Oilman T. Boone Pickens was a great voice for wind energy. Now he’s backing off and touting natural gas as the answer to America’s energy challenges.
The Pickens Plan, which was unveiled back in 2008 with a barrage of advertisements, interviews and events, was a plan to wean America off Middle Eastern energy sources and onto domestic sources like wind. Pickens talked about building the world’s largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle, a 500-megawatt facility that was to be based in the town of Pampa, Texas. Now, citing delays in transmission line construction, Pickens has changed the plan.
Pickens is now setting his sights on a possible giant wind project — but not in the United States. He's looking north of the border, in Canada, where renewable energy standards make wind a more attractive investment. He still has an energy plan within the United States, where he has jumped on the natural gas bandwagon. Not only is he on the bandwagon, he partially owns the bandwagon. More on that in a moment.
The new Pickens Plan calls for Congress to pass legislation that will incentivize the conversion of 18-wheel trucks to compressed natural gas (CNG). This conversion, according to a report on msnbc.com, would “cut in half the amount of oil imported to United States,” if just 8 million tractor-trailers in the U.S. switched to CNG.
So what’s the issue? Some are saying Pickens’ 45 percent ownership in a company called Clean Energy Fuels is his motivation. Clean Energy Fuels makes natural gas-filling equipment for buses and other large vehicles.
The msnbc.com report quotes Public Citizen’s Tyson Slocum saying, “He stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars … He doesn’t see wind personally as a lucrative investment anymore.”
Still, if the guy wants to make money while help the country become more independent of nations that aren’t that friendly to the U.S., is that a problem? America is about a lot of things and making money is one of them. It is also, at times, about self-promotion. Remember, it wasn’t called the “Renewable Energy Plan,” or “The Wind Plan,” or the “Everybody is Happy Because of the Purity of T. Boone’s Intentions Plan.” It’s called “The Pickens Plan,” and anyone is welcome to come up with their own, name it what they want and promote it how they want.
This is America. You just may need several billion dollars to get Congress to listen and the media to cover it, tear it apart or endorse it.
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