The Pickens Plan: The Oracle of Oil Has Spoken

(Image: USA Today)

From Businesswire:

Texas oil and gas tycoon T. Boone Pickens stepped into the oil debate today by announcing a far-reaching set of solutions to the nation’s oil dependency problem. According to Businesswire:

…The objective of this plan – The Pickens Plan – is to underscore the need to declare a national emergency and develop governmental leadership that will address America’s staggering dependence on imported oil.

Pickens is launching a massive media and education campaign to get the plan consumer backing. He claims the Pickens Plan will reduce the nation’s foreign oil dependence by 1/3 in a period of ten years.

Here’s Businesswire’s outline of the Pickens Plan:


* Today, 22 percent of our electricity is generated by power plants using natural gas as a source of fuel.
* Of the $700 billion worth of foreign oil we import every year, 70 percent goes to fulfilling our country’s transportation needs in the form of carbon-rich gasoline and diesel fuel for cars, airplanes, trucks and other vehicles. This number is growing year after year.
* While renewable energy (wind, solar, biomass, geothermal) represents a mere 2 percent of our energy sources today, according to a study released by the Department of Energy in 2008, there is conclusive evidence that we can generate at least 20 percent of our electricity supply from wind power from the nation’s “wind corridor” – a vast stretch of territory between West Texas and the Canadian border.


* Step #1: Using the United States’ wind corridor, private industry will fund the installation of thousands of wind turbines in the wind belt, generating enough power to provide 20 percent or more of our electricity supply
* Step #2: Again funded by the private sector, electric power transmission lines will be built, connecting these wind power generating sites with power plants providing energy to the population centers in the Midwest, South and Western regions of the country.
* Step #3: With the energy from wind now available to operate power plants serving the large population centers in key areas of the country, the natural gas that was historically utilized to fuel these power plants can be redirected and used to replace imported gasoline and diesel as a fuel for thousands of vehicles in our transportation system.


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* Since natural gas is cheaper than gasoline and diesel and because natural gas can be easily used to power a wide range of vehicles, this plan creates an energy platform that cuts more than one-third or more than $230 billion off the nation’s yearly payments to foreign countries.
* Our nation’s wind corridor and renewable energy resource is strategically located in the middle of our country and can be safeguarded from attack.
* We are experiencing a significant increase in reserves found in natural gas in key areas of the country and so today, we have a true abundance of renewable wind power and domestic natural gas to drive this plan forward..
* In addition, the plan brings tremendous environmental advantages as the substitution of natural gas will reduces carbon emissions substantially.
* And finally, the United States creates an energy platform that focuses attention on the country’s own abundant alternative, renewable forms of power, restores the nation’s global standing and makes clear to the world that the U.S. is in control of its energy destiny.

Pickens has decades of experience behind him in the oil and gas industries, giving him a reputation as the “Oracle of Oil.” He eschews talk in favor of high-octane action. There’s definitely a conflagration under this man’s seat, and, even in his mature years, he’s ready to act on it.

I think his idea is splendid. We can debate the specific merits of wind power for years, but not get any closer to energy independence. Here’s a guy with a master plan, who is starting to execute it today. A Texas-built solution to what’s arguably a Texas-built problem.

What do you think? Will Pickens get what he wants?

  • Funny, this guy is like the doctor that doesn’t want you to get sick…nudge nudge wink wink. Boone is spot on but lets not forget that he is a billionaire because of oil.

  • Adam

    It is also important to note that Picken’s has a vested interest in the wind power market as well. He is currently constructing the largest windfarm in Texas and has moved a significant amount of his resources to wind.

    This plan is also going to be challenging to implement considering that there is a 2-year lead time for wind turbines and the price of carbon fiber (a main material input in the blades) is witnessing major shortfalls.

