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Billonaire T. Boone Pickens is pulling out of the 4 GW Texas wind farm he planned to pour $10B USD into. A death-blow to the project happened when the deal to build high-power transmission lines fell through.  (Source: foxtwo)

T. Boone Pickens is instead returning his attention to natural gas, though remaining optimistic on wind power. He claims that natural gas is our nation's "only option".  (Source: Horn River News)
Billionaire says he will turn to natural gas instead

Oil baron T. Boone Pickens made headlines when he announced that he would be making a massive investment in wind power.  He had made plans for a 4 GW wind farm in Pampa, Texas a town along U.S. Highway 60 northeast of Amarillo.  The site was set to become the largest wind farm in the U.S.

However, a mere 667 turbines into the construction (likely about a sixth of the total planned turbines) Mr. Pickens is pulling out of the "green gold" project of which he has contributed $10B USD.  A deciding factor was the difficulties in securing heavy transmission lines need to link the generators to the nation's power grid.   Mr. Pickens tried to get financing for the lines, but the deal fell through.

Now he is pulling out of the project, mostly.  He states, "The capital markets have dealt us all a setback.  I am committed to 667 wind turbines and I am going to find projects for them.  I expect to continue development of the Pampa project, but not at the pace that I originally expected."

Mr. Pickens made a fortune off his venture oil and gas firm Mesa Petroleum that after initial success began gobbling up oil and natural gas companies in the 1980s.  Now it appears that Mr. Pickens is returning to his roots.  He comments that natural gas is "the only option at this point" and continues, "There's no other, there's nothing else to replace it. It's the one and only resource in America that today can replace foreign oil. It is a cleaner, abundant fuel."

Still he remains optimistic on wind power, stating, "We've got more wind than anybody else in the world, just like they have more oil.  I think that's the future of this country.  We'll get there."

President Obama's alternative energy efforts have pleased Mr. Pickens, as does a new bill which will offer tax credits for the production of alternative fuels vehicles, including cars that can run on natural gas.  In addition to introduce new tax credits the bill will require 50 percent of all new vehicles purchased or placed in service by the U.S. government by Dec. 31, 2014, to be capable of operating on compressed or liquefied natural gas.

Cheers Mr. Pickens, "We're going to now use natural gas in place of foreign oil."

Major wind and solar installations continue to gain traction in America, but the death of the Pickens project in Texas showcases the problems with America's power infrastructure.  America is suffering from a decrepit and poorly maintained power grid which not only lowers efficiencies (raising power costs) and contributes to brownouts, but also hinders alternative energy projects.  As America has expanded, the grid hasn't expanded quickly enough with it, as this project showcases.

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By smackababy on 7/9/2009 9:25:06 AM , Rating: 5
Nuclear power is the way of the future...

By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 9:36:48 AM , Rating: 2
He didn't fund much of the wind farm either. A lot of it was paid for by you and me with tax payer funded government subsidies.

By Hiawa23 on 7/9/2009 11:11:36 AM , Rating: 4
Here's a hint: since Obama took office, everything is paid for with taxpayer subsidies.

This mess isn't Obabma's fault. I am still baflled why a country supposedly as great as the US has to depend so much on foreign oil to begin with, & for so long. This is many decades in the making & no one has any short term answer or relief for the masses who continue to get hosed at the pump & on their energy bills. Many say the housing market brought down the economy, but also outragious fuel prices. Most only seem to be at the mercy of Oil companies, & foreign countries. At this point I am for any & every possibility which includes more drilling, nuclear, whatever. There must be an answer out there, or maybe not. Why haven't we found an answer to this problem?

RE: Why don't people research before they do things?
By Fanon on 7/9/2009 11:24:31 AM , Rating: 5
We know what the solution is, and has been, for years:

Drill more
Build more refineries
Build more nuclear plants

The problem is people on the left side of the aisle won't listen or allow any of it because it doesn't give them control, money, and/or power.

By Hiawa23 on 7/9/2009 12:15:01 PM , Rating: 2
Drill more
Build more refineries
Build more nuclear plants

The problem is people on the left side of the aisle won't listen or allow any of it because it doesn't give them control, money, and/or power.

great info, so in other words, we are screwed cause they probably haven't built any refineries since the 70s, or nuclear plants, & I have to figure that it just can't be the people on the left side of the isle cause it has been decades, & we are more dependent now than we were back in the 70s 80s..

By rudolphna on 7/9/2009 12:31:29 PM , Rating: 5
They are actually in the process of starting construction on several Nuclear power stations across the US. Many applications for new reactors are still in progess or have been approved by the NRC.

By Solandri on 7/9/2009 2:34:08 PM , Rating: 4
Oil is mostly used in transportation (also for heating in the Northeast U.S.), and accounts for a bit less than half of the energy consumption of the U.S. Roughly half of that oil is used by passenger cars, and the other half by commercial trucks. The other half of the energy used by the U.S. is mostly electricity, which primarily comes from coal plants (nuclear and hydro are the other big sources).

The U.S. is self-sufficient when it comes to electricity. It and China have the world's greatest coal deposits. The problem, as we're seeing with the development of hybrid and electric vehicles, is that electricity is really difficult to store. That makes it a poor choice for transportation relative to oil (with our current technology). The low population density of the U.S. also leads to greater transportation needs compared to places like Europe and East Asia. So even though the U.S. could by all measures be energy independent, it's just cheaper for us to buy foreign oil to power our transportation industry.

