Pickens Plan Redux – dnd

I’m a big fan of the objective of the Pickens Plan: becoming energy self sufficient.


I’d like to take it one step further and help the rest of the industrialized world become energy self sufficient.  Wind farms are a fantastic approach in solving this problem.  My only beef with the plan is the reliance on natural gas.  My two main concerns are environmental and economic.

The main environmental concern is that natural gas is not carbon neutral.  True, it burns “cleaner” than other hydrocarbon fuels, but the product of combustion is still CO2.  Bio-fuels also produce CO2, but they also absorb it, to some degree, when the bio-mass grows.  Possibly more environmentally damaging is the practice of using hydraulic fracturing to extract more from gas wells.  The chemicals used in this process contaminate groundwater with known carcinogens.  If contaminating your well isn’t bad enough, many of the big reserves are in pristine wilderness areas.  To explore requires roads, power lines, pipelines or liquid natural gas (LNG) compressors and storage tanks.

The main economic concern is about the cost.  Sure it’s cheap compared to gas now, but if we start using LNG for trucks, trains and planes, the demand will surely drive up the price.  Which means it will drive up the price for those who use it for heating, cooking, etc.  The cost to build LNG stations and engine retooling will also impact the cost of going to LNG.  If this is to be a “bridge to the future” the technology will have to be in place for many decades in order to amortize the costs involved.

Does this preclude other ideas, such as going back to rail, a much more efficient and cost effective method to transport freight?  I don’t think so, but these ideas, or the proposal for new ideas we’ve not thought of yet, need to be in the plan.

T. Boone Pickens didn’t get to be a billionaire by dumb luck.  He’s a smart guy.  He’s doing this as a patriotic gesture.  He’ll probably go to that big oil field in the sky before he sees his plan bear fruit.  We haven’t seen this kind of leadership on energy independence since Jimmy Carter.  The plan isn’t perfect, but I’m with him 100%.  Except for the natural gas part.



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52 responses to “Pickens Plan Redux – dnd

  1. chefsheila

    THANKS dnd,

    I need education!! this was enlightening and builds one chink further in my links to enlightenment. 😉

  2. horsedooty

    I was in Amarillo two weekends ago and on the way up (we were driving in the dark but you could see from the road the lights of each wind turbine) and around Amarillo there were lots of wind turbine farms. We crossed over into New Mexico where it is just a windy and suddenly the lack of wind turbine farms was remarkable. The llanos estacados is still one magical place.

  3. dog's eye view

    kind of entertaining visual of Pickens. Looks like he has horns or rabbit ears, take your pick. Or, on the left, a sippy cup straw, like for orange juice, on a rather unappealing container.


    Got to give Pickens credit for taking the long-range view. Had not realized the environmental impacts — and the groundwater contamination is a bridge to the future too far for me — BUT that just says existing technology has not caught up with the vision yet.

    At least Pickens is getting the idea out there, and it’s a credible idea — and some other visionaries can come up with the innovations to build on his idea and make it more practical, acceptable and with less downsides.

    Maybe helpful for him: the example of GM (?) building, buying up and destroying those electric cars — yes, that generation of product development was not economically feasible, but R&D and others innovating off the idea would have occurred, had GM not blockaded that avenue.

    (Wasn’t there also a fleet of before their time aircraft prototypes, that are marooned on desert parking strips, or have also been destroyed?)

    We are getting a long and sad lesson in the greater perils short-term thinking.

    Pickens may benefit by the (is it accidental?) timing of his product introduction.

  4. horsedooty

    We here in Ft Worth are sitting on a bunch of natural gas reserves. The problem right now is the price of gas and oil is not sufficient to make it profitable to drill for it. It is a kind of a double edge sword, I enjoy fuel prices like we have not had in several years but the monetary interest my family has in gas royalties is now zero because the price at the well head is too low. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  5. chefsheila

    Hey Doots!

    When I was driving over the pass into Palm Springs, I saw a huge wind farm from the top of the Mountain Pass walls, decending on mountain shelves, all the way through the pass. its a very majestic sight.

    From everywhere in the desert valley, you can look back and see the wind farm spilling out onto the mouth of the valley.

    Its great to see all that communities are all ready intune to the future.

  6. dog's eye view

    Bringing these comments forward from last thread.

    Maybe someone can find — and share — the Tanta of green energy/industry R&D.

    from earlier:

    Saw this yesterday in NYTimes: Obit for a 47 year old commenter turned blogger; Times called her a “prescient” voice on the mortgage crisis.


    Checked out the obit because 47 is just too young to go (ovarian cancer). I had not heard of her before, but we need more people like her, not less.
    Reading about the Tantas of the world gives me hope for internet-based journalism and idea-minded blogs. (Tanta was a mortgage professional who blogged, not a journalist per se.)

