T. Boone Pickens on Oil Prices, Wind Power

Boone Pickens details to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil:

click for Video

UPDATE: July 9, 2008  9:43pm

Jeff Matthews points out Picken’s flip flop

“I was in wind energy for a minute…. I hate it. And when I got to looking at those damn things I said, I don’t want to be a part of putting that on the horizon. I think it’s homely and I don’t like it. We took a loss and got out of it and I’m glad I did.”

—T. Boone Pickens, Bloomberg, February 17, 2005

Boone Pickens: A man with an energy plan   
C/NET July 8, 2008 4:20 PM

Big Pickens: T. Boone, the Oilman, Ups the Ante in His Wind Bet
Keith Johnson
Environment, July 8, 2008, 2:11 pm

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens wants to supplant oil with wind 
Dan Reed
USA TODAY   July 8, 2008


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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. mitch commented on Jul 9

    another obvious top indicator, tv shows dedicated to the thrill of whats now. “Black Gold”, remember “flip this house” – oil to 60.

  2. Fear the Data commented on Jul 9

    Deja Vu.

    I flashed back to Ross Perot in 1992 with his flip cards and charts.

  3. Greg0658 commented on Jul 9

    future = electric cars recharged with any fuel that is available & cheapest

    ie: coal, oil, natgas, nuke, solar, wind, hydro

    the fuel distribution network is already in place .. but in need of an overhaul (with electric cars or not)

    I don’t include ethanol because in Utopianism .. transportation systems would not burn food for fuel

  4. VennData commented on Jul 9

    After the talk, the first thing Joe Kernan asked was if natural gas cars will have pep.

    Heaven help up us if boys and their toys are the tangle of barb wire which has us surrounded and trapped into this wealth-depleting question of survival.

  5. Mark E Hoffer commented on Jul 9

    Personally I think T. Boone is on the right track: We can’t continue to export so much of our Wealth on ‘Consumables’.

    Its akin, in the Micro- fashion, to letting Visa pick up the tab for the weekly groceries..

    Also CNG/LNG powered vehicles are a long-proven Technology that derive even higher efficiencies, than Gasoline, or Diesel, from our huge Investment in ICE rolling stock.

    As an aside, it does, truly, amaze me how Clueless Joe Kernan is. I only hope that Becky Quick doesn’t beome terminally infected by that, due to mere proximity..

  6. david foster commented on Jul 9

    He didn’t address the primary question with windpower, which is the difficulty of storing energy…solar-thermal, on the other hand, does have some inherent storage capabilities.

    Power generation in the corridors of which he spoke will require long transmissions lines to reach urban centers, and every single mile of these lines will be contested and litigated by activists of various persuasions. Yet as a matter of practical politics, it still might be easier to build the transmission lines than to build more-localized nuclear plants, given the longstanding fear campaign against nuclear.

  7. leftback commented on Jul 9

    Agree with mitch: we are close to the top in the energy space. I am weary of CNBC allowing T Boone to pitch his stocks.

    Alternative energy is a great idea, but we need long-term plans, and yes, I am afraid that means government involvement. Electing a government that isn’t owned by Big Oil would be a great start.

    A few people must have been burned yesterday in the USO… there will be more declines to come. But first, we will see a bounce to a lower high. I like the refiners here rather than playing the USO.

  8. Mark E Hoffer commented on Jul 9


    I agree with the point about long transmission lines. Solar Thermal is an underappreciated technology. Personally, I’d like to to see T. Boone get with near-surface Geo-Thermal and a, vastly, more distributed Electricity Generation network.

    you may care for: http://distributedenergy.com/de.html
    as a general reference, and:
    for an intro to GTHPs, and:
    for more general purposes..

  9. michael schumacher commented on Jul 9

    Speaking of USO…….nice of the Iranians to say that there will be no war and want peace…..pay no attention to those rockets going off behind us.

    Trust is a four letter word in that part of the world. Not that we deserve it however the rest of the world watched it too…


  10. Barry Golden commented on Jul 9

    I have to give Mr. Pickens credit to at least have an energy plan. I personally think it’s a great start to address our energy dependence from other countries. Well done, Mr. Pickens!

  11. Theinvestingspeculator commented on Jul 9

    I think Picken’s plan shows he is a great leader. I vote for he if he ran for president. I hope his plan works or the economy will have another long-term headwind.

  12. DownSouth commented on Jul 9

    I’m with you, Mark E. Hoffer, Barry Golden and Theinvestingspeculator.

    And to you Dorothy types who think you can just “click your heels” and oil will return to $60 per barrel, who accuse Pickens of “pitching his stocks,” I think Pickens’ actions belie your conclusions. The man would hardly be investing billions of dollars of his money in expensive, long-term alternatives if he believed the price of energy was going to implode.