By mcnabney on 7/9/2009 5:36:27 PM , Rating: 2
The storage problem of electricity is a non-issue. Only big nuclear and coal plants have difficulty turning on and off. Natural gas is like a light switch and solar, hydro, and wind can be throttled to lower levels of output in seconds if needed. We just need to build the capacity.
Once electricity enters oversupply and batteries mature it should be a no brainer switching auto engines into electric motors.
Oh, and for the whiners that think electric cars will be stodgy, slow, and difficult to maintain - think again. Electric motors have amazing torgue and the use of electric motors eliminate the need for most of the modern car's engine/transmission woes since the number of moving parts that can wear will plumet. Reliability will be astounding.

By Eris23007 on 7/9/2009 8:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
Explain how throttling solar and wind power works please? This is contrary to my understanding of the issue.

By Alexvrb on 7/9/2009 9:07:04 PM , Rating: 3
It is NOT a non-issue. He was referring to storage in terms of automotive usage. Not power plants, and not future storage solutions. Batteries will improve, yes, but right now we can't switch all our cars to electricity. Even if we did, charging a battery and then using said battery to power a motor isn't exactly super efficient either. I mean you're going Power Source (Coal, Nuclear, etc) -> Transmission (lines and infrastructure) -> Battery (AC/DC conversion required) -> Electric motors. It's still probably better than an ICE, but to what degree, especially with more efficient ICE designs in the pipeline (like HCCI).

As far as electric cars lacking an engine and transmission, this is only true for pure electrics. E-REVs like the Volt still have an engine, although it is only used to extend range and is not coupled to a transmission or the wheels. Not to mention traditional hybrids like the Prius and Insight, which have both an engine and a transmission. Both traditional hybrids and the Volt are designs which bridge the gap between gasoline cars and electrics.

On top of that, electric cars won't eliminate the need for repairs. It will reduce them, and will reduce required maintenence significantly. But there are lots of other things on a car to replace, chassis parts, climate control, tires, brakes, suspension. If your electric motor(s) or batteries do eventually fail, it will be costly to replace them, the industry will make sure of that.

Not to mention that in order to get better performance, some electrics will use a more traditional drivetrain (electric motor coupled to a gearbox). Tesla does this, heck they even tried a 2 gear transmission, but they couldn't secure one that could handle the abuse in time. So they settled for a strong one-gear fixed ratio transmission by Borg Warner that could handle the abuse (the ones with the early trans were locked permanently in second gear which reduced performance, and promised to replace them with the final trans later). I'm sure someone will try 2+ gears again.

By Jeffk464 on 7/10/2009 10:11:50 AM , Rating: 3
Not sure you want to tap into our oil for the purpose of transportation. You never know when you are going to need that oil for national defense. Our high tech war-machine requires massive amounts of oil. One of the big things that stopped the German war-machine in WW2 was being cut off from oil

By karkas on 7/12/2009 6:40:58 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely true. I wish these facts were mentioned more often.

RE: Why don't people research before they do things?
By Spuke on 7/9/09, Rating: 0
RE: Why don't people research before they do things?
By Regs on 7/9/2009 12:39:45 PM , Rating: 1
It's not just money, its opportunity. Lets say Country A can build 10 cars and 6 tanks for each full working day at full employment/productivity. Country B can build 8 tanks and 4 cars for each working day because they're more geared towards building tanks.

Country A will have to give up 4 cars to make the additional 2 tanks. So what do they do? They buy the two extra tanks from Country B and then Country B uses the money to do whatever the hell they want with it.

It makes perfect economic sense for a country to buy what they are less efficient at making, and to sell what they are more efficient at making for a better profit.

By mcnabney on 7/9/2009 5:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
And besides banking, software, movies, and jet planes - just what is it that America will be selling in exchange for another countries production efficiency?

/oh, we will be selling our children's future some more. Got it ;-)

By Regs on 7/10/2009 8:55:57 AM , Rating: 2
No, it means your children will be hopefully doing something that progresses human knowledge, improving quality of life, and our race itself, without having to worry about redundant processes.

We don't have unlimited resources to maintain our quality of life and current progression and goals, while pretending to be captain planet. Until our way of life is attacked will we understand how the economy works, and make the changes necessary to economically fix the problem.

You can sit there and try to protect our jobs all you want, but we will lose the competitive advantage sooner or later. Try to think of our nation in terms of globalization as one big giant corporation. If we lose our efficiency and competitive advantages, we are dead in the water. We have to think of new ways to create and maintain a competitive advantage and selling cars or planes at prices no one is willing to pay is not the answer.

By MrBlastman on 7/9/2009 1:18:22 PM , Rating: 4
Spend it on NG? Hmm, I think the cash would have been better spent on a top secret genetic engineering program that promotes lactose intolerance in all humans. You could have the doctors, or at least, a nurse on the take in every hospital secretly administer the genetic payload to each newborn. In a few years - viola! A natural gas farm!

Why on earth bother drilling for it when you can pump it into your own home. Infrastructure? What infrastructure? It is already in place and leads straight to your local grocery store.

Perhaps they should call it Bush's plan - Bush's baked beans to be exact. 100% Natural, full of protein and most importantly completely portable and a limitless supply.

Just ask my wife, I nearly gassed her out the other night. It was a rumbling thunderstorm and it wasn't in the skies above. It was a roaring torrent of wind that came gushing through the room like a devilish twister of odor just aiming to reach out. Why let it diffuse itself in the atmosphere when you can capture it and detonate it?

Yes, the plan is simple:

a. Modify genetics
b. Milk Cows
c. Ship milk and beans to grocery store
d. Eat milk and beans
e. Hook hose up to rectum


Sure, we'll all look like fools walking around with hoses up our behinds but you'll hear joyous crys from children with wonderful phrases such as: "Mommy, look, you have a tail!," and "Are those ducks I hear?"

Natural Gas, being served up at a grocery store near you!

