Pickens Leans into the Wind

“You need a giant plan for America. Not the pissant 83 megawatt [windfarm] deals being stamped all over the country. There needs to be a huge plan from someone with leadership. It's going to take years to do, but it has to start now.”

Al Gore? Nope. Too plain-spoken. This quote comes from oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, an erstwhile Bush supporter who is bankrolling a Texas windfarm that will be five times bigger than the current world-record holder.

Is Pickens a sudden convert to what the denier community calls global warming “dogma”? Not hardly.

“Don't get the idea that I've turned green,” Pickens recently told the Guardian in the Dallas offices of his new venture Mesa Power. “My business is making money, and I think this is going to make a lot of money.”

Gotta like capitalists with vision.


This isn’t that surprising. T. Boone Pickens is well-known for thinking that Peak Oil has already happened.

For example:
“Open letter to Texas newspapers about peak oil: ‘Why aren’t you listening?’” http://www.energybulletin.net/14606.html

I prefer Big Wind to Big Oil or Big Nuclear, but I think it would be even better to have small windpower on every individual farm and every home where feasible. Last I heard it was too expensive, but it should be getting cheaper to do.

Philosophically, I agree, but unfortunately:

1) There’s more wind higher, and while people try hard for rooftop devices, it isn’t easy.

2) These things don’t scale down as well as one might like, i.e., power ~ radius^2 for a given type of design.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_turbine http://www.wind-works.org/articles/FantasyWindTurbines.html

Will T. Boone actually sell electricity to make money? Probably not. Since crude oil flows in his veins, he will most likely use the electricity for advanced methods of heavy oil recovery such as steam flooding, steam-assisted gravity drainage and in-situ resistive heating.

FYI, Shell R and D has developed an in-situ method of resistive heating in oil shale deposits that will make available some of the several trillion barrels of oil equivalent in the Green River Basin.

Rather than idle speculation (or speculation to spread FUD, it doesn’t matter), it’s easier just to follow the paper trail. Judging from the agreement between Mesa Power and the Energy Reliability Council of Texas, Pickins actually is selling electricity to the consumers (specifically delivering it to the grid through either the Oklaunion or Anna substations).

Hello Brian!

T. Boone’s $6 bilion project has not yet been built. Shell WindPower also has a proposal to build a wind power project in the same area. There is an oil and nat. gas basin centered in Robert County.

Go over to ClimateArk and read about Shell’s pilot project using in-situ resistive heating to recover oil from oil shale in western Colorado.

With oil at $100/bbl it would only take about 60 million bbl to recover capital cost.

T. Boone has always been a real American … as long as there was a bundle of money to be made by him. If reducing our dependence on oil (and foreign oil in particular) isn’t profitable, then why bother? Seeing beyond the profit motive never has been his strong suit.


Alex from flowers Moscow