T. Boone Pickens

I’ve been tasked to do some a story for the Journal on T. Boone Pickens’ energy ideas. Y’all are smart about this sort of thing. Open thread: what are the central issues?


  1. I’ve only skimmed descriptions of his ideas (and seen his commercial). And I’m not an energy guru, just an interested observer. So, some questions I have:

    – Running vehicles on natural gas. What’s the technology involved? How efficient are the engines (in terms of miles per amount of carbon dioxide produced, as a way of comparing with gasoline-powered engines)? Are there types of vehicles that are more suited to using natural gas? (Especially, is natural gas viable for semis, airplanes, heavy construction vehicles?) And if it’s a viable technology, why isn’t it commonly used, given how cheap natural gas has been compared to petroleum?

    – Wind – my electric utility (one of Colorado’s rural co-ops) claims that wind isn’t viable for them because the times of their electrical demand is different from cities, and they don’t need a huge amount of power during the day. I understand their point for solar, but is that really an issue for wind? If not, what’s up with the anti-wind attitude from utilities that serve places like the eastern plains of Colorado, which are, well, really windy? What are the problems with transmission lines? (Are they really worse than needing new pipelines for natural gas, or than needing new refineries to handle heavier oil?)

    You will link to the article when you write it, won’t you? I would like to see what your research turns up.

  2. John,

    a few comments on Picken’s charge:

    a.) US DOE EIA data show a drop in wind kwh during July through September…less wind when the TX power demand is increasing

    b.) in the near term (5 yrs) vehicles switched to natural gas will have a very limited driving radius because the filling station infrastructure will not ramp up fast enough despite his view to the contary

    c.) US gas production is inceasing and mainly from unconventional tight shale deposits but LNG will be the source for US CO2 emitting power stations shifting from coal to gas or increasing gas unit runs while diminishing the coal fired stations. Are we willing to rely upon Algeria for new gas supplies while public opposition to LNG terminals on US coasts is not diminishing?

    d.) The US Treasury is broke and his lobbying campaign will not convince Congress to underwrite his wind farms’ power line construction.

    e.) A 1.5 MW wind tower comprises about 200 tons of steel, fiber, etc and that does not include the cement for the base which can be 30′ x 30′ x 30′ at a minimum. Not a small carbon footprint just to spin the blades.

    He needs to give more air time to those aspects of his plan and less emphasis on his money making scheme.

    John McCormick

  3. Be sure to explore the link between his wind plans, Roberts County Freshwater Supply District #1, and the Ogallala Aquifer.

  4. Sorry I didn’t see this request for info earlier. One aspect of his plan that I haven’t seen questioned is the implication that all those gas-fired power plants should be shut down and written off.

    That’s not exactly a small cost, and I think the heaviest brunt would be borne by public utility companies.

    Meanwhile, the additional investment in NG pipelines and the conversion of filling stations would most likely prove to be windfall profits for Pickens and his buddies.

  5. I was very disappointed in your article on the journal. It was a white wash on pickens plan. Pickens main motive is profit and he can’t make it without the generous, exorbitant subsidies. And all those windmills will require gas turbine generators to offset wind droops and none wind days, weeks, months.

    John you should do some serious research on wind before I burn you somewhere. Check out these link and fell the pain in your wallet and elsewhere.




  6. I have a request.

    It seems like we need a solution to the depletion of oil and the rising cost of energy.

    What I see mostly is that X technology is not a solution because — (Pick from the laundry list)

    I would much rather see something like the article on wedges that John Fleck has and that shows a detailed plan and a credible solution.


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