By ZmaxDP on 7/9/2009 2:33:57 PM , Rating: 2

Not quite as goos as eating babies, but not bad. Personally, I prefer barking spiders to ducks, and I have a dog with gas to put mine to shame so I usually blame mine on him. (I get a semi-playful slap, he gets a pat on the head and baby talk. I figure he doesn't mind.)

By Farfignewton on 7/9/2009 3:36:19 PM , Rating: 2
The US could very easily be self sufficient in our use of oil.

I'm sure it COULD be done, we apparently came close in the late 80's, but very easily? If you have a mystical being in a lamp, wishing for oil independence will likely go as bad as asking for world peace. ;)

By arazok on 7/9/2009 5:05:48 PM , Rating: 1
The US could very easily be self sufficient in our use of oil.

And it would come at the expense of your current standard of living. Why would you do that? So you can pat yourself on the back for being self sufficient?

By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 5:18:33 PM , Rating: 1

If we started drilling for oil offshore, taking advantage of the known resources in Alaska, and processing oil shale into oil, we could produce all the oil we need for over a hundred years at current consumption levels. And we haven't even looked in parts of the Arctic that are now accessible.

By sinful on 7/9/2009 9:41:39 PM , Rating: 1

If we started drilling for oil offshore, taking advantage of the known resources in Alaska, and processing oil shale into oil, we could produce all the oil we need for over a hundred years at current consumption levels. And we haven't even looked in parts of the Arctic that are now accessible.

The problem is, even if we started all that tomorrow, it'd be 10+ years before a drop reached actual production.
Refinery capacity+drilling setup time is pretty substantial.

Second, the cost to produce the amount we need AS FAST as we need it is basically impossible. Yes, we could drill in Alaska... but unless we start 500 projects all at the same time, self-suffiency wouldn't happen for 100 years.... so, maybe if we threw a few trillion at it, it'd be doable...

Third, unless you NATIONALIZE the oil industry, all you're doing is putting that oil into the global market, which means it'll go to the highest bidder - not necessary stay in the US.
In other words, if Chinese are willing to pay $5/gallon for gas, well then, all that work you've done is for naught - the free market is going to be shipping that oil out of the US and to China.

The idea that we can drill for oil and become self-sufficient is pretty far fetched -- even more so than wind & solar power.

By Indianapolis on 7/10/2009 1:12:12 AM , Rating: 3
How many years has it been since people started making the "10 years" argument? How short sighted have we become?

By Spuke on 7/10/2009 6:58:44 PM , Rating: 2
Third, unless you NATIONALIZE the oil industry, all you're doing is putting that oil into the global market, which means it'll go to the highest bidder - not necessary stay in the US.
Damn. I didn't realize that. Since oil is a commodity, drilling our own wouldn't make much difference. Although, I think if we could rival OPEC's output, we might force them to compete which might drive prices down.

By Starcub on 7/10/2009 11:09:21 AM , Rating: 2
I am still baflled why a country supposedly as great as the US has to depend so much on foreign oil to begin with, & for so long.

Because oil is very cheap for the US. A few taxpayer dollars in the pocket of the right power brokers and we get nice sweetheart deals with foreign resource providers. Why change under such an arrangement? If we can hoard oil now while production is at its peak, we can sell it to developing nations when it becomes more expensive. They'll have no other option so long as we can keep the price of alternatives high, and/or determine who has the right to benefit from them.

By captainpierce on 7/10/2009 2:57:13 PM , Rating: 2
I am still baffled why a country supposedly as great as the US has to depend so much on foreign oil to begin with, & for so long. This is many decades in the making & no one has any short term answer or relief for the masses who continue to get hosed at the pump & on their energy bills.

We have the largest economy on the planet, which means we need a lot of oil to make it run. Oil is a worldwide commodity and it doesn't matter where it comes from. We're going to pay the same price as everybody else.

Boone Pickens is very misleading when he talks about "foreign oil". Most people probably think he means the Middle East. In actuality, we buy a lot more oil from Mexico, Canada and Venezuela than the Middle East.

Also, he calls this a transfer of wealth. That is absolutely false. It's an exchange. We give them dollars, they give us oil. A transfer of wealth would be more like an inheritance.

His NG idea may have promise but if his plan is so good, why would he need government subsidies? For an oil man you would think he would understand some of this stuff. The Pickens plan sounds like another energy ripoff being peddled by an aging snake oil salesman.

By Samus on 7/9/2009 7:10:20 PM , Rating: 3
Of all the things the federal government is funding right now, they should really step in and finance his fucking transmission line since this project is already beyond 10% complete, and will inevitably result in profit!

By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 9:39:28 AM , Rating: 5

It's the only source of power that is clean, renewable for all intensive purposes(through reprocessing), puts out a large amount of energy, and doesn't take up a lot of space.

At least until we perfect fusion.

By Flahrydog on 7/9/2009 9:42:31 AM , Rating: 5
By mmntech on 7/9/2009 10:38:52 AM , Rating: 3
Indeed but the tree huggers have everyone convinced that every nuclear plant is a Chernobyl just waiting to happen. That combined with the huge investment it takes; let's just say it's not going to happen anytime soon. Governments would rather close coal plants with nothing in the waiting to replace them, causing artificial energy shortages. There's too much bureaucratic red tape in getting these high output facilities built.

By bighairycamel on 7/9/2009 11:13:23 AM , Rating: 4
They also like to remind everyone of 3 mile island... you know that place where not a single person was injured or killed... the place which is in full operating condition today with even better safety features...

On the other hand however, most people talkabout reprocessing waste but the vast majority of plants still buy mined because reprocessed is so much more expensive. But waste really wouldn't be much of an issue if they can ever get that damn mountain storage facility operating (which has already been built IIRC).