    So much of the major media has been co-opted, timid for corporate reasons, or just won’t commit the resources or time to a long-unfolding story. They fear not having an audience for it; too many papers are retooling to attract non-readers. Who wants to read an article that can fit on a cereal box panel? (Well, lots of folks, I guess. It’s USA Today’s stock in trade, and I hear they do it well although I prefer the longer stuff with more background.)

    And maybe blogs ARE a better place for work like Tanta’s — not deadline-driven, but a forum to disseminate her very accurate observations and she probably finetuned some of her thinking based on give and take and intelligent comments she received.

    Thank you for the Tantas, who are immersed in a profession and thus can speak of its actual state and flaws, and can blog (anonymously or otherwise) to share their observations.

    I did not read her work during her life, but it’s so good to hear there was a Tanta out there.

    Wonder if Bear followed her blog. I suspect so.

    RIP Tanta. Very sorry she won’t get to see how this subprime crisis/bubble economy/global shock plays out. (Reminds me of Tim Russert: first thought: oh, he won’t get to see who wins in 2008. As if the loss of one’s life and contact with loved ones is not enough. But you know they’d love to follow the story, terrestrially.)


    Here’s a Tanta column. What a great lead in for a finance-related post! Lively writing style, and you would have learned a lot from her and enjoyed doing so…

    (The fact that a dog, even a mythical one, is mentioned is icing on the cake…)

  7. chefsheila

    very interesting person Dog. She is certainly immortal now.

  8. chefsheila

    A little levity for the day. 😆

    Note To Chris Matthews: Give PA Dems A Chance To Win…Don’t Run



    Please tell me you’re kidding. I know you’re a Philly guy, but that doesn’t mean you need to run for public office to prove it. Eat a cheesesteak. Root for the Eagles. March with the Mummers. But run for the Senate? Puh-lezze. Philly loves the Phillies’s Chase Utely but it’s not like voters want him hitting legislation out of the box and that’s not counting how many Democratic Pirates fans would be lining up to join the Specter team.

  9. chefsheila

    Later guys. Time to get ready for the day’s Doughnuts!

  10. horsedooty

    Isn’t Condie Rice suppose to be in India or Pakistan helping solve the terrorist problem? Instead, she is playing piano for the Queen of England?


  11. BevnTempe

    It amazes me that Arizona, land of plenty of sunshine, hasn’t been a leader in solar power development. It’s coming now, but of course it has a high price tag, and we all know how people are willing to spend their money these days.

    Since the sun is going to continue to shine here, perhaps the price of solar will adjust to a price that more people can afford it.

  12. I read she was headed for India too doots

  13. dog's eye view

    found accidentally, but on topic: Glendale, CA to get a CNG station (compressed natural gas) near a train station (two-fer there!); apparently finding a station with CNG is an issue to converted car owners.


    “Tooling around Glendale in your natural-gas-powered vehicle will be a bit easier next summer.

    Clean Energy Fuels Corp. said today it plans to open a compressed natural gas station at the Glendale train station off San Fernando Road by summer 2009. The station will be open to the public and also service the city of Glendale’s CNG-powered Beeline buses and its growing fleet of CNG-fueled trash trucks.

    Seal Beach-based Clean Energy, co-founded by Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, is a major local operator of CNG stations open to the public, with about 20 in the Los Angeles area and north Orange County. …

    ….there are several thousand CNG-powered cars in the L.A. area, many of them taxicabs. A lot of those are conversions. The only regular-production CNG-powered car available from a major manufacturer these days is the Honda Civic GX. …”

  14. horsedooty

    hi Bevn Tempe,

    I read somewhere many years ago that one of the universities in AZ had installed huge solar collectors in the desert. One of the interesting things that occurred was that there was some moisture dropping off the collectors and with the shade the collectors made, the ground below became fairly fertile in a very short amount of time. The researchers started several truck farms growing veggies. Weird, huh?

  15. dnd

    There’s some resentment about “celebrity” candidates. Some dems don’t like Frankin, not because he’s not smart, passionate and current on the issues. The fear is that it will prompt the Brad Pitts and Sean Pens of the world to run. Same thing with Tweety. I think it’s a baseless fear.

    BTW, wouldn’t Tweety have to live in PA to run for senate there?

  16. If only doots, the world would be a much safer place.

  17. dnd

    The sun shines here in Colorado too. A lot. I’m stumped as to why the Arizona desert isn’t full of solar farms. And the promise of synthetic dye photovoltaics should lower the cost and generate power even in cloudy situations.

    I was doing a little wine tasting at the Fitzpatrick Winery in Fair Play CA a while back. I noticed that they had some huge solar panels in the vineyards. When I asked about it, one of the owners told me that not only do they meet their power needs, they wind up putting power on the grid, so their electricity bill is effectively zero.


