favorite oil-baron-turned-wind-power-wildcatter, T. Boone Pickens, will make the first down payment this month on 500 wind turbines for his plan to build the world’s largest wind farm in Texas, says the Guardian. Over the next four years, Pickens plans to build 2,700 wind turbines that would supply 4,000 megawatts — enough to power 1 million homes.

It’s interesting that Pickens tells the Guardian that the wind farm will cost $10 billion to build, because we’ve previously heard figures closer to $6 billion (via the WSJ). Perhaps Pickens underestimated the cost last year. As we pointed out in February, the cost of the raw materials to build turbines, as well as demand for turbines themselves, have been lifting the upfront costs of building wind farms.

And the costs of building Texas’ transmission lines, to move the power from the farms to more populated areas, has been adding up, too. The state could spend anywhere between $2.95 billion and $6.38 billion on laying new lines, according to a recent report.

But Texas and its entrepreneurs like Pickens are willing to make the investment. The state leads the nation in wind power and is building a booming industry off of the renewable energy technology. Texas not only has large stretches of windswept rural plains, but it has the kind of regulatory atmosphere that can fast-track wind projects.

The farmers who own that windswept land can also make significant money off the farms. A New York Times story mentioned a farmer that makes $500 a month for each wind turbine on his property. Pickens tells the Guardian he’s paying $10,000 and $20,000 in annual royalties for every turbine farmers allowed on their land.

And it’s becoming a point of pride for Texas — Jerry Patterson, the Texas land commissioner, told the NYT, “We’re No. 1 in wind in the United States, and that will never change.”

Here’s more coverage of the imitable T. Boone Pickens:

129 Responses to “T. Boone Pickens: Kicking Off the World's Largest Wind Farm”

  1. Richard Mason

    Wind farms are good for everyone. The only thing wrong is they have the wrong wind mill. We have a wind mill that will out perform anything out there today and is small enough to put in your back yard and not be noticed. The windmill generator we have will start at 2 miles per hour and can still go at 100 miles per hour. The windmills out there today start at 17 miles per hour and have to be shut down at 30 miles per hour. Mr. Pickens needs to come and see for himself that we van producce 12 times more power with ours than any of the others. Thank you

  2. First thing we have to is put politics aside and do what is best for this country. Until we do that nothing will ever happen that is in the best interest of our country. The wind farms are a great idea; I’ve personally worked on some of these wind farms across the country, and I think they need to be built along with more solar and nuclear plants. Wind is the quickest fix, but we have to look 20 years, 50 years into the future. There is no simple fix for the situation we put ourselves in, but we can fix it. We have some of the brightest engineers and scientist the world as ever had and it’s time to put them to good use.

  3. Sue Reszneki

    Wind, solar, geothermal alternatives . . .we need them all! We have clean resources available to help meet our energy needs. How much more proof do we need to decrease our dependence on foreign sources and to begin respecting our limited ecology.

    Wind turbines are ugly? Well, coal mining is uglier! Wind turbines will eventually be abandoned and left behind to fall into heaps of discarded metal? We recycle our old cars, old computers, and plastic milk jugs. We even recycle our old shopping bags! How can anyone realistically believe that old turbines would not also be recycled for their scrap value?

    It’s time the arguments and debates be sidelined. This is Mr. Pickens’ decision and his fame if it works or his infamy if it fails. I personally think that this nationally recognized man AND his advisors have given this $10 Billion venture due consideration BEFORE he put his name and dollars behind it.

    I don’t claim to have ANY knowledge of how to solve our energy needs. . . only the knowledge that something MUST be done and time to solve these problems is getting shorter. At least, Mr. Pickens has a plan and it certainly is time we diversify into new sources to meet our energy needs. The cleaner, the better!


