Thursday, September 11, 2008

Energy out of thin air?


Texas oilman and billionaire T. Boone Pickens says he's seen the future, or at least what he hopes is the future, in terms of meeting the country's energy needs, and according to Pickens, it's wind power. You can check it out at Pickens' Web site, but Pickens' basic argument is that we need to reduce our reliance on foreign oil - Who can argue with that? - and that greater reliance on wind power, along with natural gas-powered vehicles, is the way to go. Pickens notes that this year alone, based on current oil prices, we will send $700 billion out of the country, and he points out that America, with just 4 percent of the world's population, uses 25 percent of the world's oil production. Pickens has positioned himself to take advantage of a shift to wind power (He says he's building the world's largest wind farm in Texas right now), but hey, he's a businessman. Just because he might profit from it doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do. Any thoughts?

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pickens may be slightly tetched, but I like his plan. If we could only get Bill Gates involved ...

September 11, 2008 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

I wrote about wind farms in April and found some interesting facts about their success in Pennsylvania. The one misconception I often find is that renewable energy/electricity will pull us away from foreign oil. Actually, more than 50 percent of our electricity is generated from coal, so it really is getting us off of a homegrown, yet some argue, dirty energy.

The other problem is how little energy these wind farms actually generate. The point I made in the story is that all the wind farms in Pennsylvania generate about 300 megawatts. In comparison, that's less than 20 percent of what the Hatfield's Ferry power plant in Greene County produces.

There are certainly pros and cons to wind. Here's a link to my story...

http://www.windaction.org/news/15399

September 11, 2008 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...

Wow, that's impressive that they produce so little power...

My take on the energy/foreign oil/environment thing is that it is a web of symbiotic systems...

It's recycling plastics. Its developing efficient electrical systems in cars that can be recharged (thus lower the dependency on oil, and increasing the demands on the power grid). What I really am interested in is seeing energy production disintegrate into more individual efforts... when we can roof our houses with photovoltaics more cheaply than with shingles... I don't know how efficient some of these smaller systems are, but if we were generating 80% of our electricity ourselves, those wind farms would be more suited to our demands on the grid.

It's a long road with few easy answers...

Thanks for the info mike... really interesting.

-ellipses

September 11, 2008 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger Dale Lolley said...

The environmentalists fight it the whole way because it may kill some birds. Then, you've got the old "not in my back yard" excuse. Those ugly windmills ruin our view. See Teddy Kennedy on that one.
It's the same problem with nuclear power.
And, as Mike stated, wind power just doesn't produce what we need. Nuclear is the way to go, but the Dems will never go for that.

September 12, 2008 at 1:27 AM  
Blogger Roger said...

In my mind, Pickens is "in the wind" for monetary gain. He is far more interested in seeing his pockets filled with cash than he is in seeing a solution for meeting energy needs. His history for personal gain is far too deep to suggest he has altruistic motives on this one.

I agree with the suggestions for nuclear energy production. France may have their white flag close at hand, but the have shown the world that nuclear energy production can be safe and effective.

September 12, 2008 at 6:25 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Roger, welcome back. I agree with you and Dale about nuclear energy. My only caveat is that we have to come up, in advance, with a long-range plan of dealing with the nuclear waste.

September 12, 2008 at 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Steelerfan43 said...

I saw a program on one of the Discovery Channels a while back that a guy had developed some kind of machine that could take everyday garbage and turn it into oil. Maybe our government should take a serious look at that option. We have more than enough landfills in this country to sustain us as far as oil goes. They should also think about not exporting a good portion of our oil anymore either. What is the point of more drilling if we are just going to export most of it. Greed is an ugly, ugly thing.

September 12, 2008 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

Don't underestimate Pickens' motive in building these wind farms. They are expensive to build, but there are significant tax credits for companies that build them. And I think those tax incentives are expiring relatively soon, so now is the time to build.

September 12, 2008 at 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do some research. T. Boone want to monopolize the water table and sell water to Dallas and Houston. Wind farms are a smokescreen.
Siempre Fi

September 13, 2008 at 3:23 PM  

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