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Why The Pickens Plan Is Good For America

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After Barack Obama’s incredible victory in the presidential election, it's clear that this country has taken a step in the right direction when it comes to equal rights, and now it’s time to take an important step in another direction: clean energy. We know global warming is real; it affects not only the physical appearance of the world, but also climate and weather patterns. It's time we start to reduce our dependence on not only foreign oil, but oil in general.

Wind power only contributes over 1% of the total electricity generated in the United States. Compared to Denmark's nearly 20%, we are far behind in the search for alternative power. Although we have the largest number of wind turbines, we have such a high demand for electricity that they barely make a dent. Across the nation, we have many opportunities to build turbines both on land and offshore. Wind farms at the moment are our easiest and quickest answer to the energy crisis.

That is where the man with plan comes in: T. Boone Pickens, a hedge fund chair with a net worth over $3 billion. Chances are you've seen television ads promoting his Pickens Plan on every major network in the United States. His plan is to promote clean, affordable energy using wind farms. Not only is he promoting the technology, he's taking the initiative too. Currently, he is building a 200,000 acre wind farm that will one day be attached to the electrical grid of Texas.

Pickens believes in using our own resources to reduce dependency on foreign oil by nearly 30%. Natural gas is more abundant than oil and the technology to use it in cars and other automobiles already exists. 20% of public transit buses currently use natural gas because it's cleaner and cheaper. Cheaper, though, does not mean less effective than the oil we're currently using. In fact, many major car manufacturers are working on Natural Gas Vehicles.

The one man that can implement the Pickens Plan better than Pickens himself is President-elect Barack Obama. With an energy plan similar to the Pickens Plan, the two seem like a perfect match. President-elect Obama plans on decreasing greenhouse emissions, putting one million Plug-In Hybrid cars on the road by 2015, and creating new jobs by using alternative energy. Also, the President-elect has recently been quoted as saying he would be open to the idea of offshore drilling to help reduce our addiction to foreign oil. While President-elect Obama is an advocate for clean coal energy, natural gas is not out of the question. Seeing as how natural gas can eliminate carbon dioxide emissions by 90-97% in vehicles, greenhouse emissions would drastically decrease.

Pickens was recently quoted as saying, “I’m strongly encouraged by Senator Obama’s speech on America’s energy future. Foreign oil is killing our economy and putting our nation at risk." In that speech President-elect Obama brought up Pickens several times, once by acknowledging, “T. Boone Pickens is right. We need a much bolder and much bigger set of solutions.” Though in the past, President-elect Obama has been hesitant to make friends with "oil tycoons", there seem to be similar ideologies when it comes to energy between these two men. A strong relationship could be in the near future.

T. Boone Pickens is an intelligent man with a true passion for clean energy. He claims he's not in it for the money, but even if he is trying to make a profit off this, is it really that despicable that someone would make money off something that could potentially help save our planet? Rarely does a man as wealthy and successful as Pickens take interest in something that affects the entire planet. Maybe he can become a role model for others with financial freedom to take initiative in leaving a positive mark on this planet.

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  • Georgio

    I am so glad you wrote this article because it has been driving me nuts as to why we don’t move on Pickens plan..it seems like a fantastic idea to me.
    so could you tell me if a school bus in Tenn is already using natural gas and I hear it is being done in Ca also that why can;t we make the leap to natural gas..what are the drawbacks..I also think his wind energy is a good idea and I only hope with Obama in office he will implement these ideas and maybe he should appoint Pickens to be energy secretary .

  • bliffle

    This always worries me “…While President-elect Obama is an advocate for clean coal energy,…” because there simply is NO such thing as “clean coal”.

    All coal is dirty. There never will be a “clean coal”. It’s even a worse illusion than “cold fusion”.

    “Clean coal” is a PR triumph, however. People who know nothing keep repeating “clean coal” as if there was such a thing. There is not.

    Obama needs better science advisers than the political advocates from coal states.

  • bliffle

    Natural gas is a viable fuel now. In fact it has been for many years. The technology is simple: anyone can convert their car or truck to NG for a few hundred dollars. Sometimes, when looking through ads for used trucks you will find a NG converted truck. Usually these conversions work both ways: you can flip from NG to petrol as necessary.

    The problems with NG are price and availability. The price has gone up radically in the past few years because of the big upsurge in NG fired turbines for electrical generation (for environmental and economic reasons).

    Whereas there used to be surpluses of NG (it was often burned off at the oil wellhead), now there is so much demand that high prices have improved conservation.

    If we adopt too much NG use we may be faced, in the future, with NG shortages and the need to import foreign NG. So we’ll be back where we are with oil.

  • Georgio

    Bliffle..I appreciate your input but how do you explain Pickens comment that there is an overabundance of natural gas ? and what do you think of his wind plan..

  • bliffle

    I’m not sure of the current figures on NG availability, but when I was researching this a few years ago the advocates of NG were including plans for liquifying NG and shipping LNG much like oil. But it is probably true that the Chinese Phenomena has knocked all that out of whack in the intervening time.

    But I notice now that NG prices have risen to about parity with electricity, so I’ve assumed that demand has driven NG prices away from surplus.

    If the USA ramps up NG use in a big way then it will become an issue.

    Meanwhile, I like renewables such as solar and wind power.

    It’s interesting that many ‘off-grid’ homeowners are getting serious about wind, even supplanting solar in some cases. Wind is generally lower cost, simpler to implement, and pretty efficient use of land area.

    I haven’t thoroughly read any of Pickens plans, yet.