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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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RE: The real benefit...
By masher2 (blog) on 5/27/2008 4:57:23 PM , Rating: 1
> "Until you start selling that wind farm energy back into the grid, and over time you'll pay for the project "

If the project could stand on its own and pay for itself, no government subsidies would be needed. Point of fact, the only reason wind is generating venture capital interest is because these investors want a portion of the massive government subsidies being slung around.

> "maybe tax payers are paying for the wind farm, but it helps everybody"

Large-scale wind farms are not going to help our energy problems. Especially in Texas, a state that, the hotter it gets, the more likely it is for the wind to stop blowing. So when you need the power the most -- it's not there. There was already a large blackout in Texas due to this.


RE: The real benefit...
By smitty3268 on 5/27/2008 8:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think anyone is talking about relying on wind power - that would just be silly.

Anyway, I don't think you would see many people investing they're money here if they didn't think there was a chance it would be profitable. The rub is that it's pretty risky and no one knows what's going to happen. The government subsidies just reduce that risk, they aren't actually paying anyone to take the wind mills or anything.


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