|T. Boone Pickens Touts Energy Plan in Valley|
By Ed Taylor
November 11, 2008
Longtime Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens said his Pickens Plan to reduce the
nation's dependence on foreign oil remains valid even with oil prices dropping
rapidly. That's because the 60 percent plunge since July is likely to be only
temporary, he said.
Pickens, who spoke Tuesday at a conference of the Edison Electric Institute in
Phoenix, predicted that $4-a-gallon gasoline and $100-plus for a barrel of oil
will return within a couple of years, driven by OPEC production cuts and
increasing demand as global economies recover.
Still, he said his efforts to develop a massive wind farm in west Texas are on
hold because the price of natural gas has fallen along with oil. That has made
wind electricity too expensive compared with power generated by burning natural
gas, he said.
But Pickens expressed confidence that the incoming Barack Obama administration
understands the long-term problem and will take his plan seriously.
"I think Obama sees the merits of what we're pursuing," he said. "Obama has said
that in 10 years he wants no oil imports from the Middle East. That is a
conscious statement, so he must have a plan."
Pickens added: "Right now I'm the only person in the U.S. that has a plan."
The much-publicized Pickens Plan, unveiled on July 8, calls for a massive
increase in the use of wind power to generate electricity, reducing the use of
natural gas for power production. The natural gas saved would be available to
run vehicles, thus cutting the nation's demand for gasoline refined from oil -
much of it imported from unstable and hostile nations.
If adopted, he claims his plan would reduce the nation's dependence on foreign
oil by one-third.
Since its introduction, more than 1.3 million people - what he calls the Pickens
Army - have signed up to support the plan through the Pickensplan.com Web site.
Also 50 members of Congress have pledged to support legislation to implement the plan.
In addition to building more wind and solar-electric farms, the plan requires
the expansion and modernization of the nation's transmission grid to get the
electricity from wind and solar corridors to large cities where the electricity
The $500 billion program would save $10 trillion in imported oil over the next
10 years and create 3.4 million American jobs at full build out, Pickens said.
Arizona could play an important role in the domestic energy mix because it is
part of a "fantastic" solar corridor extending from Texas to California, Pickens
said. Arizona also has wind resources that need to be developed, he said.
Pickens, the founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, which is involved in
energy investments, denied a frequently voiced criticism that he's motivated
primarily by the prospect of personal gain.
"I truly believe what I am doing is good for this country," he said.