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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 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.

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