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Billonaire T. Boone Pickens has made a fortune in the oil industry, now he plans to apply his financial skills to the wind power business.  (Source: AP)
Billonaire T. Boone Pickens bets big on wind energy

In a world that has been fossil fuel dependent for decades, many people and companies are finally realizing the financial, social, and environmental benefits of alternative energy and are going green. Alternative-energy is by no means a new idea. Albert Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics in the year 1921 "for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect," and in his research he discovered how solar energy to be converted into electricity.

While solar power projects such as adhesive solar panels may be getting the majority of attention, wind power is being put to use for everything from converting salt water into drinking water to generating electricity. This concept of "going green" is so contagious that you might be surprised who decides to join the bandwagon.

Oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens decided to go green by investing in alternative energy. To start out, he’s already bought 667 1.5 megawatt wind turbines from GE and plans to put them in a massive stretch of land in Texas, which could quite possibly enable the wind farm to become the world’s largest, producing power to maintain 1.3 million homes.

Pickens’ project is scheduled to start construction in 2010, spanning the Texas counties of Roberts, Gray, Hemphill and Wheeler. The massive project would encompass 200,000 acres of land and the number of active turbines could be as high as 2,000. Some of the larger turbines will put out around 2.5 megawatts of power each. Keep in mind that that each megawatt can provide energy to 250 Texas homes as stated by American Wind Energy Association’s Susan Williams Sloan.

So why is the Pickens so interested in wind power? He believes wind power to be both stable and available. He states, "The Department of Energy came out with a study in April of '07 that said we could generate 20 percent of our electricity from wind. And the wind power is -- you know, it's clean, it's renewable. It's -- you know, it's everything you want. And it's a stable supply of energy." 

What do the landowners have to say in the matter? Pickens' spokesman Mike Boswell says, "We have entered into a limited number of agreements with a limited number of landowners to put in some test towers." Boswell also states that the deal with the landowners should be finalized by the end of summer.

While it hasn't been built yet, Pickens financial expertise should get his wind farm off the ground and running. This project definitely looks like it's off to an interesting start. Will Pickens be as successful in the alternative energy industry as he was in the oil business? Only time will tell.

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Really? Only 200,000 Acres?
By Oscarine on 5/27/2008 10:12:19 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder what the environmental impact of placing giant wind turbines over 200,000 acres of land would be.

At any rate I believe that should be 1.3 Million (or is it really billion? :P) homes, or even at peak math 1.25 Million homes if they had the full 2000, turbines not 667, and they were all of the 2.5 Mw variety.

Color me unimpressed.

My local nuke plant can apparently produce over half that power on 300 acres...

RE: Really? Only 200,000 Acres?
By JasonMick on 5/27/2008 10:29:16 AM , Rating: 4
That's a good point, but a lot would depend on how tightly the land was used. some of that area could even hold buildings, perhaps, depending on the spacing of turbines.

Contrary to alarmists, windmills don't have that severe environmental effects. They might alter the temperature a few degrees, but the coyotes, lizards, cacti, etc. should be doing just fine.

Also better yet the land is probably not exactly be super viable land. There's a lot of open wasteland in Texas with little development. Its hard and expensive to develop this land, so why not put it to use for something good like wind power??

Nobody's knocking nuclear, but if this works and is financially profitable, why not do it??

It's not like there's not enough open land in texas for development as is!

Great article, Teresa, I look forward to more!

RE: Really? Only 200,000 Acres?
By Etsp on 5/27/2008 11:12:41 AM , Rating: 2
They might alter the temperature a few degrees, but the coyotes, lizards, cacti, etc. should be doing just fine.
Ok. That statement stands in direct contrast to the AGW theory that humankind will face its terrible things with a average temperature change of less than 1 degree per 50 years. Make up your mind! Do minor temperature changes cause global catastrophe or not? Or does it cause these things only when it's convenient?

RE: Really? Only 200,000 Acres?
By novacthall on 5/27/2008 1:00:23 PM , Rating: 3
Also better yet the land is probably not exactly be super viable land. There's a lot of open wasteland in Texas with little development. Its hard and expensive to develop this land, so why not put it to use for something good like wind power??

Isn't a similar argument used for drilling for oil in that little wasteland corner of the ANWR?

RE: Really? Only 200,000 Acres?
By Ringold on 5/27/2008 4:32:48 PM , Rating: 2
Clearly, novacthall, it's better to blow 200,000 acres in Texas than 2000 acres of barren frozen wasteland in ANWR.

To help people with the math, the land in question in ANWR for a million barrels a day is 1% of Boone Picken's project, and as has been pointed out repeatedly in some of the media, the pipeline up there has been beneficial to local caribou populations and whatnot.

The bias in media is astounding.

RE: Really? Only 200,000 Acres?
By Talon75 on 5/28/2008 1:39:22 PM , Rating: 2
just wait, some one will complain that it will kill birds and therefore shouldn't be used. Whether or not the point is valid won't matter either.... It usually never does anyways.

RE: Really? Only 200,000 Acres?
By FITCamaro on 5/28/2008 8:13:47 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah its pretty sad that while we'll blow 200,000 acres for a wind farm thats not even guaranteed to work, we won't use land to build a proven, efficient, safe nuclear plant that provides cheap, reliable energy for years without being subject to environmental conditions or fossil fuel prices.

These days we'll spend billions to help inefficient technologies get off the ground but we won't spend a dime to help an industry that already exists and could help us today .

How about instead of using billions of tax dollars to fund initiatives that MIGHT be beneficial 20-30 years from now, we allow private enterprise to build what already exists in the world and is guaranteed to help people.

RE: Really? Only 200,000 Acres?
By phxfreddy on 5/28/2008 8:30:24 AM , Rating: 2
Here here! ...

... and in the mean time stop crying about the cost of oil. The price is high and will stay that way until all the prissy girly sensitive metrosexual guy types who do not think a few oil drilling rigs will feng shui well with the bear in northern Alaska have been put sufficiently in their place. That place is in the kitchen cooking dinner for their "life partner" who is a big hairy bear of a man. Note this location is NOT making critical economic decisions such as in congress or the WhiteHouse.

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