Boone on Bush: "Too Focused on Ethanol"

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Following the launch of his massive publicity campaign on Tuesday, T. Boone Pickens started to make the requisite rounds on major media to push the Pickens Plan. He kicked off the day as a guest host on CNBC’s Squawk Box, then sat down last night with CBS’s Katie Couric to talk about America’s energy plan (embedded below).

In classically unequivocal Texan terms, Pickens laments that Bush does not share his energy vision for the U.S.:

I’d have to say that I wish that [President Bush] had seen what I believe I see about natural gas. Natural gas is really the only one of our natural resources in this country that can actually replace foreign oil and gasoline. And he went the direction of ethanol which I was not that interested in…I think he was too focused on ethanol.


Pickens, a longtime Republican supporter, tells Couric that he did show President Bush, a fellow Texas oilman, his energy plan — but to no avail:

He was interested and we had a long conversation about it and I went through my whiteboard presentation and all and he seemed to have interest in it but maybe just that day.

He makes Bush sound like a distracted schoolboy. Maybe Pickens should keep him after class.

In an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, Pickens laid out his plan to solve what he sees as “the most serious situation since World War II.” In it he makes clear that while he’s confident America’s businesses can undertake his plan, he understands it will be policy that makes it happen. “The future begins as soon as Congress and the president act,” he writes. “We have a golden opportunity in this election year to form bipartisan support for this plan…We need action. Now.”

Meanwhile, out there on the Internets, the Pickens Plan has presence on MySpace (325 friends), Facebook (950 friends and 847 fans), Twitter (295 followers), YouTube (80 subscribers) and LinkedIn.

All told, the PR campaign is estimated to cost $58 million. But that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the $12 billion T. Boone is putting into his wind farm and barely a droplet in contrast to the $1 trillion Pickens says the government will need to invest to make his energy switch plan work. Even though it doesn’t look like the current president will listen, we’ll see how the next one responds to heavily financed PR.

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Brian J. Donovan

Louisiana Enacts the Most Comprehensive Advanced Biofuel Legislation in the Nation

Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative Benefits Consumers, Farmers and Gas Station Owners with Localized “Field-to-Pump” Strategy

Baton Rouge, LA (September 19, 2008) – Governor Bobby Jindal has signed into law the Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative, the most comprehensive and far-reaching state legislation in the nation enacted to develop a statewide advanced biofuel industry. Louisiana is the first state to enact alternative transportation fuel legislation that includes a variable blending pump pilot program and a hydrous ethanol pilot program.

Field-to-Pump Strategy
The legislature found that the proper development of an advanced biofuel industry in Louisiana requires implementation of the following comprehensive “field-to-pump” strategy developed by Renergie, Inc.:

(1) Feedstock Other Than Corn
(a) derived solely from Louisiana harvested crops;
(b) capable of an annual yield of at least 600 gallons of ethanol per acre;
(c) requiring no more than one-half of the water required to grow corn;
(d) tolerant to high temperature and waterlogging;
(e) resistant to drought and saline-alkaline soils;
(f) capable of being grown in marginal soils, ranging from heavy clay to light sand;
(g) requiring no more than one-third of the nitrogen required to grow corn, thereby reducing the risk of contamination of the waters of the state; and
(h) requiring no more than one-half of the energy necessary to convert corn into ethanol.

(2) Decentralized Network of Small Advanced Biofuel Manufacturing Facilities
Smaller is better. The distributed nature of a small advanced biofuel manufacturing facility network reduces feedstock supply risk, does not burden local water supplies and provides for broader based economic development. Each advanced biofuel manufacturing facility operating in Louisiana will produce no less than 5 million gallons of advanced biofuel per year and no more than 15 million gallons of advanced biofuel per year.

(3) Market Expansion
Advanced biofuel supply and demand shall be expanded beyond the 10% blend market by blending fuel-grade anhydrous ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump. Variable blending pumps, directly installed and operated at local gas stations by a qualified small advanced biofuel manufacturing facility, shall offer the consumer a less expensive substitute for unleaded gasoline in the form of E10, E20, E30 and E85.

Pilot Programs
(1) Advanced Biofuel Variable Blending Pumps – The blending of fuels with advanced biofuel percentages between 10 percent and 85 percent will be permitted on a trial basis until January 1, 2012. During this period the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Division of Weights & Measures will monitor the equipment used to dispense the ethanol blends to ascertain that the equipment is suitable and capable of producing an accurate measurement.