On a positive note, last I checked there were 2 plants waiting for approval for groundbreaking which is supposed to occur by the end of the year. There are another 27 with applications that will likely be approved by end of 2010.

RE: Why don't people research before they do things?
By Spuke on 7/9/2009 11:31:59 AM , Rating: 2
On a positive note, last I checked there were 2 plants waiting for approval for groundbreaking which is supposed to occur by the end of the year. There are another 27 with applications that will likely be approved by end of 2010.
I think there is a third coming also. According to this article 3 might it for the next ten years or there might be as many as 5.

By bighairycamel on 7/9/2009 11:42:47 AM , Rating: 2
I guess only time will tell.

But according to the NRC ( pg 45-46) there are 23 applications in the works, not 27.

There is also some good info here (note: they try to come off as impartial but seem biased towards pro-nuke but some good info nonetheless)

By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 12:08:59 PM , Rating: 2
Obama closed Yucca Mountain on the premise that he supports reprocessing. I'll believe that when I see it.

RE: Why don't people research before they do things?
By JonB on 7/9/2009 3:55:47 PM , Rating: 2
Obama is supporting closure of Yucca Mtn as political payback to Harry Reed (Nevada). Harry Reed's state has collected billions during the construction of Yucca Mtn and now he wants it closed (and that will bring in even more money). All that money and no product. Its a Win-Win for Nevada. Just short sighted as hell.

The good news is that closing Yucca Mtn is quickly reversible with a change in politics. If Harry Reed loses his next re-election, it may get reopened.

By Keeir on 7/9/2009 7:06:20 PM , Rating: 2
The good news is that closing Yucca Mtn is quickly reversible with a change in politics. If Harry Reed loses his next re-election, it may get reopened.

Doubt that is going to change until the people of Nevada and the United States accept that Yucca mountain repersents a very small increase in thier overall risk for the people and enviroment of Nevada. Any politician from Nevada will oppose Yucca for the forseable future, and I don't think the political will exists to force it open (as most people in the US are deathly afraid of Nuclear)

By SublimeSimplicity on 7/9/2009 10:37:37 AM , Rating: 3
Nuclear power is the way of the future...

Give him time. By my score card he still has to cycle through ethanol, clean coal, and hydroelectric as the "only option".

After that he will announce a groundbreaking and revolutionary idea called "nuclear" power. That's of course assuming he doesn't first get sidetracked by some alien designed perpetual motion machine he sees on a late night infomercial.

By CommodoreVic20 on 7/9/2009 11:25:13 AM , Rating: 3
I guess you missed the point. Doesn't matter whether its nuclear, wind, solar, coal, the transmission lines are badly outdated and need to be improved. Otherwise you'll need a nuclear power plant in each city, town and village.

By MrPeabody on 7/9/2009 11:33:21 AM , Rating: 2
[. . .]the transmission lines are badly outdated and need to be improved. Otherwise you'll need a nuclear power plant in each city, town and village.

So . . . you're telling us it's a win/win?

By walk2k on 7/9/2009 12:30:43 PM , Rating: 2
Why don't people RTFA before they leave comments?

He's only pulling back because he couldn't get the financing for the transmission lines. He's not abandoning the project, he's still hopeful about it, and he likes the direction green energy is going.

By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 2:04:25 PM , Rating: 2
He likely couldn't get the tax payer to pay for it like we did the turbines. And I'm sorry how much can a power lines cost? Especially compared to the cost of 667 wind turbines. He couldn't put up the money for the lines himself without financing? It's not like he or the companies he owns aren't good for the money. Even if trying to finance it.

By Alexvrb on 7/9/2009 9:22:17 PM , Rating: 3
Pickens doesn't give a rats about green energy. All he cares about is lining his pockets with gold. Since the govt won't pay for the lines he needs, he doesn't stand to rake in the dough on this project, so he's pulling out. Now natural gas on the other hand, there's a resource he can get richer on!

Watch the old Pickens Plan TV spots, and then listen to him today. He's looking out for number 1, he doesn't care about renewable energy or the enviroment. He just thought he'd get a heavily-subsidised profit-making wind farm, and when it turned out he needed to pony up a lot of money out of his own pocket, he turned to another avenue of revenue.

By walk2k on 7/9/2009 12:42:29 PM , Rating: 2
Guess what, with nuclear you have the exact same problem, long transmission lines. Because you're not going to put nuclear reactors in every city for obvious reasons.

By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 1:59:43 PM , Rating: 3
The nuclear plants I know of in Florida are not far from the cities they serve. There's no issues with putting a nuclear plant right outside of town.

By Solandri on 7/9/2009 2:50:58 PM , Rating: 3
Worldwide, in terms of deaths per GWh of power generated, nuclear is the safest power source man has invented. That's even if you include the deaths from Chernobyl. The most dangerous modern power source is actually hydro - dam failures worldwide have caused high numbers of fatalities. Although there hasn't been a hydroelectric dam failure in the U.S., there have been scattered incidents of workers and recreational boaters being sucked into the intakes and killed in the turbines. Even wind has had fatalities associated with maintenance workers falling.

In contrast, the U.S. has had zero deaths due to commercial nuclear power generation in 50+ years of operation. Heck, MIT operates a nuclear research reactor in the middle of Cambridge, MA, a couple blocks from the student center. In terms of Things That Could Kill You If They're Nearby, nuclear reactors are close to the bottom of the list. Your car is probably on the top of that list. Approx 1 in 86 Americans (not a typo, eighty-six) is fated to die in an automobile accident.

