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T. Boone Pickens Outlines His Energy Policy for America


By Stephanie Cohen
New Atlantis
July 9, 2008


T. Boone Pickens outlines his energy policy for America

This week, billionaire oilman (and now wind energy investor) T. Boone Pickens
has debuted his new energy policy to wean the U.S. off oil. Pickens says he is
prepared to use his own money to advance this plan. At the center of his plan is
another fossil fuel — natural gas — and renewable energy like wind power.
What’s the renewable fossil fuel equation? According to CNBC’s recounting of
Pickens’s appearance on that network on Tuesday morning:

Developing wind and solar power could lower the use of natural gas in some
instances, he said. Some of that natural gas could be redirected to uses
normally reserved for oil, like transportation. That, in turn, could lead to a
38 percent reduction in the use of foreign energy supplies, he concluded.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Mr. Pickens plans a long media campaign
“to promote his energy policy ideas — which align perfectly with his business
investments. He’ll spend tens of millions of dollars on television and Web
advertising and will make talk show appearances along the way”:

Mr. Pickens agreed that the shift to natural gas and renewable power will take
time. He isn’t trying to address current prices at the pump; Americans will
have to find ways to live with expensive gasoline, he said.

And he acknowledges that building natural gas pipelines to every service
station, erecting more wind turbines, and stringing the transmission lines to
service them, would cost billions of dollars.

But with the U.S. spending $700 billion a year on foreign oil, investing
several billion in wind turbines and new transmission lines would be an
attractive trade-off, he says.

The businessman also announced Tuesday that he was investing $10 billion on a
4,000 megawatt wind power deal in Pampa, Texas. He referenced an “unbelievable
wind corridor from Sweetwater, Texas to the Canadian border” as a possible site
for 150,000 megawatts. Pickens toured wind turbines in Sweetwater last week with
national media outlets. An Abilene Reporter News story last week quoted Pickens
as saying “we’ve already bought the turbines for the first 1,000 megawatts, and
we’ll start construction in the summer of 2010.”

Pickens has also launched Clean Energy Fuels, a company that runs natural-gas
filling stations for fleet vehicles, according to a MarketWatch story.

Pickens doesn’t plan to discuss energy policy in a bubble; he plans to push the
presidential candidates to address the issue. According to the Dallas News, “He
aims to make energy a central issue in the presidential election. He’ll
challenge the candidates to go beyond pandering on gasoline prices to create
real energy plans.”

Actual text of the energy policy is not yet available but the “Pickens Plan” is
outlined here. This morning in the Wall Street Journal, Pickens argues that “can
be accomplished within 10 years if this country takes decisive and bold steps
immediately. This plan dramatically reduces our dependence on foreign oil and
lowers the cost of transportation. It invests in the heartland, creating
thousands of new jobs. It substantially reduces America's carbon footprint and
uses existing, proven technology. It will be accomplished solely through private
investment with no new consumer or corporate taxes or government regulation. It
will build a bridge to the future, giving us the time to develop new technologies.”

 

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