Here’s a roundup of some of the media stories about the Pickens Plan. First up, the Chicago Tribune:
Pickens is on to something here. Dependence on foreign oil is creating a drag on the U.S. economy and puts the nation in a strategically vulnerable position.
With gasoline this expensive and the U.S. economy teetering, John McCain and Barack Obama aren’t talking about sleeping dogs. They’re talking energy alternatives. McCain is pushing to build 45 new nuclear plants—and wants to offer a $300 million prize for a better car battery. Obama wants the government to invest $150 billion over a decade in new energy sources.
The Pickens proposal should be part of this mix.
Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, writing for the Huffington Post:
Sweetwater, Texas was once known for hosting the world’s largest rattlesnake “roundup” — 12,000 reptiles every year. Now it calls itself “the world’s wind capital” and, by the end of the year, turbines there will be pumping out 3,000 megawatts of wind to provide green power to America’s electricity customers. Sweetwater is the County seat of Nolan County, which by itself would rank as the world’s fourth-largest nation for wind power — boasting more wind than the entire state of California. The rattler-friendly pastures and cotton fields around Sweetwater are dotted with General Electric, Siemens, and Toshiba turbines — big ones, some generating 2.3 megawatts a pop.
T. Boone Pickens was first known as an oil and gas man and then as a corporate raider, but these days he is jousting to topple Sweetwater from its title. Flying with me to visit his wind operations in Sweetwater, he makes it clear that his next wind project is big, Texas-style — 4,000 megawatts up in the Panhandle north of here. Pickens just doesn’t believe that America’s energy future is in oil any more. He dismisses the current calls for opening up the coast to drilling, saying that the government’s official estimates of oil and gas reserves are wildly inflated — “the geology just isn’t there.”
Shell and the TXU Corporation are planning to build a 3,000-megawatt wind farm north of here in the Texas Panhandle, leapfrogging two FPL Energy Texas wind farms to become the biggest in the world.
Not to be outdone, Mr. Pickens is planning his own 150,000-acre Panhandle wind farm of 4,000 megawatts that would be even larger and cost him $10 billion.
“I like wind because it’s renewable and it’s clean and you know you are not going to be dealing with a production decline curve,” Mr. Pickens said. “Decline curves finally wore me out in the oil business.”
T. Boone Pickens, 80, has been showing up all over television in recent weeks, talking about the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
With pie charts and a charming drawl, Pickens lays it out this way: “America is in a hole and it’s getting deeper every day. We import 70 percent of our oil at a cost of $700 billion a year – four times the annual cost of the Iraq war.
“I’ve been an oil man all my life, but this is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of,” he continues. “If we create a new renewable energy network, we can break our addiction to foreign oil.”
It’s beginning to feel like 1992, and not just because economic woes are dominating the presidential campaign. Last week a billionaire Texan with a disarming drawl started a media blitz to focus attention on a dire financial and public-policy problem. In 1992, it was H. Ross Perot and his charts on the deficit. Today, it’s T. Boone Pickens, the 80-year-old oilman. In ads on CNBC and CNN and in newspapers—and before NEWSWEEK’s editors—Pickens laid out his plan to stop the madness of spending $700 billion each year on foreign oil. “We have to take control of our own destiny as far as foreign oil is concerned.” But unlike Perot, Pickens isn’t interested in public office. Now running a hedge fund, and a big investor in wind energy, he’s going green to make green.
When T. Boone Pickens talks about the need to find alternative energy sources, America’s addiction to oil really has hit rock bottom.