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No Politics... ok, Let's talk about the Pickens Plan??

I have tried twice.. Here and Here to get a Presidential Discussion started here and the reponse has been poor. Ok I get it... actually I am kinda relieved it really is a fairly boring subject matter. Here's my parting thought on the election... Just vote, please, otherwise you have zero right to voice opinions about the next President.

Ok new topic The Picken's Plan. (link here)

I am a problem solver mindset type of person. I am not claiming I am a great problem solver, that's subjective. I am claiming my mindset on issues is "Let's just fix it" Kinda black and white thinking, I know but that's just me.

Because of that mindset I am completely backing T. Boone Picken's plan. I got nothing really to back it with just voicing my backing of it right here.

I know T. Boone (which will be the name of the next pet that I get to name) stands to make a freaking fortune off this deal. That is not the point.

The point is the guy has a freaking plan to solve a problem. AND HE IS DOING IT!!!!!!! He isn't talking about it, not analyzing it, not asking for our money to research,analyze,debate, legislate and then talk some more... He is already putting it into action.

I am behind it, haven't completely researched it yet and as always I will be open to comments that might influence my opinion.

So click the link, read the basic, watch the video and come back here and comment.

This plan could actually be a gigantic Environmental, Economic, National Pride, Everything leap forward.



  1. I've long been a fan of wind energy as part of the solution for energy independence and clean fuel.

    One of the great things GWB did while he was Governor of Texas was deregulate electricity. With that came the ability of people who live on the grid in Texas to choose "green" wind energy. We joined the pilot program as soon as it was available and we've been completely on wind energy for years now.

    It's been a bit more expensive that oil and coal based providers all these years because we've (the consumers who choose it) have been paying for the infrastructure that the wind companies put into place to provide us with alternative energy.

    That said, there are drawbacks. It just doesn't work as the ONLY source of energy for a grid. Pickens isn't claiming it does. He speaks of it in terms as one of the ways we achieve energy independence.

    I wish more people were promoting multiple ways of becoming energy independent.

    Back to wind. In Texas, where energy usage peaks for homes in the summer because of the heat and humidity, the winds die down. So during peak usage, wind energy isn't being generated in any real way to meet the demand.

    In the Netherlands, where they get sea winds and wind energy is big, their stats show that there are roughly 56 days (if I remember that right, I read it last month) of the year they get zero, zip, zilch, nada wind power.

    As a supplemental form of energy - and Pickens givens a goal of 20% of home electricity - it's a wonderful thing.

    If folks believe it'll be the primary "answer" I don't believe there will be just one "answer" or one "solution".

  2. So what you're saying Jolene is you vote "YES" for T. Boone's plan.... Right??

  3. Yeppers.

    I also liked tidal energy. I'm watching it.

    Also, I just can't help myself - if you live in a hot climate, paint your house a light color and go for a lighter color roof. If you live in a cold climate, go for darker colors.

    Put in a roof vent at the top of your roof when it's time to reroof.

    Expand the size of your cool air return vent by 25% if your duct size allows for it - it increases your fuel efficiency.

    Buy permanent central air and central heat filters and clean them monthly.

  4. I think it is interesting that when T. Boone Pickens, a right wing oil man who contributed millions in the effort to "swift boat" purple heart and silver star recipient John Kerry, speaks about alternative energy, he is largely applauded, while Al Gore gives a speech alluding to Kennedy's "moonshot" speech, and he is largely ignored or criticized (not here, but in the media).

    While I am not too familiar with Picken's plan, I have no problem with Pickens and others creating a huge wind farm across the Midwest. I think it sounds awesome, both to cure our addiction to foreign oil and to try to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

    However, many of the problems remaining to do this are not technological but political, and yes, it will require government involvement, regualtion and money (often an anathema on this site).

