Tuesday, July 8, 2008

PickensPlan.com: Oil Baron Offers A Moonshot Plan to Solve Our Energy Crisis

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.


Sasparilla said...

With natural gas production having already peaked (earlier than predicted) in the US and Canada (our main import supplier) and with natural gas pricing heading north and the amount we import growing every year - it probably needs to be dropped from this plan (just replacing one bad thing with another). But if he can at least get the candidates to address/commit to do something serious about the amount of oil we use, that would be all good.

Scott said...

Agreed. Natural gas seems a long shot in an otherwise worthy plan. Most of the pundits have honed in on the CNG issue as the weak point of this plan.

Sasparilla said...

I have to take that back some on the natural gas, after analyzing his plan - he sees it as a stopgap power source. His plan for using natural gas buys us time, until we can basically go electric (battery or Hydrogen or whatever). The need to use it is so that we can move on this immediately - he sees this as a 10 year thing and the only way to do that will be with natural gas since it is a drop in replacement on internal combustion engines. He also notes that we now can get natural gas from shale and we have huge reserves of natural gas in shale formations. I hope he can get the candidates to commit to solving this issue long term.