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Author Topic: The Pickens Plan - Great Idea or Shortsighted?  (Read 2032 times)

sinkfloridasink

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The Pickens Plan - Great Idea or Shortsighted?
« on: July 17, 2008, 04:59:54 AM »
First of all, if you're not familiar with T. Boone Pickens' new plan for the energy crisis, check here:
www.pickensplan.com

What do y'all think about this Pickens Plan? I'm sure many of you have read about it or seen the TV commercials, but here's the gist of Pickens is saying:
-The world's production of oil peaked in 2005. Demand, however, has continued to rise. Therefore, oil prices will just continue to skyrocket.
-The US imports 70% of its oil, costing this country about $700 billion dollars this year alone.
-We currently get 22% of our electricity from natural gas. Natural gas is a clean-burning fuel.
-Let's reduce our dependence on foreign oil with an alternate fuel source. That alternate fuel source? Wind power!
-Pickens is investing $2 billion in wind power in an effort to create a wind power "corridor" in the Great Plains, stretching from Texas to North Dakota, that could supply the US with 20% of it's electric power. He wants other private investors to jump in, as well.
-With that 20% "freed up," we can then devote our natural gas resources to use as transportation fuel, using newly developed Natural Gas Vehicles that don't rely on oil.


This plan has been pretty universally lauded as a great proposal by a wealthy philanthropist who is effectively "putting his money where his mouth is." His proposal has a whole lot of merit at face value, too: oil prices will only continue to rise as the increase in demand will continue to outstrip the increase in supply; this country has become far too dependent on foreign oil; we need to invest in an alternate fuel source to power our transportation. All of this is very true, and it's great that Pickens is investing in a source of energy - wind - that is a great alternative for this country.

His proposal to divert our natural gas resources to transportation, however, is foolhardy. Why replace one expensive source of fuel (oil) with another (natural gas)? Natural gas, like oil, is a natural resource in short supply - US production of it peaked in 2001 - and is far too valuable to "waste" on an extremely inefficient use of its power, the car. Having wind power take over a significant energy burden in this country is a tremendous idea, but wouldn't it be far more useful to use this moment to invest in electric-powered cars, a far more long-term solution than natural gas?

There's potential for a great national debate here, and I applaud Pickens for actually doing something, no matter how much I despise the man personally (he was a main funder of the "Swift Boat" attack ads in 2004). What does everyone think? Great idea? Terrible idea? Good idea, but needs some tweaking?
Tulane c/o 2011

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Re: The Pickens Plan - Great Idea or Shortsighted?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2008, 05:35:30 AM »
First of all, if you're not familiar with T. Boone Pickens' new plan for the energy crisis, check here:
www.pickensplan.com

What do y'all think about this Pickens Plan? I'm sure many of you have read about it or seen the TV commercials, but here's the gist of Pickens is saying:
-The world's production of oil peaked in 2005. Demand, however, has continued to rise. Therefore, oil prices will just continue to skyrocket.
-The US imports 70% of its oil, costing this country about $700 billion dollars this year alone.
-We currently get 22% of our electricity from natural gas. Natural gas is a clean-burning fuel.
-Let's reduce our dependence on foreign oil with an alternate fuel source. That alternate fuel source? Wind power!
-Pickens is investing $2 billion in wind power in an effort to create a wind power "corridor" in the Great Plains, stretching from Texas to North Dakota, that could supply the US with 20% of it's electric power. He wants other private investors to jump in, as well.
-With that 20% "freed up," we can then devote our natural gas resources to use as transportation fuel, using newly developed Natural Gas Vehicles that don't rely on oil.


This plan has been pretty universally lauded as a great proposal by a wealthy philanthropist who is effectively "putting his money where his mouth is." His proposal has a whole lot of merit at face value, too: oil prices will only continue to rise as the increase in demand will continue to outstrip the increase in supply; this country has become far too dependent on foreign oil; we need to invest in an alternate fuel source to power our transportation. All of this is very true, and it's great that Pickens is investing in a source of energy - wind - that is a great alternative for this country.

His proposal to divert our natural gas resources to transportation, however, is foolhardy. Why replace one expensive source of fuel (oil) with another (natural gas)? Natural gas, like oil, is a natural resource in short supply - US production of it peaked in 2001 - and is far too valuable to "waste" on an extremely inefficient use of its power, the car. Having wind power take over a significant energy burden in this country is a tremendous idea, but wouldn't it be far more useful to use this moment to invest in electric-powered cars, a far more long-term solution than natural gas?

