Tuesday, July 08, 2008

T. Boone Pickens Wants to Cut USA's Demand for Foreign Oil

T. Boone Pickens, right & below at base of wind turbine, is mad that the USA is paying $700 billion a year for foreign oil. The Pickens Plan includes cutting the USA's demand for foreign oil by more than a third in less than ten years. You have probably already seen Pickens on television because he is paying for the biggest public policy ad campaign ever. Many big outfits are buying television, radio and newspaper ads to influence public policy. Do not forget about the small but powerful organizations like AAEA that can make a little go a very long way instead of just enlisting multimillion dollar groups like the Sierra Club. We digress. T. Boone Pickens solutions for reducing our reliance on foreign oil are Wind Power and Natural Gas. And he is not just talking about it.

Pickens is building the world's largest wind farm in Pampa, Texas, northeast of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. He has spent $2 billion on the project, including a record purchase of nearly 700 wind turbines this year from General Electric. He expects to spend up to $10 billion on the project and to begin generating electricity in 2011. Pickens believes that wind energy can be used as a substitute for natural gas burned to generate electricity and that would free up more natural gas for use as a transportation fuel. Pickens' plan is to produce enough wind power within 10 years to divert 20% of the natural gas now used to fuel power plants for use in cars and trucks. Powering vehicles with compressed or liquefied natural gas, CNG or LNG, has been Pickens' pet project since the late 1980s.

Distribution is a major problem. There are fewer than 800 natural gas filling stations around the USA so drivers cannot fill up wherever they go. Pickens wants Washington to encourage the move to natural-gas-powered vehicles by providing modest economic incentives for fuel retailers to invest in CNG pumps at their stations, for automakers to build CNG-powered cars and for individuals to convert their existing vehicles to CNG use. (USAToday, 7/7/08) Photo Courtesy Jessica Rinaldi, USA Today)

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