    To help do much of this, legislators, agencies and officials must decouple utility profits from the levels of electricity they sell rather then allow utilities to monopolize sales and block renewables, regulations must be passed permitting consumers to sell excess power back to the grid as well as allow consumers to buy power directly from power producers, increase tax credits to wind, solar and other renewable energy production and modernize the transmission grid. I also think that to avoid further climate change, we need to rethink nuclear energy, but that is a whole other topic.

    I am prepared for the reaction to this post (too expensive, to much regulation, why should government be involved, it should be voluntary, etc.) but the reality is, government is always involved in energy policy and infrastructure (as it should for such a public neccessity). Without government support, tax credits, and infrastructure, it would have been impossible for oilmen such as Pickens to succeed. the same must be done now.

    Yes we can!

  5. Dave sometimes I love ya... Sometimes I kinda wanna kick you in the nuts.

    First off what the hell does "anathema" mean.

    Second I was hoping politics could at least rideout this post, no such luck. I think you are right though it is wierd the different reactions. I think it can come down to percieved levels of respect. Maybe it shouldn't but it does . I also think I gigantic factor is that T. Boone has a plan and the power/cash to actually do something. I know he can't do it alone... But he can get a lot of balls rolling.

    Who fricking cares if he is right wing/left wing/ no wing, shit... who cares if he makes 50 gazillion dollars on it. All of those points are not the focus. Someone will bring them up, no doubt, but this is a guy who has the power/cash to get a process started. He is from the camp that a lot of people want to blame for our energy crisis but he has (what I think is) a legitimate solution to foreign oil dependence. Not to mention it is financially and environmentally conscience. (I think)

    The attitude of starting a discussion about something like this with the political "Woe is Al Gore Speech".... That method of discussion is the main reason our bi-partisan system is flawed. We attack everything first and foremost with a political slant.

    No shit on this post I personally am done with political discussions, not the site... just this post.

    I think the pickensplan is the best win/win situation I have ever seen.

    I think Al Gore did the Environmental propoganda wonderfully and made a neat film but never put a plan into action. That's why Pickens is getting more props... He is already building 2 of the wind farms to get this rolling.

  6. Sorry I mentioned politics, but without digressing too much on politics, I think your reference to Al Gore contribution as making "a neat film" illustrates the disrespect our former Vice President receives for his dedication to this very issue. But I will leave it at that, as I respect your desire to not turn this into a political discussion.

    What I would like to know Cody, is what do you think about government involvement to assist in our nations efforts to break our addiction to foreign oil/reduce Carbon emissions? I think what I listed for government(and I am sure they could do much more) to do is a "plan of action" that would result in things getting done on a mass scale. I applaud Picken's "plan of action" to build two wind farms, but government's involvement could allow a thousand seeds of renewable energy bloom.

  7. I believe Al Gore's hope was to draw attention and make people aware of an environmental problem. He did that. He did nothing to get a literally process started to change anything. He presented no actual step by step plan to make change. Not knocking him, never was but Pickens has a plan, and is actively, right now taking steps to implement it, doesn't make him better, means he went further with it.

    The country is still not ready to do things "Just for the sake of the Environment", not as whole. That's why Al Gore got so much criticism, you wrongly lump me in that groups you lump me in. I don't disrespect Al Gore or his initiative. I do think it was propaganda (no inherent negative sound to the word propaganda... )and all he did was make a neat little film. He hasn't done anything more than create awareness. Which is necessary to accomplish things, but not a actually solution.

    You drug me back into that against my will and if I didn't respect your opinion so much i would have ignored you bringing it up again.

    I think the government should get involved full blown on reducing our dependence on foreign oil first and then our dependence on fossil fuels in general. I think renewable energy sources are the long term answer and we have to get started now.

    I don't feel like the government has gotten involved and at this exact moment i really don't care about the politics of ("Bush is an oil mongering right wing in bed with Saudia's love war and hates peace") it, at all.