There's potential for a great national debate here, and I applaud Pickens for actually doing something, no matter how much I despise the man personally (he was a main funder of the "Swift Boat" attack ads in 2004). What does everyone think? Great idea? Terrible idea? Good idea, but needs some tweaking?


Sounds like a great idea.  Is it really true, or just hype?  I dont know and have trouble trusting Mr. Swiftboat himself.
When a candidate faces the voters he does not face men of sense [but] a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion. As democracy is perfected the White House will be adorned with a moron.

Julie Fern

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Re: The Pickens Plan - Great Idea or Shortsighted?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2008, 08:36:32 AM »
natural gas not impressive.  very short-term benefit.

brianwithani

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Re: The Pickens Plan - Great Idea or Shortsighted?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2008, 09:36:04 AM »
I suppose we shouldn't dismiss the good idea of an A-hole just because he's an A-hole...Clean sustainable, renewable energy is the answer to the problems we face.  Wind is just such a resource.  If enough engineering genius is put towards such a source to make it as efficient as is possible in earthly conditions, I can support it.  I guess that is what Picken's is doing, investing money to improve and set up the facilities to "harvest" wind energy.  Ultimately, the key to solving these problems is to make the solutions profitable.  Never underestimate the profit motive in American industry.  No other force is as strong in our economy.  People will do what's right when there is profit in it...until then, well, it's every oil company (and speculator) for themselves.
"We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is a habit."  Socrates

sinkfloridasink

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Re: The Pickens Plan - Great Idea or Shortsighted?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2008, 10:55:34 AM »
I suppose we shouldn't dismiss the good idea of an A-hole just because he's an A-hole...Clean sustainable, renewable energy is the answer to the problems we face.  Wind is just such a resource.  If enough engineering genius is put towards such a source to make it as efficient as is possible in earthly conditions, I can support it.  I guess that is what Picken's is doing, investing money to improve and set up the facilities to "harvest" wind energy.  Ultimately, the key to solving these problems is to make the solutions profitable.  Never underestimate the profit motive in American industry.  No other force is as strong in our economy.  People will do what's right when there is profit in it...until then, well, it's every oil company (and speculator) for themselves.

I agree with pretty much everything you say - he's an a-hole, and he's ultimately out to profit off of this endeavor, but I don't care as long as it gets us to a point where we have a meaningful investment in clean and renewable energy. I just don't understand how natural gas should factor into his plan, as it seems very shortsighted.
Tulane c/o 2011

brianwithani

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Re: The Pickens Plan - Great Idea or Shortsighted?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2008, 01:52:45 PM »
I guess I didn't address the natural gas issue but yeah, I agree, dependence on a non-renewable source for energy does seem shortsighted.  I mean a significant percentage like 20% is way too dependent.  Natural gas is cleaner but the supply is finite just like coal and oil.  It would be a viable source of energy to bridge a gap but dependence on it is ultimately bad policy. 

So how about clean, much-safer-than-back-in-the-80's nuclear energy? 
"We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is a habit."  Socrates

Julie Fern

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Re: The Pickens Plan - Great Idea or Shortsighted?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2008, 01:56:44 PM »
how about conservation?

sinkfloridasink

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Re: The Pickens Plan - Great Idea or Shortsighted?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2008, 04:52:40 PM »
I have always been for nuclear power, I'm just not sure the public at-large would get on board with the idea unless it was a last resort.
Tulane c/o 2011

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Re: The Pickens Plan - Great Idea or Shortsighted?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2008, 05:02:02 PM »
Ok, assuming T. Boone Pickens is telling the truth and the US is the Saudi Arabia of wind power, and that neat little graphic showing the wind power going through the middle of the US is accurate, then I like the idea sans the reliance on natural gas.  Why go out of th efrying pan and into the fire?
When a candidate faces the voters he does not face men of sense [but] a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion. As democracy is perfected the White House will be adorned with a moron.

Julie Fern

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Re: The Pickens Plan - Great Idea or Shortsighted?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2008, 10:15:16 PM »
I have always been for nuclear power, I'm just not sure the public at-large would get on board with the idea unless it was a last resort.

then let's send all nuclear waste your house.