(2) Hydrous Ethanol – The use of hydrous ethanol blends of E10, E20, E30 and E85 in motor vehicles specifically selected for test purposes will be permitted on a trial basis until January 1, 2012. During this period the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Division of Weights & Measures will monitor the performance of the motor vehicles. The hydrous blends will be tested for blend optimization with respect to fuel consumption and engine emissions. Preliminary tests conducted in Europe have proven that the use of hydrous ethanol, which eliminates the need for the hydrous-to-anhydrous dehydration processing step, results in an energy savings of between ten percent and forty-five percent during processing, a four percent product volume increase, higher mileage per gallon, a cleaner engine interior, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Act No. 382, entitled “The Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative,” was co-authored by 27 members of the Legislature. The original bill was drafted by Renergie, Inc. Representative Jonathan W. Perry (R – District 47), with the support of Senator Nick Gautreaux (D – District 26), was the primary author of the bill. Reflecting on the signing of Act No. 382 into law, Brian J. Donovan, CEO of Renergie, Inc. said, “I am pleased that the legislature and governor of the great State of Louisiana have chosen to lead the nation in moving ethanol beyond being just a blending component in gasoline to a fuel that is more economical, cleaner, renewable, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline. The two pilot programs, providing for an advanced biofuel variable blending pump trial and a hydrous ethanol trial, established by the State of Louisiana should be adopted by each and every state in our country.”

State Agencies Must Purchase or Lease Vehicles That Use Alternative Fuels
Louisiana’s Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative further states, “The commissioner of administration shall not purchase or lease any motor vehicle for use by any state agency unless that vehicle is capable of and equipped for using an alternative fuel that results in lower emissions of oxides of nitrogen, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, or particulates or any combination thereof that meet or exceed federal Clean Air Act standards.”

Advanced Biofuel Price Preference for State Agencies
Louisiana’s Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative provides that a governmental body, state educational institution, or instrumentality of the state that performs essential governmental functions on a statewide or local basis is entitled to purchase E20, E30 or E85 advanced biofuel at a price equal to fifteen percent (15%) less per gallon than the price of unleaded gasoline for use in any motor vehicle.

Economic Benefits
The development of an advanced biofuel industry will help rebuild the local and regional economies devastated as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita by providing:
(1) increased value to the feedstock crops which will benefit local farmers and provide more revenue to the local community;
(2) increased investments in plants and equipment which will stimulate the local economy by providing construction jobs initially and the chance for full-time employment after the plant is completed;
(3) secondary employment as associated industries develop due to plant co-products becoming available at a competitive price; and
(4) increased local and state revenues collected from plant operations will stimulate local and state tax revenues and provide funds for improvements to the community and to the region.

“Representative Perry and Senator Gautreaux have worked tirelessly to craft comprehensive advanced biofuel legislation which will maximize rural development, benefit consumers, farmers and gas station owners while also protecting the environment and reducing the burden on local water supplies,” said Donovan. “Representative Perry, Senator Gautreaux, and Dr. Strain, Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, should be praised for their leadership on this issue.”

About Renergie
Renergie was formed on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol. Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program. Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is more economical, cleaner, renewable, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline. Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

Sylvan Melroe

I agree with Mr. Pickens that ethanol is not the answer. I am working with a scientist ( that spent 25 years in the Naval Research Lab) that has developed a mmore efficient solar panel. He also has a generator that has no moving parts and zero emissions We can use this to generate electricity and we can power automobiles with no batteries.
Someone – PLEASE give me a call: (701) 232 – 2602
Thank you!!!!

Richard Wiarda

pickens’ plan is great,but to blame ethanol for everything is short sighted. Ethanol was started to replace MTBE as an oxygenate in gasoline. MTBE is a proven carsinogen. Everyone in agriculture knows we cannot grow enough corn to replace RBOB gasoline. The RFS (renewable fuels standard) will only take corn use to 27% of production. The rest will come from cellulose, wood chips ,switch grass , Municple wastes and more. We desperatly need all these alternative fuels. Ethanol was never intended to replace all of our gas supply. If you took ethanol out of the picture your gas price would be close to $6.00/ gal. Big oil will not sell you your gas any cheaper if the ethanol they put in your tank comes from Brazil. It will make your dollar cheaper and clear more rain forrest and give thousands of little kids something to do instead of go to school. T. Boone Pickens will make millions on his venture. He just needs fed. gov’t help. You see in the U.S. it is not cost effective to put up windfarms in the middle of nowwhere as there are not enough transmission lines. We would have done this along time ago. No tansmission line no wind farm. The electrical grid in this country is woefully creaking along. There are thousands of wind farms already planned and leases signed, they just need some pigeons out there to sceam at the gov’t so the public can foot the bill and build what the electrical industry does not want or have the money to do. Next time you need to bad mouth ethanol, you should go volunteer to fight in Iraq . Or the next war with Iran. T. Boone and his big oil buddies will thank you while they laugh all the way to the bank!!!
Rich W

John P

It’s a start, it’s real (not pie-in-the-sky), and he’s putting his money where his mouth is. I hope he makes money on it. Why shouldn’t he? We live in a market economy and if someone builds a better mouse trap then they should be compensated for it. It’s not the only solution … there is no single solution … but it’s part of the solution. Maybe one day everyone will have solar panels and fuel cells, but the technology to make this economically viable does not exist yet. Meanwhile, his initiative will make reduce our reliance on dirtier technology and foreign fuels on a grand scale, and he’s starting now. Makes him not only an environmentalist, but also a patriot in my view.