    There is a plan an actually plan in place and running, no shit actually happening, that has the power to start this. I think the fact it is being started with private money and not tax dollars is great. I think a for profit corp can get things rolling faster than a Gov. project. Will the government need to get involved absolutely!!! Of course they should have got involved years ago... but dwelling on that and pointing fingers and felling sorry for the noble peace prize winner is so freaking counter productive it's incredible. What does it have to do with any of this. Why hasn't Gore thrown his weight behind T. Boone publicly, do we get into that???? WHO CARES! We (the people who read this blog) should research this plan and either jump behind it or decide not to jump behind it and find another plan.
    But the reason we decide its wrong should have zero to do with who T. Boone Pickens freaking voted for or whether or not he thought John Kerry was or wasn't a war hero or whether or not he is stroking Al Gore's ego in the deal.

    I am behind the plan until someone comes up with a reason to not be and I would love to discuss the pro's and con's of it here.

  8. The Texas Government has gotten involved, I am happy.


  9. Fair enough...I actually went to the Pickens plan website and read the "Pickens Plan" and I am suprised by its lack of detail, or even any concrete plan. All it does is explain the problem, state that the problem can be eased with a trillion dollar investment in wind farms in the midwest, and concludes that to implement his plan requires leadership from the new President. Am I missing something? How is that any different then the aspirational goals set out by Al Gore and others.

  10. Now we are talking.

    I agree some details are most definitely missing and thats what I want to talk about.

    Did you go here?

    More detail there but not all of it. Still lot's of questions.

    The difference is Pickens is putting up the wind farms... he is actually turning wrenches (paying people to) to make progress.

    Noone else on either side of the damn aisle has gotten wrenches turning. To this extent.

    The wind farm in Pampa Texas... 200,000 acres>>> is happening.

  11. While not all of us can turn a wrench and build a wind farm, one thing we can all do is go to this website and take action (well I can't, because I live in DC and don't really have a say in Congress) to extend the tax credit for wind energy. Hopefully, a tax credit will encourage others to turn the wrenches.

    Full disclosure, one of my best friends in the world works at AWEA (American Wind Energy Association), which promotes wind energy.

  12. Full disclosure: I thought I was your only best friend in the world and I now have some serious thinking to do about our relationship status.

    Headed to the website now.

  13. Perhaps the only problem is that it does not go far enough. It is a good start but only one piece. If we are truly serious about our energy security needs, and I think we are not, then the other parts should be implemented simultaneously. Large scale solar farms in the southwest and completely new sources such as hydrogen should also be put on the fast track so that together we could realistically reduce our reduce our consumption of fossil fuels.

    Not to belabor the issue of government involvement, but there is a role in the implementation. Otherwise we will have more situations like we had in Kansas in the Flint Hills region when residents opposed wind farms because they perceived that the turbines would harm the scenic views of the area.

  14. k,

    Thanks so much for joining the conversation.

    Valid points I guess but they don't affect anything. I think the thing we need to do right now... Is do something, do anything just DO!! Stop talking and Do.

    Stop arguing and DO!

    Stop over-analyzing and over-reresearching and DO.

    Stop pointing out a fault in a plan that is not a fault at all.

    The emphasis of your comment was we need to more.

    If there were a thousand people with your same thought process and we got all of them to change their thought process to "Hell yeah, let's back the Pickens Plan and the very instant the Pickens Plan doesn't need our help anymore, we will find the next thing that needs to be done" , you would have a thousand people actually making progress instead of a thousand people sitting back saying "Wow this is great and it would work but it's not enough"

    Every single person who has posted here has agreed the Government needs to step up and get involved.

  15. Dave,

    Great link. I used the provided form letters to contact my reps.

    Just adding in additional information - Pickens did a $50 million media buy and that's the reason he's had so much coverage.

    I'm such a fan of hydrogen cars going mainstream in the US and Pickens Plan to replace natural gas from the power grid to free it up for hydrogen cars is such a smart thing to do. It doesn't displace anything but oil.

