by Janet Ritz
T. Boone Pickens, Jr., the Texas billionaire oilman, is planning to put billions into a 4,000 megawatt wind farm in Texas with the capacity to power 1.3 million homes.
Pickens said he will be purchasing GE Turbines to install in central Texas from 2010 to 2015 on a royalty share basis with landowners in order to obtain access to wind.
"The Department of Energy came out with a study in April of '07 that said we could generate 20 percent of our electricity from wind. And the wind power is -- you know, it's clean, it's renewable. It's -- you know, it's everything you want. And it's a stable supply of energy.This is an important offering from Pickens, the chairman of the BP Capital Management hedge fund, known as the "Oracle of Oil" with a personal net worth (in 2007) of 3 billion dollars who once offered one million dollars to anyone who could disprove the swiftboat claims against Senator John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign. Kerry responded to the challenge, which Pickens then modified.
It will be located in [the] central part of the United States, which will be the best from a safety standpoint to be located. You have a wind corridor that goes from Pampa, Texas, to the Canadian border. And it has -- the wind, it's unbelievable that we have not done more with wind. Look at Germany and Spain. They have developed their wind way beyond what we have, and they don't have as much wind as we do. It's not unlike the French have done with their nuclear. They're 80 percent power generated off of nuclear, we're 20 percent.
A turbine will generate somewhere around 20,000 [dollars] a year in royalty income [some of which to benefit those who put them on their land]. And on a 640-acre tract, you can put five to 10 of these on the tract. And you don't have to have them if you don't want them."
A curious mix of partisan politics, oil deals and company takeovers, Pickens' history has been juxtaposed with philanthropic causes -- he is listed as one of the country's top givers -- that include funding schools and universities and an effort to save wild horses from slaughter. He is also an avid sportsman who made his fortune through years as a wildcatter, an executive with Philips Petroleum, the founder of Mesa Oil and of BP Capital.
Pickens has begun speaking out on the issue of peak oil, claiming that world oil production is about to enter a period of irrevocable decline. He has called for the construction of more nuclear power plants, the use of natural gas to power the country's transportation systems, and the promotion of alternative energy.This does not mean that Pickens has given up on oil. He is heavily involved with the Canadian oil sands extraction project: "We’re managing $5 billion here. And, about 10 percent of it is in the oil sands. So, it’s the largest single investment we have," Pickens said in 2006.
Pickens' involvement with the natural gas fueling campaign is long-running. He formed Pickens Fuel Corp. in 1997 and began touting natural gas as the best vehicular fuel alternative because it's a domestic resource that, among many advantages, is clean (Natural Gas Vehicles or NGVs emit up to 95% less pollution than gasoline or diesel vehicles) and reduces foreign oil consumption. Reincorporated as Clean Energy in 2001, the company now owns and operates natural gas fueling stations from British Columbia to the Mexican border.
His focus has widened since then, however, as evidenced by this statement on Monday: "We are going to have to do something different in America. You can't keep paying out $600 billion a year for oil."
Cross-posted on Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fox News, Houston Chronicle, IBS, Reuters
LABELS: ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, BUSINESS, CLIMATE CHANGE, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, FOX NEWS, GLOBAL WARMING, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, IBS, OIL, REUTERS, T. BOONE PICKENS, JR., WIND, WIND FARMING