First of all, if you're not familiar with T. Boone Pickens' new plan for the energy crisis, check here: www.pickensplan.comWhat 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?
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 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.