  13. Greg0658 commented on Jul 9

    thanks Mark – missed “geo-thermal”
    ie: electric cars refueled by coal, oil, natgas, nuke, solar, wind, hydro and geo-thermal
    I will point out here > natgas is most likely already running underground into our existing gas stations. But I wonder if the pipes can handle that increase of need / capacity? 2nd point – swap home heating economics for car propulsion? I don’t think we’ll like that. Need another study. :-)

  14. mdave commented on Jul 9

    After watching his video the words “No Duh.” come to me. Where was he 30 years ago? Now it’s profitable and he’s in. At least he’s in now.

    The private sector has failed us when it comes to energy independence. The market will fill the needs don’t get government involved…blah blah blah. While Toyota and Honda were developing new technologies GM was getting fat off SUVs. Enron screwed quite a few and laughed to the bank.

    What we need is a real energy policy. Leaders willing to change and not pander to corporations and Wall Street. Our country needs a goal to strive towards. Like a carbon free economy or energy independence. Example: Low interest govt. loans (Germany is doing this now) for solar and wind while mandating that anything purchased has to developed, made in America by American companies. The shut down auto plans can produce wind turbines and solar. All the new installations and maintenance this new infrastructure requires smart workers which means high paying jobs.

    People are going to ask what about the old sector jobs that are lost? I say change happens and you don’t see many buggy cart & whip makers like you used to. Their children prob became auto mechanics or something in the new sectors that were created.

    Call it protectionism or what ever but I call it investing in our own country and future.

    You do something like this and you’ll see an expansion of our economy much larger than the industrial revolution and dot com boom combined.

    OK, rant done. Start tearing me apart. ;-)

  15. RENEWind commented on Jul 9

    The “Pickens Plan” is great for creating buzz on what many already expect to be the next (tech) bubble. I don’t think big wind combined with natural gas is the best answer. Small wind, say 1 to 5 KW household wind turbines connected to small battery storage bank could recharge electric cars and give real energy independence of some degree. After paying for initial investment you’re personal transportation cost would be ‘free’!

  16. Ray The Money Man commented on Jul 9

    To say oil is going down long term is to say China and India will stop expanding. Lets through Brazil in there to. At T. Boones age I say his motives are honorable.

  17. wnsrfr commented on Jul 9

    Pickens is talking his book, but it is a good book–I also believe in Thermal Solar is a big opportunity.

    As far as what to do with the electricity–take water, CO2, a catalyst and electricity and theoretically you can produce a synthetic liquid fuel, while sticking CO2 back into liquid carbon molecules instead of the atmosphere. Might even have some “pep” to it. Kind of a pipe-dream, but with enough pipe-dreams, sooner or later you have a really useful invention.

  18. DaveInSeattle commented on Jul 9

    We need to migrate to electric cars. This is waiting on better batteries, which we can hope come in the next 2 or 3 years. Because central power plants are a lot more efficient than personal internal combustion engines, even if the electricity is generated from burning oil, we’d reduce the oil required by 50 – 70%. If all cars magically became electric overnight, it would only take a 20% increase in nationwide electricity generation to run all of them.

    Then we need to get electricity from something, anything, cleaner than fossil fuels.

    The best energy to develop is geothermal although estimates of how much there are vary widely. It’s the best because it is as green as wind or solar but it is steady, so it can replace coal for providing the base power, that is run 24X7X365. Some estimates say there is enough geothermal to power the whole country, other estimates are more like 10%. According to the resource map, the entire state of NV could be a geothermal electric plant and smaller parts of adjacent states have the potential.

    Then wind. There’s enough wind in N and S Dakota to provide all the electricity for whole country.

    Solar. All the electricy in the whole country could be provided by covering 7% of AZ in relatively inefficient solar panels. If you use solar thermal, that probably drops to 3 or 4%. Photovoltaics have more upside though. Solar thermal is not going to get a lot better but PV will drop 50% or more in price in the next couple years as more mfg comes on line. There’s also a possibility that research will develop PV that is a lot more efficient, maybe even 100% or 200% better than what we have now, which isn’t very good.

    Then the grid has to be built that will get the power from where it is to where it is needed. Energy storage is another problem once intermittant sources ( wind, solar ) get above 20 – 40% of system capacity. Any answer comes pretty close to doubling the cost of green energy.

    There’s no need for coal for electricity nor oil for cars. We can keep all of that $700B at home and create a fair number of jobs.

  19. brent green commented on Jul 9

    power generated in texas is already stranded from the rest of the US for the most part. I wonder how much land T’s got out there in BFE which will make wonderful place to site manufacturing that can then buy the power he’s gonna generate with no place to go?

  20. RedCharlie commented on Jul 9

    Pickens’ Plan is part brilliant and part stoopid.

