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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 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.

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