    I like the numbers too - we can decrease our oil consumption by 38% (though I think that might be an optimistic number but it would be a good chunk of oil anyway you look at it) and keep $300 billion more a year in the U.S. economy.

    I noticed he kept a low profile on Shell's solar farm being build in the same corridor until you listen to the extended part of the plan but it's an important long-term component adding to the energy transmission lines Texas is going to build.

    Full disclosure: We live in Sugar Land, Texas, a suburb of Houston and our economy here has long run on oil. It's not just a national issue for Texans and especially for Houstonians, it's the economic lifeblood here.

    Consequently though, we're more aware of what the energy industry is doing and recently Houston has begun to be called the Green Energy Capital largely due to infrastructure industry for turbine energy setting up shop here.

    Pickens just happens to be the current public face of the changing energy market.

  16. k,

    Unless you watched the extended version of Pickens Plan you probably wouldn't know that his plan is to displace natural gas from it's 20% level for home electricity needs and instead have the infrastructure already in place for it be diverted to power cars. I'm sure you know this but for anyone who doesn't, hydrogen cars run on natural gas.

    High speed natural gas pipelines are already part of our national infrastructure. Here in Houston they run almost everywhere underneath us and have for decades. So natural gas already has great distribution set up and in place. No need to even change that. Just divert it from the power grid to our hydrogen car gas tanks.

    I have questions for everyone.

    1. Will Pickens Plan, if put in place impact electricity deregulation past Texas (which is already deregulated)?

    2. Will the federal government put into place legislation requiring each state's electrical grid to transition to a certain percentage of "clean" energy on a timetable for the future?

    3. Will "green" CTL (coal-to-liquid) diesel find it's place in the U.S.? I ask this on this thread in relation to hydrogen use for semi's. I don't know any research on the pulling power for hydrogen engines. Bio-Willie is great and I love Willie for doing it but I haven't seen any studies on emissions for Bio-Willie.

  17. this is all good blog, but i'm with cody's "just do something."
    have dorothy with 20/20 call t-boone and tell him we are making the blades here and let's get a farm built!

  18. For those you still interested in this debate, who may have missed it, Al Gore was on "Meet the Press" yesterday and had nice things to say about the "Pickens plan." Basically, he supported the "Pickens plan" related to wind, but disagreed a bit regarding shifting to natural gas for transportation, viewing natural gas as a temporary solution with the ulimate goal being truly renewable electric transportation.

    here is the relevant transcript.

  19. Dave,

    Is Al Gore in favor of quickly increasing power grid infrastructure for the added load of electric cars? Or is he speaking of a separate infrastructure of "plug-in stations" similiar to the gas stations we have now with their own power generation to deal with the increase in power being drawn for electrical cars?

    Do you think that brown-outs would be an issue if we overtax the electric grid?

    Do you think that Al Gore would support hydrogen cars long term if they used a power source other than natural gas? Or is he wedded to plug-in electric motors instead of the electrical motors in hydrogen cars?

    What I'm asking, in waaayyy too many words is, does Al Gore have components of his long-term plan that aren't hooked into the power grid?

  20. I am in a hearing this week, so don't have much time to reply. I honestly don't know Gore's position on hydrogen vehicles, but know that he is for improving the grid and infrastructure. You may find some answers here, but it is kind of vague:

    To be honest, much of it seems linked to the grid and renewables, as well as increasing efficiency and conservation.

  21. Overall I like the Pickens Plan, although I have some serious reservations about parts of it. However, I applaud the fact that SOMEONE has come up with a real plan and is making an effort to put it into place. I love the idea of wind energy although I think all those turbines are not enhancing the landscape. Of course, neither are cell phone towers, and I want to use my phone, too. I think, ultimately, there is no perfect solution. I'd be much more excited about the Pickens Plan if it didn't include the idea of drilling in pristine areas. I'm a person who likes to be places where nature exists without man's obvious influence and they're getting harder to find. But, I watched his testimony on C-Span today and it was clear that he is "for anything American." I wouldn't go quite that far, but I think he's being very black and white in his approach so it's clear and easy to understand. As with everything, it's complex and multi-faceted.

