Chicago (IL) – Former oil tycoon Thomas Boone Pickens believes that the gas guzzling U.S. needs a serious oil intervention. To help to end our dependence upon the Saudi oil, today Pickens launched his “Pickens Plan” that envisions the U.S. to become “the Saudi Arabia of wind power”.
The says he is in the process of planning what he describes as the world’s largest wind farm - thousands of wind turbines stretching in the corridor that stretches from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota.
In its basic structure, the plan of the 80-year old financier and chairman of BP Capital Management is actually really simple. In effort to reduce our consumption and dependence upon foreign oil Pickens proposes that we utilize the natural gas that currently is responsible for generating about 20% of our electricity to replace about a third of our imported transportation fuel. For some time, compressed natural gas has existed as a fuel source for transport but has not been made available or highly prioritized as a gasoline alternative.
Pickens believes that he can replace that energy on the grid utilizing wind- an energy sources estimated by the DOE to be able to satisfy 20% of the United States electricity needs. Pickens’ math concludes that shuffling the energy around will help to reduce our annual rate of importing foreign oil from $700 billion to $400 billion in a mere ten years.
According to the plan, today's wind turbines stand up to 410 feet tall, with blades that stretch 148 feet in length. One 3-megawatt wind turbine produces as much energy as 12,000 barrels of imported oil. At this time, wind-power generates about 48 billion kWh of electricity a year in the United States – which is enough to cover about 1% of current demand. Greatly expanding wind turbines in the most wind active areas in the U.S. could boost the share to 20%. Building that massive structure could cost about $1 trillion, Pickens said. Add $200 billion to build the capacity to transmit that energy to cities and towns. This is a big number with many zeros, but Pickens thinks it is a bargain, when compared to the $700 billion we spend on oil every year.
Pickens said that his Pickens Plan will be implementing the largest public policy advertising campaign ever. The Pickens PR team told USA Today that America will be seeing just as much of Pickens as they will see of Barak Obama or John McCain. Your living room may soon be flooded with Pickens’ ideas as the hedge funder forces the concept of foreign oil independence upon us just in time for the 2008 election.
This is not Pickens first rodeo when it comes to purchasing a place for his voice and opinion during a presidential election. During the election in 2004 Pickens supported the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry and offered $1 million to any individual who could aid in disproving the groups claims.
Pickens has a lot to gain with his proposed plan. His $12 billion wind investment might still be under construction but even at 80 years, Pickens is convinced that it is possible. In his opinion, all we need is the right leadership. And he believes that leadership could be purchased by utilizing the right ad campaign.