T. Boone Pickens, famed oilman and 4x billionaire, has just today unveiled his moonshot plan for energy independence. Via a massive public relations campaign that will blanket the airwaves and media with television, radio, print and internet spots, Pickens face will become very familiar in the coming weeks and months.
Pickens message is clear. By spending $700 billion dollars a year for foreign oil, we are taking part in the most massive transfer of wealth in the history of mankind. In a few years, it will be over a trillion dollars a year. It will bring our economy to its knees.
"This is not about Republicans vs. Democrats," Pickens says. "This is about saving our country from the ruination of spending $700 billion a year on oil imports. Ninety days after the oil hits our shores, it's all burned up, and we've got nothing to show for it. But they (foreign oil producers) still have our money. It's killing our economy."
What does Pickens propose to stem the tide? Stick with me for a moment because it gets a bit interesting. In Pickens view, two technologies hold the key to fueling our future: wind and natural gas.
Since nearly 70% of our oil use is devoted to the transportation sector, Pickens plan ultimately points to natural gas powered vehicles. But where will we get the natural gas? Here's where wind comes in. Since we currently use almost all of the natural gas we produce annually (most in gas fired power plants), Pickens plan proposes to supplant this with wind and divert the natural gas to fuel our vehicles. This (wind production) is the strong suit of the plan, since our current wind production is miniscule compared to the potential, particularly in the sweet spot of wind production throughout the middle of the US from Texas to North Dakota.
Where the plan will face some skepticism and opposition is Picken's plan for the crucial transportation sector. The use of natural gas as a primary substitution for gasoline, as opposed to cellulosic biofuels or batteries, will definitely have to stand up to close analysis. With the current investment in battery technology (most notably lithium based technologies), Picken's sole reliance on CNG to power vehicles seems a bit limiting for an otherwise worthy plan and very high profile advocacy.
Pickensplan.com launches today along with TV spots on major networks introducing the plan.