PICKENS STILL PITCHING
Kicking off what he promises will be a new PR blitz, energy entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on September 22.
He sure can talk.
By now the Pickens Plan is plenty widely known. In spots all over the network and cable airwwaves, in personal appearances on everything but This Old House, and at a website attracting millions to see charts and YouTube videos, Pickens has explained how the U.S. is too dependent on foreign oil and how he believes it can break the dependency by filling the midwestern plains with wind installations to generate electricity and transitioning the natural gas now used in electricity genertion to fuel for a large portion of the U.S. transportation fleet. So why the new campaign?
The megabillionaire says his new splash is designed to push the presidential candidates on THEIR energy plans.
Pickens: "I can tell you that we're going to turn up the heat…I've had over six and a half million people come in on that Web site. And I've signed up 400,000 of them. ... We call them an army, (and) we will march together…And we'll force plans out of both of these candidates by the time we get to election day. That's the way this is going to unfold, that they're going to have to have a plan. If they didn't, I failed what I started out to do.”
That Pickens is reaching his audience comes as no surprise to those aware of the reach of the PR firms the oil man hired, Patton Boggs and Benjamin Ginsberg.
Energy mavens around the internet and around the world are debating the practicality of building enough wind to meet 20% of U.S. power generation needs (completely doable, as affirmed by a U.S. Department of Energy study published in May) and the practicality of building a transportation infrastructure around compressed natural gas (CNG) (not so much).
Skeptics are wondering what is driving T.Boone. Is his motive political? Is he trying to expose a flaw in one of the candidate’s energy plan?
Pickens has met with both candidates, contributed to the Republican 2004 cause and went to the 2008 Democratic National Convention to push his energy plan.
Pickens: "Either one of them are fine with me…But they've got to have an energy plan for America.”
In fact, for all its potential impracticalities, there is political genius in the Pickens Plan because it brings together the interests of the oil-and-gas industry and the wind industry instead of putting them in opposition.
Pickens did say he’s troubled by Republicans convinced they can "drill their way out" of the current energy circumstances.
Many say Pickens is in it for personal gain. He is building the biggest wind installation in the world in Texas and owns a lot of natural gas. Pickens answer is that he is 80-years-old, has enough money and wants to do something for his country.
"What do I want? I want both of these candidates, and we are going to press it up, you are going to see a new series of ads…I am going to press it up to them that we want a plan, an energy plan to reduce, at least reduce, our foreign oil by 30 percent in 10 years."
Footnote: At the Press Club, Pickens told a great story about the mythical complaints against wind frequently mentioned by knowledgeless controversialists. A journalist, he said, went looking for somebody in a Texas region booming with wind installations who would complain. He spotted a guy on a street corner. “You know anybody who complains about the turbines?”
“You know why they complain?”
“Cause they ain’t got any turbines.”
Finally: Governor Brad Henry of oil-rich Oklahoma endorsed the Pickens Plan as a kick-off to the new campaign. Oklahoma is building wind as fast as it can get turbines.
T. Boone explains the "Plan." From pickensplan via YouTube.
Henry endorses Pickens Plan
September 22, 2008 (AP via Houston Chronicle)
Pickens will push hopefuls on energy
Chris Casteel, September 23, 2008 (The Oklahoman)
Oil Man T. Boone Pickens Pressures Presidential Candidates on Energy
Cindy Saine, 23 September 2008 (Voice of America)
T. Boone Pickens, energy entrepreneur and wind energy activist; Brad Henry, Governor, Oklahoma;
The Pickens Plan condemns the U.S. dependency on foreign oil imports and proposes to change it by building wind installations across the Midwest for power generation and converting a part of the U.S. transportation fleet to compressed natural gas (CNG).
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- September 22: Oklahoma’s Governor Henry signed the “Pickens Pledge.”
- Yearly: $700 billion is transferred from the U.S. to oil-producing nations.
- By 2030: Pickens’ plan would substitute the 20% of U.S. electricity will be generating for the natural gas used to generate that electricity now and use the natural gas to run a significant portion of the U.S. transportation fleet.
- Pickens’ recent appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., generated yet more publicity for his “Plan.”
- Governor Henry’s endorsement should help Pickens win converts in Oklahoma.
- The richest source of U.S. onshore wind power is in the Midwestern corridor from the Texas panhandle to the Canadian border.
- Pickens, like many others (including both major presidential candidates) believes it is unsustainable for the U.S. to go on spending $700 billion a year for foreign oil.
- Pickens believes the $60 billion new national transmission system investment necessary to obtain the fullest production from new wind installations can come from entrepreneurial investment if the government will set a long-term policy supportive to wind development.
- Govenor Henry says the Pickens Plan is necessary to protect national security and provide for the U.S. economic future. Between Oklahoma’s natural gas supplies and wind assets, the plan also provides pretty well for Governor Henry’s state’s economic future.
- Pickens intends to mobilize an army of 400,000 believers he has signed up at his website in pursuit of a commitment on national energy policy from the two major presidential candidates. He obviously is seeking an endorsement but even if he doesn’t get it, he draws more attention to his plan by elevating himself into the national debate.
- Carl Pope of the Sierra Club has been quoted as taking an interest in Pickens’ idea to run the trucking sector, which cannot run on battery power, on compressed natural gas.
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T. Boone Pickens, petroleum geologist/energy entrepreneur/visionary: "You go 10 years, you are going to be importing 75 percent of your oil…And I promise you the price will be $200 to $300 a barrel, I promise you that. And I keep my promises. I know what I am talking about. And you are going to be spending $2 trillion a year."