« Andrew Bostom on C-SPAN 2 |
Blog Home Page
| Feds Blame Schumer for Run on Indymac »
July 12, 2008
The PIckens Plan
By now everyone has seen the ads from T. Boone Pickens pushing his latest project at PickensPlan.com, which promotes wind power, and downplays oil. Here are a few excerpts from his website:
America is in a hole and it's getting deeper every day. We import 70% of our oil at a cost of $700 billion a year - four times the annual cost of the Iraq war.
There is something odd about this: here is a Texas oil man, complete with the Texas Twang, like a character out of the 1968 John Wayne movie Hellfighters, telling us we can't drill our way out of this one.
Thanks a lot T. Boone! Just as a majority of the public comes around to the realization that we need to start drilling everywhere ($4.00 a gallon can cause even the most radical liberal to become a pragmatist) and Newt Gingrich has over a million signatures for the "Drill Here Drill Now Pay Less" campaign, here comes T. Boone trying to throw a monkey wrench in the deal. I have a problem with people who say "we can't drill our way out of this".
How do you know we can't? We haven't tried, 80% of our offshore areas are off limits, ANWR is off limits, Shale oil is off limits. Of course if one energy source is restricted the other sources become more valuable don't they?
Has T. Boone suddenly become a tree hugger and renounced the evils of big oil? I don't think so, he's still a businessman where the bottom line rules. His plan sounds reasonable, he wants to ramp up wind power to replace the 22% of our electrical energy needs that are now supplied by natural gas. Then the natural gas can be used to power our cars and replace a large percentage of imported oil.
So far so good but there is a problem. Here is a key paragraph from his website:
Building wind facilities in the corridor that stretches from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota could produce 20% of the electricity for the United States at a cost of $1 trillion. It would take another $200 billion to build the capacity to transmit that energy to cities and towns.
The best location for the wind farms is the central part of the country but the power is needed in the big cities on the coasts. How do we get the power to the cities? Who is going to pay for those expensive power lines? This quote here makes me a little nervous: "But if we create a new renewable energy network, we can break our addiction to foreign oil." That word "we" has me checking to see if I still have my wallet. Does he expect us taxpayers to pay for this "renewable energy network"?
Why does he "need our help", why do we have to "fight for it"? If wind power is such a good idea then go ahead and build the wind farm, why have a big PR campaign? Could it be that he needs help from the government? Help with legislation to condemn the land for the right of way for the miles and miles of power lines to send the power from middle America to the big cities? And perhaps subsidies from the Federal Government for the $200 billion to build the power lines. Perhaps fast track legislation to circumvent environmental laws. The greenies better think twice before they jump on this bandwagon.
In reality we have to do more of everything, more drilling, more wind, more solar, more coal and nuclear. If you hear a politician leave out any one of those five sources of energy you know they are not serious about helping the American public with energy prices.
There are several problems with increasing wind power to the point where it would supply 22% of Americas electrical needs:
1. What do you do when the wind isn't blowing? You will still need the same number of conventional power plants that you have now to supply the grid when the wind isn't blowing. The only advantage with wind power is when the wind is blowing you can shut down one of your conventional power plants and save some fuel. I doubt you would save enough fuel to offset the cost of maintenance on those wind farms.
2. Conventional power plants are built close to the cities where the power is used, as we learn from his website the wind farms would be located thousands of miles from where the power is needed. Thousands of acres of land will have to be condemned to make right of way for power lines to bring the power to the cities. Would you like to have a big power line passing over your farm or your house transmitting electromagnetic waves into your brain? If T.Boone gets the Federal Government involved in this project you won't have any choice in the matter.
3. They break down a lot and mechanics willing to work way high in the air don't come cheap.
4. NIMBY (Just ask Ted Kennedy), When Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi agree to have one of those things installed close to their homes maybe wind power might be a little more believable.
As strange as it sounds, we need to follow France's lead (at least where power generation is concerned) and build more nuclear power plants. They can be built closer to where the power is needed and hooked into the existing power grid. They are as clean as wind power and as a bonus they don't kill birds. But I have no problem with T. Boone Pickens building the biggest wind farm in the world. America needs all the energy it can get. Just leave my tax money out of the deal.