    But I support the “Pickens Plan” 100% because I know the brillant 50% will succeed and the stupid 50% will fail.

    The good part–building out the windpower infrastructure–happens first, and happens with Pickens’ dough, only requiring a bit of government and industry cooperation. Solar thermal is a great idea too, and it’s encouraging that Pickens mentioned it, even if he’s not investing in it now.

    The stupid part is switching from one fossil fuel to another. According to Pickens, this part happens next, and happens as a matter of consumer choice (i.e. we all decide to go out and buy natural gas cars or pay to have existing cars converted).

    But this will never happen, due to two magic words that right-wing nutjobs have endless faith in, except when it comes to energy. Those two words are “free market”.

    Anybody check the price of natural gas these days? It ain’t any cheaper than oil, and if we go from 100K to 1Million natural gas vehicles in this country, it ain’t gonna get any cheaper either. Why do I need to go buy a new car or pay money to have my existing one converted to natural gas, when IT WON’T SAVE ME ANY MONEY??

    On a side note, somebody also tell me why power utilities would shutter their new, expensive, efficient natural gas generator plants, especially when those plants are perfect for the job of load balancing with wind power (i.e. the wind doesn’t blow all the time, so you need a reserve capacity that can come online QUICKLY–coal and nuke are too slow to ramp up, only hydro and natural gas really fit the bill here).

    So, sure, I support Pickens’ plan 100%. It’s painless, as the stupid part will fail–just don’t tell him that. By the time he’s dead or senile we’ll all have electric cars anyway.

    (And if you want to know when we get back to $20 oil, well dangit, can’t you read? The National Review has told us for the past 5 years that we’ll be back to cheap oil in about 6 months. Sheesh. Some people never learn.)

  21. Bob A commented on Jul 9

    “It won’t save me any money”…

    uhhh.. excuse me… did you miss the part about spending the money here instead of Saudi, Venezuela, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait?

    If you’re paying $4 per gallon or $2 per gallon, is it better to spend it here, or send it to some other country?

  22. kg commented on Jul 9

    Funny, he pointed out our huge usage of power compared to the rest of the world…yet never listed CONSERVATION methods as an important & viable way to reduce our independence.

  23. DaveInSeattle commented on Jul 9

    Solar thermal solves the diurnal intermittant problem, but it doesn’t help you when you have a cloudy day or week. If 20% of national generation is down because it’s cloudy in AZ for 4 days ( or windfree in ND ), what are you going to do? This could keep solar/wind from going above 20% (some say) or 40% (which I think Denmark has already done).

    re: TBP and natural gas for cars: I don’t know much about gas cars, but since it is still going to require some kind of combustion, it probably won’t be any more efficient than gasoline cars. Hence, any significant replacement of gasoline with gas will have a significant effect on the price of gas. People might shift to NG patriotically, but not if it’s going to cost twice as much. So let’s just ignore that part of TBP plan. Once he gets his 6 GW of windmills up and a transmission line to get the electrons somewhere, the power will find something useful to do. Ideally recharge car batteries, but we’ll see.

  24. RedCharlie commented on Jul 10

    I thought I posted this before, but here goes again:

    To Bob A.
    People are not going to spend $20K on a new NG car or $1K on converting an existing car just so they can have the privilege of paying their $4/gallon to T.Boone Pickens instead of paying it to Prince Bandar.
    People are quick to adopt the symbols of patriotism (like flag pins and yellow ribbons) when they are cheap, but when it gets expensive this changes rapidly. The prospect of enriching Prince Bandar (and the Bin Laden family) didn’t stop folks from buying Hummers, did it? Nope, it took $4/gallon gas to kill Hummer sales.
    This is all to say that mere patriotism does not make a business plan.
    Moreover, NG vehicles have failed in the US marketplace for decades. They work fine but as TBP pointed out himself, GM makes 18 NG models but none of them are for sale here. It will take a lot more than TBP’s cheerleading to change that.

    To DaveinSeattle:
    Yes, the weather problem with solar and wind is real. Cloudy or windfree days, or say a volcanic eruption that dims the Northern hemisphere for a few months, it’s all a problem. That’s a big reason that wind will not replace NG in power production. NG is needed as a backup power supply (again, NG and hydro are best suited for this, coal and nuke do not ramp up output quickly).

    Of course, we could start putting windmills where the wind always blows.

  25. Greg0658 commented on Jul 16

    I keep seeing those commercials … for outside searchers into here, TBP in this thread meant T.Boone Pickens (maybe – the Boone Plan) but most days we bloggers use TBP as The Big Picture

    on The Boone Plan
    I think the USA could put company and government fleets into NatGas use with immediate results on foreign oil outlay reductions. I’m not sure how much that would mess with home heating prices. Needs another study I guess :-)

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