Pickens Unveils Plan To Revitalize the US with Wind Power

Well-known oil tycoon turned wind developer, T. Boone Pickens, presented a plan at a press conference on Tuesday that he hopes will reduce America’s use of foreign oil.

Pickens announced that he is launching a US $58 million ad campaign to educate the American public about the PickensPlan, a blueprint on how the country can, in less than 10 years, reduce its dependence on oil by as much as one-third.

According to Pickens, the U.S. currently uses natural gas to produce 22% of the country’s electricity. In less than 10 years, he said that the country can harness enough wind power to generate that 22% of electricity and allow the country to shift natural gas away from electricity generation and put it to use as a transportation fuel. To view a video presentation of his plan, click here.

According to the PickensPlan website, natural gas is the cleanest transportation fuel available today and critical greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas are 23% lower than diesel and 30% lower than gasoline, according to the California Energy Commission. NGVAmerica says that there are more than 7 million NGVs in use worldwide, but only 150,000 of those are in the United States. Natural gas is significantly cheaper than diesel and gasoline, Pickens said that a gallon costs approximately US $1.50.

At the press conference, Pickens said that it would cost US $10 billion to install natural gas pumps at 25,000 gas stations across the country. He asks Americans to compare that number to the US $700 billion the country spends annually on importing foreign oil.

Replacing natural gas with wind power will also serve to revitalize rural America, Pickens said, and he pointed to Sweetwater, Texas as an example. He said a large wind farm that was built near the town offered economic opportunity that essentially brought the town back to life. The town’s population had gone from 12,000 to 10,000 due to lack of jobs but as a result of the wind farm, the population grew back up to 12,000.

In addition to creating new construction and maintenance jobs, new wind farms offer thousands of Americans jobs in manufacturing the turbines and blades, high-skill jobs, Pickens said, that pay on a scale comparable to aerospace jobs.

The goal of Picken’s ad campaign is to educate the American public about the country’s use of oil and bring the energy question to the forefront of the presidential debate.

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Jennifer Runyon
Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com Today, in addition to managing content on Renewable Energy World and POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference and expo for the transmission and distribution industry. In her role, she works in close cooperation with a large team of committed industry executives to shape the educational content for the event. She also helps assemble the renewable energy content for POWERGEN and helped launch the first Grid-Scale Storage Summit, a co-located event at HYDROVISION International. She has traveled to Germany to see onshore and offshore wind installations; Iceland to see geothermal energy in action; and France to see cutting-edge smart grids. In the U.S. she has visited and reported about bioenergy power plants in Florida, both large-scale and small-scale hydropower; and multiple wind farms, solar PV, and CSP installations. Formerly, she was the managing editor of Innovate Forum, an online publication that focused on innovation in manufacturing. Prior to that she was the managing editor at Desktop Engineering magazine. In 2008, she won an "Eddy Award" for her editing work on an article about solar trees in Vienna. In 2010, RenewableEnergyWorld.com was awarded an American Business Media Neal Award for its eNewsletters, which were created under her direction. She holds a Master's Degree in English Education from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Virginia.

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