  • I think these are good ideas. However, I think the transition from mostly gasoline-vehicles to natural gas will be costly and have some drawbacks. For example, if the demand for natural gas increases enough, we will start importing natural gas from other countries. As a result, the large tankers will have to carry that gas and will emit enough pollutants to counteract some of the benefits of natural gas. I think it would be beneficial to do whatever we can now to reduce future demand because it will reduce the cost today. So, for the most part I like this plan.

  • S. Monsees

    What about all our technology tied up in government patents not being used?
    What if 90% of everything you buy in the store wasn’t packaged in plastic, a petrolum product?
    I am all for eliminating dependency on foreign oil, but it
    gonna take more that wind energy and natural gas.

  • Great ideas, but so much stinking red tape it will take forever to get any action. If the world was literally coming to an end tomrrow, things would move A LOT faster.

  • John

    I think it’s a great idea. Even if the guy does seem to be in it partially for profit there really isn’t anything wrong with that. He’s a business man and thats what they do. Anything to ween off of oil is a good plan.

  • I think it’s great that Pickens is putting so much money into alternative energy. For the most part his plan is great and it is getting a lot of people to talk.

    However, the part of the plan that fails is the natural gas aspect for vehicles. We don’t want to replace one non-sustainable energy source with another. Otherwise, we will run into the same problems with natural gas that we have with oil today.

  • Let’s not Canonize Mr. Pickens just yet. This move is not only for profit, but out of necessity as he is being squeezed out of the oil business buy the same high prices he projects. There isn’t much space for a wildcatter at $150 oil.

  • Rick Reeves

    I think the goverment should be giving away the conversion kits for natural gas in lieu of the tax rebate for the environmentally friendly car purchase. It just seems cheaper for overall. It can’t cost more than $1000 for such a conversion and the tax rebate is around $4000 (I think). Too bad big oil is deep in the pockets of congress!

  • Mark

    One word: Hydrogen

  • Kevin

    This is exactly what we need. It may not be the end-all answer, but such a visible leader in oil defining a very specific and clear plan is what this country needs. Kudos to Pickens for giving the stubborn oil industry a next-generation solution.

    Understand he’s not just doing this to “save” the environment, but to give america a way to take back all the money that we’re sending overseas. Its a win for all.

  • Joe

    Incentivise efficiency, not technology! Granted we are (should be) a free market society and T Boon has the funds to push his vision, but if the government insists on sticking its nose in the energy crisis (and there IS one of course…) then we as a citizenry should insist that we don’t pick a specific technology to incentivise. Innovation comes from incentives that are attached to bottom line results, not one or two existing technologies. Remember the Synfuel debacle? I would hope to think that Mr. Pickens’ motivation is purely altruistic, but something tells me that he’s got some investments in the technology that he’s pushing. Call me a pessimist, perhaps, but history will most likely prove this is the case – rich folks get richer by promoting the game they have some skin attached to. It is admirable that he is at least doing something rather than just flapping his gums and pandering to our fears or special interests like our elected officials. Thoreau said that there are 99 patrons of virtue to one virtuous man. T Boon please be that one.

  • Blue

    if this gentleman can help save this planet (not just the usa) with his new plan i don’t care if he makes another billion dollars
    if all the rich people take the incentive to use their riches to improve this planet and make more money ,all the power to them
    people are poor because they lack the guts to try things instead of just griping about the ones who do !

  • newc

    This plan may not be perfect…what plan is? But it’s the most practical one I’ve seen and certainly beats our current plan which is to drill more. We can drill in every National Park, Wildlife Reserve and the entire coast and not fix our energy problem because oil is running out while demand is escalating.

  • Penny

    Its true that no plan is perfect, but at least it is a plan. The three questions that pop into my mind is 1) the affordability of NGV conversion for the average american family car, 2)The availabilty of NG pumps in rural america and 3)With global warming and the changing ocean currents that affect the wind streams as well, will the wind continue to come sweeping down the plains? And rememeber folks this is a temporary solution that buys time for a more permanent solution of technologies to be invented.