By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 3:06:14 PM , Rating: 2
At FIT where I went to college they have a decommissioned nuclear test reactor in the basement of one of the science buildings. You can walk down the stairs and see the doorway which used to lead to it but is now covered in concrete. They operated the reactor for years. And its in the middle of a city (albeit not a very large one).

By Keeir on 7/9/2009 6:57:10 PM , Rating: 3
Approx 1 in 86 Americans (not a typo, eighty-six) is fated to die in an automobile accident.

This is a really good point. In the past 50 years, here is a partial list of things more dangerous than living next to a Nuclear Power Plant or Reprocessing Facility

A. Eating Food. Far far more people have died chocking on a peice of food.
B. Anything to do with water. Bathing, Swiming, drinking it, boating, looking at it
C. Anything that has a motor and/or wheels. This includes car, motorcycles, lawn mowners, bicycles, merry-go-rounds, everything
D. Being near any sort of animal. Dog, cats, even hamster have been known to spread fatal sickness to owners.
E. Walking. This includes tripping, falling down stairs, etc. I knew someone in college who tripped in a bathroom on a flat cement floor, hit his head on a sink and died.

Pretty much, I think each and every person who complaigns about the "Safety" of Nuclear has a list of 10 things they could remove from thier life that each and every one of them are more dangerous that Nuclear has been statistically for the last 50 years.

By piroroadkill on 7/9/2009 5:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, and have agreed for years.

Nuclear power has to be the way.

There are good opportunities for "green" power too, though - hydro is a solid option that has been around for ages. Wind is far too sparse for the power it produces.

Natural gas is a shortsighted option like burning anything else

By croc on 7/9/2009 8:33:10 PM , Rating: 2
Different solution, same problem... Generation is not the issue in the US, distribution is. Mr Pickens is rightly diverting his funds to LNG, for which there is currently enough distribution capacity at this time, rather than expanding his Pampa farm's capacity for which there is currently no distribution available. Should Mr. Pickens fund the US's electrical distribution? I am sure that some of you will think so, and perhaps he should. He could charge whatever he wanted over his grid to re-coup the costs of the infrastucture. But by my estimation, he'd have to charge $.44 per KWH carried to pay for the infrascture costs plus ongoing maintenance.

Mr. Pickens wasted 10 Bn US dollars, but proved that the US electrical grid just isn't ready for prime-time at this point in time.

By MrPoletski on 7/10/2009 4:49:13 AM , Rating: 2
yes, but, it's no good either if there isn't the powergrid to distribute it all around the country...

This detail ought to be top, top priority for your current administration. None of their cleaner energy things are going to work properly without a proper power grid.

I wonder how much money could be saved just by removing all the inefficiencies in your power transmission? that's being green too!

This guy is a hack
By mdogs444 on 7/9/2009 9:20:49 AM , Rating: 3
Mr. Pickens is pulling out of the "green gold" project of which he has contributed $10B USD.

Yeah T. Boone...hows that "GREEN GOLD" working out for ya?

People know wind power is a bunch of bunk - known it all along. But the greenies don't care how much it costs, as long as their emotions are addressed. Maybe this should be a lesson to you people that even those with money to invest in order to make a profit can't afford these stupid wind farms because they aren't worth it!

RE: This guy is a hack
By acase on 7/9/09, Rating: 0
RE: This guy is a hack
By MPE on 7/9/09, Rating: -1
RE: This guy is a hack
By teldar on 7/9/2009 10:34:19 AM , Rating: 5
You're a tool.
Look into how much of his own money he put up for this. Not a whole lot.
Like Fit said, most of this was paid for by our tax dollars.
WE paid for the wind farm he built and then he wanted US to pay for improvements in the grid so he could sell US the electricity that WE paid for in the first place.

He's real big on government incentives then making his customers pay him for what the government gave him. Nice, eh?

RE: This guy is a hack
By marvdmartian on 7/9/2009 10:37:20 AM , Rating: 2
And now you know how billionaires become billionaires!

RE: This guy is a hack
By teldar on 7/9/2009 10:38:56 AM , Rating: 2

RE: This guy is a hack
By therealnickdanger on 7/9/2009 10:51:04 AM , Rating: 3
Yup, Bill Gates totally took our tax dollars... wait...

RE: This guy is a hack
By MPE on 7/9/2009 1:45:12 PM , Rating: 3
No he dodge corporate tax.

RE: This guy is a hack
By TSS on 7/9/2009 9:11:44 PM , Rating: 2
"Smithers, why haven't I heard of this "The Leader"? He's as rich and wicked as I, but he seems to enjoy tax exempt status!"

"Actually, sir, with our creative book-keeping and corporate loopholes we only pay three dollars a year."

"You're right, we're getting screwed!"

RE: This guy is a hack
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 10:53:21 AM , Rating: 2
Except he didn't build the wind farm. He just bought the turbines. Which he now is looking to sell the majority of. Somehow I doubt we'll get the money back from the sale of the turbines. It's going into his pocket most likely.

RE: This guy is a hack
By MPE on 7/9/2009 1:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
$10 billion is not a lot. Yes you are right.

RE: This guy is a hack
By Fanon on 7/9/09, Rating: 0
RE: This guy is a hack
By jRaskell on 7/9/2009 12:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you think there is only 1 new refinery in the US in 30+ years. And it will cost $10B - maybe more.

I might ask why YOU think more refineries haven't been built in the last 30+ years. I can assure you, it has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of building one.

RE: This guy is a hack
By MPE on 7/9/2009 1:48:17 PM , Rating: 2
Return of Investement.
Building one is expensive, maintaining is expensive, cleaning it is expensive, upgrading is expensive and on top of that - they have no control over price of oil per barrel. They only refine it. This is why a lot of refineries in the US last year where operating in the red.

