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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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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.


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