    • Patti Clark

      How can I get a report on how your stocks are doing. I have a small investment and don’t know how to get the progress on them because the are totaled with my other investments. I would appreciate this information

  5. Esther

    I think your ideas are the best I have heard to deal with the energy problems. At least you are thinking and planning ahead for the children of the future. I live in Florida and drilling off the beautiful coast doesn’t seem like the best idea to me. Thank you for your ideas and I encourage you to continue. We can I do to help?

  6. Joann Evans

    Are there smaller wind turbines than we usually see in photos? If so, how do you go about having two or three installed ? Or even one large one? I have room for several and would love to pay my electric uses this way.

  7. Myrna Kuki, Apache Junction, AZ

    I am totally in favor of using alternative energy sources now and investigating how best to use any and all of them. I currently have an idea of how to power the streetlights on the freeways using wind power from the cars going by. The power source would be right there at the place of use. I wish that I could find someone to help me put my idea out there. My idea is only applicable for freeways but on the other hand, we use a lot of power for lighting our freeways and this would be a big energy saver.

  8. Pat Flannery

    Good for you, Mr. Pickens!
    Up here in North Dakota (the most windy state in the union) we have the ability to emplace tens of thousands of wind turbines with only a minimal effect on our total farming land area.
    A superb concept!

    Pat Flannery
    Jamestown, North Dakota

  9. scott brown

    I am 59 years of age and have been a strong advocate for alternative energy since the seventies. I beleive that solar, wind and water are the future. We need to capitalize on these as soon as possible and the government needs to allow more tax credits for individuals interested in using new technologies in their homes and business’s.

  10. Arthur Briesch

    T Boone Pickens for President!! There doesn’t seem to be a national sense of urgency. It is time that the East coast and West coast come together right here in the middle of our country and make some energy. Being politically correct is nothing but hot air – what an energy source.

  11. John Archer, New Zealand

    This article says the wind farm “would supply 4,000 megawatts — enough to power 1 million homes.”

    In New Zealand, that much electricity would power 1.6 million homes. Perhaps the reason that the USA is running out of energy is that each home uses too much.

  12. …about as much energy as one nuke plant but covering an area many times the size and requiring much more infrastructure to transmit and service.

    Seems pretty inefficient.

  13. Dick Sweat

    Using wind is all well and good Pickens, but using the term “We can’t drill our way out of this” in your radio commercials, totally turns me off! Don’t go there! We need to do BOTH! Both increased domestic drilling for more oil, and alternative energy sources. You lose me pal, when you start sounding like some anal, Earth-First Environmental Wacko!

  14. Rockwell Whitham

    Mr. Pickens, I have a wind power project that I would like to show to you. It has no moving parts, will cost 1/10th the price of any wind mill made today, and produce more energy. The name of my company is Envision Energy Systems, EES is a green energy development company. At this time we have 20 new technologies under contract, three of these are my inventions. Please allow me to talk to one of your engineers about these projects. Mr. Pickens with your help we can make these United States the great Nation and Great Power we once were. My cell is
    801-232-0322. We need to change now or we may not have much of a tomorrow.
    Thank you
    Rocky Whitham

  15. Bill Wildhage

    I saw T. Boone Pickens on CNN this morning. Here is an oil man who says we are in trouble! I whole heartedly endorse his wind project. I felt his frustration that we are in trouble and NO ONE is panicked, not the Whitehouse (expected), not Congress (ineffective), not the American People. I am disappointed that there is not an outrage in this country at what is happening energywise. Our country is unraveling!

  16. John Bellair

    Is there any connection between the T. Boone Pickens wind generator plan and the land rip-off idea called the Trans Texas Corridor? Just think – if the government takes (eminent domain) all the land for this corridor which is planned to go from the Mexican border to the Canadian border right up the center of the United States Mr Pickens will have the wind corridor he is looking for. What will all these fans operating at the same time do to the wind patterns in the US – not to mention this same corridor is the one the birds use during migration.