RE: This guy is a hack
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 2:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
You don't think an oil refinery makes money? They probably were in the red due to having to retool for all the ethanol they had to add + the bust of oil near the end of they year.

No refineries have been built because any time someone attempts to build one environmentalists make the costs skyrocket with lawsuits and requiring environmental impact studies.

Building one would be a whole lot cheaper if environmentalists weren't allowed to sue the builders on the behalf of the public. Look at the argument that went on in Montana I believe it was where they wanted to build one. The majority of the citizens of the area voted to allow it to be built but environmental groups kept bringing up lawsuits. I never did hear about what the outcome of it was but given that I never heard about it being built I'm going to assume it wasn't built.

RE: This guy is a hack
By erple2 on 7/9/2009 7:31:52 PM , Rating: 2
I think that the GP is right - the profit margins in operating a refinery in this country are stunningly small - it's far more cost effective to let some other country do the refining for you, then buy the resultant product. See for the approximate profit margins on refining oil. Sub-10% is pretty terrible (unless you're a government contractor, then it's actually pretty good).

Granted, one of the reasons why it's so expensive is that the regulations on maintenance and regular inspections are very costly. However, better to let other countries shoulder that burden, then buy the refined product for 10% of their profit margins (which, outside of very few other countries is still far cheaper than refining it in the US), and sell at a 20% profit margin, while still making healthy profits.

RE: This guy is a hack
By FaaR on 7/9/09, Rating: -1
RE: This guy is a hack
By teldar on 7/9/2009 10:38:33 AM , Rating: 2
And maybe you should find out what they do about backup power. Here's a hint.
They still have enough traditional power sources to run their entire country. Or they buy it from their neighbors when the wind power isn't cutting it.

Don't know how to say it better.
What if you go solar and it's cloudy. What if you go wind and it's a calm day.

All 'alternative' sources of electricity production still have to have 'traditional' sources to back them up.

The ONLY alternative is to build batteries at power distribution stations that will hold enough juice to power the area or supplement the alternative source's production.

I'm not saying alternative is bad. It just doesn't make economic sense when you still have to have stable power generation.

RE: This guy is a hack
By clovell on 7/9/2009 11:04:08 AM , Rating: 2
No, that's not the only alternative. See Pumped Water Storage.

RE: This guy is a hack
By JosephMcD on 7/9/2009 11:09:50 AM , Rating: 2
True enough, wind/solar are not generally considered feasible for continuous power generation without some kind of battery backup or secondary power generation system. However, saying that we shouldn't be using wind/solar for that reason is pretty foolish.

Wind and solar power are great methods for offloading some of the required power from primary generators so that things like brownouts don't occur. Everyone knows that we can't run on fossil fuels forever so if we can cutback on just how much we are using, even a little bit, and extend how long those fuels can last we have a much better chance at finding a primary source of power that will work for our future needs.

Besides, wind/solar fill a niche that no other power generator can; personal use. i.e., anyone can put solar panels up and many people can put up wind turbines and connect them to their own grid to reduce their consumption (and their bill). That, IMO, is pretty exciting actually.

RE: This guy is a hack
By teldar on 7/9/2009 11:20:03 AM , Rating: 3
I'm not saying it doesn't have any value. I'm saying that a country cannot count on it as a sole source of power generation. That's something that people seem to want to avoid talking about.

The simple truth is that you have to have something else lined up for continuous power generation.

I have no idea what sort of allowable dependence on alternative sources could be. Like If you have X megawatts of Solar and X megawatts of Wind, reduce continuous traditional production by .2X? .5X?
Hoping that when it's windy, it's cloudy and the turbines work and that when it's sunny, it's calm and that the solar works.

I'm just saying that a country cannot depend on alternative sources.

I have looked at solar as a supplement for personal power, but I don't know about the feasibility in Ohio as of yet. I think they're too expensive at this point for the cloud cover we have here.

RE: This guy is a hack
By 67STANG on 7/9/2009 11:46:34 AM , Rating: 2
I think what is important to note here is that Pickens has tarnished the renewable power sector more than he has helped it. Anyone with a higher-than 4th grade education knew that he was trying to promote his own economic interests.

That being said, this topic is F'd out. Everyone has their own position on what they think the way forward is, determined from their own reasoning. Perhaps instead of everyone bickering over "X" method is the "future", we should all just agree that a robust power portfolio is a wise choice.

Nuclear is great for solid, predictable and dependable power. Renewables are relatively predictable in commercial installations where decades of weather patterns are observed. Turbines in windy areas, solar in sunny areas.

So, to sum up good balance:
1) Nuclear for 60-75% base power.
2) Solar on ALL houses and commercial buildings to relieve strain on Nuclear.
3) Wind farms and geothermal to handle grid fluctuations and provide constant energy for 10-15% of the base.

RE: This guy is a hack
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 2:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
Well geothermal is a pretty damn constant source of power. You don't really have to worry about the Earth's core to stop putting out heat.

As far as solar being on every home and commercial building, who's going to pay for that. I've no problem with homes having it, but if you want it on your home, you pay for it. Same for your business.

RE: This guy is a hack
By 67STANG on 7/9/2009 3:37:32 PM , Rating: 2
Geothermal is constant, but has been shown to cause tremors. Construction of plants are also variable due to the different depths required on a location by location basis. They also take up a ton of space for the amount of power they produce. (and they use a LOT of water).

That being said, they are pretty reliable as far as power predictions go.

Solar being on every home and commercial building is very beneficial-- they already do it on a wide scale in Germany. Where I live in California, many new home builders include them with the homes they build.