  18. chefsheila


    Since tweety is from Pa, it would not be hard to change his home of record back to Pa. a large percentage of people have duel residences. Right now I do too. I have property in Michigan and live in Washington. So I voted in Michigan.

    Bush Sr hadn’t lived in Houston in like, 20 years, but he maintained a “Residence” at the Houstonian Hotel. He would visit Houston at regular intervals to maintain his residency.

    I bet Mr Matthews already had a residence of some kind in PA.

  19. chefsheila

    Bev, so good to see you!.

    I’m going to have to take a look see to find that interesting visual. Amazing.

  20. chefsheila

    Here is a picture of the Gorgonio Pass looking from Palm Springs into the pass. One the otherside is LA County


  21. dnd

    One of the things I noticed at the NREL wind farm north of Golden is that the turbines turn in the slightest breeze. Amazing.

  22. dog's eye view

    Belle the elephant enjoys her new playground at a Columbia, South Carolina zoo. “Enrichment” activities for zoo animals.


  23. horsedooty

    Chef Sheila said, “Bush Sr hadn’t lived in Houston in like, 20 years, but he maintained a “Residence” at the Houstonian Hotel. He would visit Houston at regular intervals to maintain his residency.”

    Jim Hightower once arraigned for the Texas Democratic Party to rent and to hold a fundraiser in the Bush 41’s apt in that hotel. He also arraigned for the dems to serve bologna sandwiches and the theme was “Baloney, he is from Texas”. Very clever guy that Hightower fellow.

  24. dnd

    First term Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) won’t run for reelection in 2010, citing he “wants to spend more time with his family.”

  25. real shame on that one dnd, that moves us one step closer to ending that absurd embargo against Cuba!

  26. dnd

    I think Martinez’s problem is his association with Bush (Sec of HUD, head or the RNC), and he, like so many others, got screwed over by Bush. Too bad.

    But I’m with you Brian. The best way to get rid of communism in Cuba is end the embargo and flood them with capitalists.

  27. dnd

    Bush told Charlie Gibson that the thing he was most unprepared for was war. THEN WHY DID HE START AN UNNECESSARY ONE WITH IRAQ!!!

  28. Not to mention in times like these we could use a new export market!

  29. dnd

    We sell them our junk and get cigars and rum in return. Sounds like a great deal to me 😉

  30. And think what a source they would make for the classic car freaks!

  31. chefsheila

    Mel Martinez also put his foot in his mouth by saying Obama was anti-American and more needed to be “Looked Into about his background. Implied that Obama was communist too.

    I wonder if that helped his decision. Afterall, Palin has more like minded people where she comes from. Martinez just discovered that there are more young people who are voting in Florida

  32. dnd

    Hightower is a hoot.

  33. chefsheila

    ,,,,wait a minute……2010 is two years away from 2012 and a Presidential run.

  34. chefsheila

    Maybe that Governors meeting in Florida with Palin pushed him.

  35. Well trail mush has turned into anti-semite land, definitely time to take a break from that swamp.

    Jamie I ordered a pizza!

  36. chefsheila

    Good For You Brian!

  37. Extra crispy, sausage, broccoli (cause they way you can say it’s healthy, onions, and olives!

  38. BTW sheila have you tried using any of the gmail themes? Cherry blossom is VERY pink!

  39. dnd

    To combat the anti-Semites and keeping with our Texas theme, former gubernatorial candidate, mystery writer and dog rescuer, the Kinkster on they ain’t making’ Jews like Jesus anymore:

  40. dnd

    Substitute anchovies for sausage on your pizza. Anchovies are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and have very, very low concentrations of mercury. Putting dried chilies and fresh chopped garlic on the pizza is also very healthful, especially if you wash it down with a glass of red wine ( for the anti-oxident benefits from the resveritols)

  41. god bless those anti-oxidents!

  42. dnd

    Ben Franklin said: ” Wine is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Turns out healthy too 😉

  43. chefsheila

    Nap over, I’ll take some Pizza 🙂

  44. I plan on living on that pizza for at least two days, back off!

  45. Chambliss Wins Georgia Senate Runoff

    Saxby Chambliss, an incumbent Republican senator, was
    re-elected by Georgia voters on Tuesday in a substantial
    victory, ending Democratic hopes for a 60-vote majority in
    the Senate that would make it difficult for Republicans to
    filibuster the Obama administration’s legislative agenda.

  46. Nannymm

    I really wanted to see Chambliss defeated. The guy is a low life.

  47. chefsheila

    Well, now the schmooz begins to bring Republicans into the light. 😉

  48. repug scum bag if there ever was one

  49. chefsheila


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