  17. Steve

    If you divide 10 billion dollars by 1 million people you get 10,000 per person? How is this going help everyone long term? It will tank the economy faster than you can say Petroleum. I think the current Nuclear and oil/gas just needs to be able to drill and operate more freely like the rest of the world. Americans are dark ages in terms of energy. They a lack the ability to be able to address practical ways ot use current known energy.

  18. Plan to Help the USA! Please read.

    Reduce demand and the price will fall! Even one year of this plan will result in huge benefits for America.

    This plan would have a greater impact if implemented nationwide. Please consider and share with our legislators.
    Enough is enough it is time to take action on fuel prices. There is something that can be done that will save millions of gallons of fuel daily without sacrificing anything. The only thing that we will need to do to make that happen is for a small percentage of our population to make a minor change in their work schedule.
    The plan:
    Change the school week to a four day week by increasing each of the remaining four days by 2 hours of class time each day. This will provide the students with the same amount of instructional time and in most schools even an additional 30 minutes of instructional time.
     All school buses travel will be reduced by 20% as well as the diesel usage for the entire fleet of school buses will be reduced by 20%. Just think how much diesel fuel will be saved each week. The students will still get the same amount of instructional time.
     Possible residual benefits:
     Students will have a full day to work on homework, special research projects, and reports rather than dividing each evening into small blocks of time.
     Many parents will not need the before/after school care because the student work day will be more in line with the standard 8 hour work day of their parents. (This will further reduce transportation needs to daycare each day.)
     Parents who have young children in before school care/after school care already have caretakers available for short school weeks, holidays, and school vacations. High school students could earn extra money by assisting day care facilities with part-time help needed for the extra day of child care.
     Students who need special tutoring will be able to devote a full day to the tutoring. (This could happen by having older students tutor younger students at neighborhood community centers, churches and day care facilities.)
     In addition, emissions from the school buses will be reduced by 20% if they operate one day a week less.
     Schools strapped for funding will be able to save on fuel expense. That savings could be used to fund the class size reduction, materials and even additional tutors.
     No employees will need to be cut or reduced due to the lost day. Current qualified classified employees (food service workers, bus drivers, etc.) will be assigned to an ESE teacher or an inclusion teacher to provide tutoring or assistance to special needs students one day or a certain number of hours a week to make up the time so that will not need to sacrifice pay. This will also enhance academic assistance for our special needs students.
     No employees will need to be cut or reduced due to the lost day. Current qualified classified employees (food service workers, bus drivers, etc.) could serve as aides, substitutes, media center assistants and other service related jobs during the extra hours to make up for the hours of service.
     Staff development may take place during the extra day so that teachers do not need to leave classes for professional development activities.
    In the 1970s America immediately responded to the increase in fuel prices and took action to reduce consumption by reducing the speed limit on the highways to 55mph and by changing to daylight savings time. This plan will be even less expensive to implement because we will not need to change speed limit signs which is labor intensive. Schools are currently beginning to plan the calendar for the next school year. It is now time to take action and help save our economy and help save our planet. Be a hero, TAKE ACTION NOW!
    Thank you for taking time to consider this plan.
    How can we see if the people will support this?
    How can we survey people?

    I also believe that people who can afford solar and wind power should invest in it.

  19. Hattie Kinder

    I live just East of Snyder Texas. I am a retired teacher. My sister and I own a farm just north of Sweetwater. How do we get the windmills on the farm??????????????????????????????

  20. Cindy P

    Be sure to remember your high praise for Mr. Pickens when drinking water is rationed, you are subsisting on soylent green, and the entire Midwest is a desert.

    • The rise in the cost of materials is affecting all energy sources (as is the simultaneous rise in the cost of fuels, although wind is fuel-free so not directly affected by that).

    • News reports on the cost of transmission lines in Texas didn’t quite capture the full story. See for a different view.

    Tom Gray
    American Wind Energy Association

  21. Chris Morrison

    No matter how many time I see this guy’s name, it never ceases to amaze and delight me. He’ll make a perfect evil alternative energy overlord.