Obviously the cost:power ratio of solar isn't there yet, but then again the price of panels have dropped steadily over the last decade. With the latest innovations like the company that prints them on a newspaper-style press getting ready to ramp up, I'd say that it would be a real possibility that everyone could afford solar within the next decade. I know I'd pay a couple grand to do away with my electric bill.

RE: This guy is a hack
By FITCamaro on 7/9/2009 5:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
Well yes for new homes its easier since the cost would be included in the price of the home. Everyone else though should have to pay for it out of their own pocket. If it gets inexpensive great. However in certain areas of the country it makes no sense to install solar panels such as in the northeast. And I would think anywhere with heavy snowfall it wouldn't be a good idea. But I'm not sure how well solar panels react to extremely cold temperatures or large amounts of snow being on top of them. Granted you could cover them in the winter to keep the snow off. But then they're not really doing much good.

As I've said before. If I lived in an area where it made sense and I could afford it, I'd install solar panels on my house. Even if its $10,000, it'd pay itself off in 5 years or so. But many people can't afford it.

RE: This guy is a hack
By jf79 on 7/10/2009 12:51:02 AM , Rating: 2
Actually geothermal plants take up a very small amount of space for the amount of power they can put out. They can put out more power per square yard than nuclear power plants. Also the water used in geothermal is recycled, unlike the water in nuclear plants that require fresh supplies of water. The tremor problem has been documented though.

RE: This guy is a hack
By FaaR on 7/10/2009 7:37:20 AM , Rating: 2
THE NEED FOR BACKUP POWER (caps is such fun, eh?) is one thing.

Calling wind power 'a bunch of bunk' (with no arguments whatsoever, not even about backup power, to qualify the statement) is something entirely different.

RE: This guy is a hack
By SublimeSimplicity on 7/9/2009 11:26:53 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah T. Boone...hows that "GREEN GOLD" working out for ya?

"Green Gold"...

Did you know that was the original working title for "An Inconvenient Truth"?

RE: This guy is a hack
By MrPickins on 7/9/2009 12:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
Did he actually contribute $10 billion of his own money? Wikipedia lists his net worth as ~3B...

I'm guessing most of that 10B was contributed by the taxpayers, although I have no proof.

RE: This guy is a hack
By Solandri on 7/9/2009 3:05:42 PM , Rating: 2
The figures I heard were $2b of his own money, and most of the remainder from other investors. Dunno how much was taxpayer money, but I imagine not a lot if he's only bought a bunch of turbines. Taxpayer funds are usually structured as incentives - you have to spend your own money to get the govt. money.

I also heard his real goal was to get a utility easement through the state for the power lines. Apparently he owns a lot of the aquifer water rights in one part of Texas. The easement would've let him build a pipeline to send that water to other parts of the country where he could sell it, without having to buy or contract with any of the property owners in between.

By Narcofis on 7/9/2009 10:27:15 AM , Rating: 3
He's the perfect example of a good investor. Wind farm is set back because of the power grid. He decides to invest in Natural Gas because 50% of all cars by 2014 will be running on natural gas per legislation.

I think he's doing a great move. Think about it. Go in the natural gas and make a ton of cash right now or go for the wind farm and try to work around the grid problems.

Now he can make money short term (Natural Gas) and long term (Wind Farms)

He did not mention a complete pull out as per the title.

RE: Business
By JediJeb on 7/9/2009 10:56:33 AM , Rating: 1
Only 50% of the cars purchased by the Federal Government, so not really that many cars using Natural Gas. But if they can make it economical for the average driver to buy one that would be great.

RE: Business
By noirsoft on 7/9/2009 11:02:46 AM , Rating: 2
I've seen an increasing number of taxicabs and buses running on CNG as well. While it certainly won't replace normal gasoline, it is within reason to assume that a sizeable minority of vehicles will be running on CNG, thus making it a reasonable economic venture.

RE: Business
By Chaser on 7/9/2009 11:26:17 AM , Rating: 2
"Good investors" don't canvas the TV airways with reckless advertising campaigns and websites waving a carrot of "energy indpendence" to the nation's public that must buy a volatile resource with pricing controlled by speculators based solely upon how high they can raise it before the average American notices.

too true
By kattanna on 7/9/2009 9:37:59 AM , Rating: 5
We've got more wind than anybody else in the world

too true. you and those in washington DC are great providers of it


RE: too true
By tallcool1 on 7/9/2009 3:12:16 PM , Rating: 2

I had a thought.....
By rudolphna on 7/9/2009 12:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
What if bill gates and steve jobs poured some of their tens of billions of dollars into building new nuclear power stations? Good for the enviroment for one thing, and the other is a little something I like to call.... GOOD PR

RE: I had a thought.....
By Omega215D on 7/10/2009 3:01:46 AM , Rating: 3
If Bill Gates is doing it then people will scream that he's poisoning the world. If Jobs did it then he's really innovative and also the second coming of Christ...


By nafhan on 7/9/2009 11:21:28 AM , Rating: 2
From my understanding, a positive aspect of natural gas (which I think also applies to coal) is that relatively small, yet still efficient, power plants can be built.
These smaller plants would put less strain on the grid as the electricity would not need to travel as far. Also, smaller plants can be more easily obscured with trees, etc.
Of course with natural gas or any combustion based power source, you still need to worry about the evils of carbon dioxide...

By klstay on 7/10/2009 10:03:40 AM , Rating: 2
You may want to go back and study up a bit on the emissions from burning natural gas...

That is one reason you do not hear it discussed much. It is a "fuel from drilling" all of which have been classified as categorically evil. So it would hardly due to have the general public made aware of the practically zero emissions it produces. No, we need to instead pursue "CLEAN" energy like wind and solar and corn squeezins because they do not wound the aura of the dear precious earth-mother...