Deep Patel

pickens plan is crazy because he does not want power to get in the hands of the people! Lets focus on distributed power, power plants on every home and business versus centralized power in which power is generated from a source far away and delivered to the people. I am passionate about teaching people generate their OWN power, forget the old way of thinking, centralized power.

You can see that he is promoting natural gas, why put us on another fossil fuel resource? When everyone can have their own solar panels / fuel cells charging their electric cars and powering their homes?

pickens plan = greedy

Jason Kratz

You can power your house and get paid by using solar now…doesn’t require some fancy “hydrogen from ammonia” system.

The Pickens Plan is ridiculous. The answer is electric cars….not natural gas-powered cars. The infrastructure to support electric vehicles is there now. Most people drive daily within the range provided by electric cars..now. The electric car doesn’t care what the source of electricity is whether it be solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas, etc.

Natural gas power plants are far more efficient than a natural gas powered internal combustion engine. Keep the gas where it belongs at the power plant.

I realize T. Boone is out to make a lot of money on his plan and that is his incentive to put it forward. It is a ridiculous plan.

Windbreaker Bob

I know some folks who are working on building a fuel that generates hydrogen from ammonia. Imagine powering your house off the grid and even getting paid to do so.

Tom G

And yes, we can sure use some of that compressed natural gas for our existing Internal Combustion Engines [ICE]. And did you know that natural gas burn so much cleaner that oil changes can be extended by thousands of miles.

Tom G

Mr. Pickens is off to a good start by putting his money where his mouth is. Here is my take on the subject.

  1. Wind will be important and we can create giga watts in a short period of time. GM, Ford and others should be gearing up for the production of wind turbines instead of laying off American workers. Can they manufacture them; of course they can. Will they; sure would be nice to create another 10,000 American jobs.

  2. Solar is coming along nicely. Nanosolar now has a continuous roll machine [one machine] which can create 1 gigawatt per year at $1.00 per watt. If it was me, I would put 25 of those suckers on line and find 10,000 workers to cover most of our rooftops with panels.

  3. Solar thermo is also getting competitive and with molten salt storage is good for several hours after peak use periods. At last count about 150 permits for several hundred mega watts of power are awaiting approval.

  4. Let’s not forget geothermal. It is much like nuclear since it acts like a base load plant. Base load plants are those that run 24/7/365. We have about 60 currently operating and they can be quickly brought on line.

  5. For our cars; I for one can’t wait until my local dealership has an electric or plug-in hybrid available. I am sick of the 20-25% efficiency of the Internal combustion engine.

  6. And then of course we need bio-fuels, geothermal heat pumps, maybe even coal to oil if we can do it clean and all the other stuff in the works.

BUT what we need more than anything is ACTION. We need to get the NIMBY people on-board. We need to get the government out of the way or at least stop them from putting road blocks in the way of solutions.

roger payne

What is to know about energy except that we all need it. All renewables can plug directly into our electrical grids. Whichever way is not the problem. We need to deploy a technology to a particular area where it makes sense. i.e. it would not be wise to put more nuclear plants in CA. Other places would be more suitable.

Yes we need to act immediately or mankind on this planet won’t make it. i.e. it is now being estimated that all ice at the North Pole will melt this summer. Not 10 to 20 years from now. THIS SUMMER. So how far can Greenland and the South Pole last.

Electric Cars are the only viable option, so we should work towards that end. Ethanol won’t do us any good because we would have to plant the entire country to get enough corn to meet our requirements, then there is where would we drive to in the middle of a corn field. We were sold down the river and it was wrong. Let’s not forget how much grain it takes to feed livestock and what is happening to food prices not only from the cost of gas, but also because how much grain costs to feed livestock.

Luke

I have always been leary of the super rich. T. Boon Pickens. I dont know, Ive read a little about his plan but I dont know enough about energy to make a good judgement. I wonder what every one else thinks about his plan. You can see his plan at http://www.tboonpickens.com

Deep Patel

the same people who squeezed the American public of their hard earned dollars are now posing as the saviors. Bush has a track record of making stupid decisions, whats new?

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