Boone Picken's Plan.
T. Boone Pickens is kicking off a national campaign to reduce our $700B foreign oil habit (now approaching 70% of our oil consumption) by selling large-scale wind power generation. How? The goal is to produce 20% of our electricity needs with wind farms in the Great Plains, displacing the natural gas that is currently used to produce this electricity. This gas can then be used for cars and trucks (real CNG and LNG vehicles - not glorified golf carts - exist; GM sells them in Europe). If 20% wind generation can be achieved, and the gas applied to vehicles, Pickens then estimates that 38% of our foreign oil imports can be eliminated.
Note that the wind-electricity infrastructure will need to be large-scale; 200,000 megawatts will need to be generated. This translates into almost as many industrial-grade wind turbines on large "farms" stretching from Texas to the Canadian border. It will not be achieved with an ensemble of hippie communes with a windmill and some car batteries. Picken's plan will also require easements on land for transmission lines to reach out from the US interior to link with the rest of the grid.
We guess that these two aspects of Picken's plan - large corporate development and operation of the wind farms, and large-scale land development for grid expansion - will make the neo-Luddites and the Extreme Green crowd apoplectic. As Picken's plan is debated, we will watch with interest whether the Sierra Club, NRDC, and the other usual suspects embrace it or attempt to kill it.