I thought this article was about natural gas?
By klstay on 7/10/2009 9:56:12 AM , Rating: 2
Yet, that is the only thing NOT being discussed...

The recent HUGE field in the Arkansas/Mississippi area conservatively contains enough natural gas to supply current consumption for at least 50 years. Some of those examining the discovery estimate maybe four times even that.

Roughly half of all homes in the US are heated with natural gas. So the infrastructure to deliver it right to your house is already in place. Certified safe overnight home refueling stations for natural gas vehicles have been available for years.

I, my son, and my father have all driven natural gas vehicles for almost 3 years now. The current price is $.97/gallon. It was $.69/gallon until a recent state tax was short-sightedly added on. The only vehicles with lower emissions (not that I care much about that) are pure electrics IF the electricity was hydro or nuclear generated.

So, why no traction for natural gas vehicles in the marketplace at large? Hint: the oil people and the natural gas people are different folks and one of them is WAY more powerful than the other...

By yacoub on 7/13/2009 12:56:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, you can always rely on government to screw up a good thing by slapping big taxes on it to help support their parasitic hand-out programs. :(

we're going to use natural gas, eh?
By yacoub on 7/13/2009 12:51:31 PM , Rating: 2
That must be why the present administration scrapped the funding for the natural gas powered vehicles program, oops!
That program, which experts said would be one of the best chances for us to getoff oil dependency in the mid-term, was nixed by the government, in favor of half-arsed solutions that ensure we'll stay dependent for many decades. Hello, politics. :(

Even Top Gear, notorious for dissing alternative and hybrid energy based cars, reviewed the natural gas powered Honda in California back in season 11 or 12, and declared it (and natural gas specifically) as the future of automobiles.

It's much more reasonable than hybrid or electric powered cars for everything from reducing man-made global warming (whether you agree with that or not) to reducing foreign oil dependence, because once the infrastructure is in place you are no longer relying on oil and coal powered plants to produce electricity to charge batteries like you are with electric cars nor to process and refine the fuel oil for gas/electric hybrid cars.

But at least Pickens is heading that direction now. Here's hoping he can get something done to get government funding behind natural gas infrastructure development.

By yacoub on 7/13/2009 12:54:56 PM , Rating: 2
And hopefully one day we'll become nuclear power friendly again too. :(

By Chaser on 7/9/2009 9:43:13 AM , Rating: 2
Thankt TBoone. During the $4.00 a gallon gas crisis you spam the airways with your gleam of hope for many that were looking for viable alternatives. But what does the loss of credibility do to you now? Cost you a few extra million that you could have used to buy another island somewhere? Well you're mega rich so I'm sure you'll survive this minor setback. Sadly most of us don't make millions each year off simple bank interest. Our budgets are very closely tied to the price at the pump. We don't have the luxury of fixing our public image by running a new slew of network commercials.

I couldn't care less...
By VoodooChicken on 7/9/2009 10:41:55 AM , Rating: 2
...about whether oil is foreign or domestic. If we have it, we have it, if we don't, we trade, it's just a commodity like any other. What I do care about is that it's a finite resource, and one that very likely will be exhausted within my lifetime, even adding all these "newly discovered" sources. If not me, then my kids or grandkids. But if one of us has to make like Charles Ingalls, so what?

It would be nice if this "green gold" was a fuel source. We have an infinite source of that, just look under any desk. I got a fresh batch brewing in my (ol)factory. Let me pick up a sample for you.

What a Joke
By clovell on 7/9/2009 10:54:40 AM , Rating: 2
T. Boone Pickens is a joke. A year or so ago, I was on board with everything he wanted to do. It made sense from almost every angle. But then he got knee-deep in the politics of all this because he basically wants the government to subsidize his plans. I think it's a bunch of trash.

I've had to remove my email from his mailing list about a dozen times, and I'm getting spam from him everyday. This guy has some good ideas, I guess - but he's a tool who's looking to hedge his risks with taxpayer money.

It time for all the effing nancy-boys out there to GTFO of business. I'm tired of seeing these hotshot execs grovelling at the teat of the governement only to get their bailout, subsidy, tax incentive, etc. and go on acting like the second coming. Somewhere in the 21st century we lot the American ideals of self-reliance that made this country great. Now we just have baby-boom nancy-boys who want to preach self-reliance, but are only willing to do it as long as the government holds their hand.

No thank you, Mr. Pickens. Please, GTFO.

BP is a Hack
By drilloil on 7/9/2009 2:03:49 PM , Rating: 2
At least they don't refer to him as "legenary oil Man". He never made any money in the oil business. He made it selling Mesa Limited Partnership share that went bust but Boone made his upfront, the poor investors got hammered. Then he made money being a corporate raider, then he made money out of derivative trading speculating in crude oil futures. Of course no one mentions his first fund that went broke. As far as being a genius he bet on a 50/50 trade and the second time he won. Might as well have flipped a coin.

Gutless Wonder
By kyleb2112 on 7/9/2009 4:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
This guy is beyond useless. He bills himself as an energy guru and then punts on every major issue. He won't even state his position on Cap and Trade. He never even mentions nuclear. I didn't think it was possible, but he's even worse than the politicians, who at least were elected and have policy positions.

The article is wrong
By KaTaR on 7/10/2009 2:45:51 PM , Rating: 1
The project was delayed not canceled.

The problem in the Texas Panhandle is that there isnt enough transmission. Even if he builds it on time, he cant sell the power until the state complete a transmission line known as CREZ to that area. So he is pushing it back a year or two. 98 posts on this before anybody (including the author) bothered to see if the article was correct?

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