  22. Dave,

    Thanks for the link. The only real mention I found on the "we" website was that upgrades to our electrical grid would also provide for most of our transportation needs.

    The "we" site is more optimistic than Pickens. They suggest that wind could provide at least 1/3 of our total energy needs. Pickens says 20% and I don't believe he's including the added components of on-the-grid transportation in any accelerated way. I honestly don't know if Gore's numbers reflect current level of use or increased level of use.

    The "we" site also lists coal and natural gas as viable energy sources with the qualification of capturing carbons.

    After a cursory look, it seems to me that the major difference between Pickens Plan and Gore's Goals on the issues of wind and natural gas center around whether or not the majority of transportation needs should be met off-grid or on-grid.

    On a personal level, it's worrisome to me to put all of our eggs in one basket. I don't mean to say from one energy source but rather from one energy transmission system. I get the whole spread it around so none is wasted point that Al is making. But I question the wisdom is leaving the vast majority of transportation dependent on a single centralized power grid.

    Since I'm sitting here in Texas today watching while Hurricane Dolly makes it's way onto the (much further south than we are) coast of Texas, I'll bring up the grid's vulnerability due to weather conditions. It's not uncommon for a bad storm of any variety, to wipe out electrical service for a week.

    With fuel-driven electrical cars (hydrogen cars), you have a cushion of time before you lose operation of your car. You also have the ability to truck in additional fuel (if the electric pumps at the gas station aren't working) to refuel emergency and maybe personal transportation.

    I want to be fair here Dave. It's entirely possible Gore has componenets of his goals which cover this. I just may not have read them.

    But I do hesitate to endorse any plan which puts all of our eggs into one co-dependent basket such as a single power grid.

  23. I know Cody says no politics - but if either plan is going to really move forward the federal production tax credit has to be renewed for more than a year or two at a time. It is set to expire at the end of this year. History shows that construction of wind farms explodes when the tax credit is in place and faces a sharp decline when it is allowed to expire.

    Our own Kansas congressional delegation says they support extending it, but appear to be using it as some sort leverage and have consistently voted this year not to extend it.

    Additionally we need a national renewable portfolio standard. Meaning, a certain portion of all energy production must include a percentage of renewable energy.

    A NRPS would be great for Kansas. Because of our wind quality (3rd best in the nation) we would be able to export our wind to states who need wind to meet their share of the NRPS. The wind doesn't blow much in the states in the south east.

    I've been following the Pickens Plan and so far it makes a lot of sense to me. He is in fact planning a town-hall meeting in Topeka on July 30th and I think we should road trip from Hutch!

    I'd love to spend some time telling him about Reno County's efforts to get a wind farm. We have been wishing for an angel investor who would be willing to build a wind farm in Reno County using the Minnesota Flip model. They would invest 90% of the capital and keep all of the tax credits, assume the risk, and keep all the profits for the first 10 years; Local investors would put up 10% and when the tax credits expire, ownership would flip. This has been used very successfully in Minnesota.

    Maybe T-Boone wants his next farm in Kansas!

    As far as Sunflower Wind goes - the company making blades, they could be one of Reno County's greatest assets - and trust me when I say we have many for wind. It will take them a while to get up and running, but when they do - look out. You can bet I'll mention that to T-Boone if I get to meet him.

    Cody, how about organizing a road-trip to Topeka on July 30th? whatsuphutch has a loyal following and would be a great place to promote it.

  24. I'm just adding in a link for Kansas Wind Energy Projects:

  25. I'll try that again, it cut off the .htm at the end of the link. If it comes out the same this time, just add the .htm at the end of the address:


I love the discussion in the comments.. so... GO FOR IT!

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