Wednesday, August 6, 2008

GREEN and Ripe for the (Boone T.) Pickens!

Oddly enough, Boone T. Pickens isn't proposing anything that actually, directly, replaces our Oil consumption or imported oil dependency. However he has constructed a super marketing campaign which, acts as if this is what he will ultimately accomplish.

Keeping in mind during his (full-length) presentation he says we will not discuss Nuclear, since it will "take to long, and is ten+ years off." He mentions that the ten year math of 700 Billion spent on imported Oil, adding up to 7 trillion, is what he is trying to save us from. So his plan is suppose to impact us sooner than nuclear.

With a little odd, slight of hand, he illustrates that what he is doing, may ultimately have an, indirect; although he acts as if it is direct, impact on our dependency on foreign oil. As long as we first use his, and other, wind farms to replace the 25% of electricity that Natural Gas currently (and I might add domestically,) produces.

I'm afraid this is shamefully all about establishing federal government support or mandates that allow for aggressive Right Of Way and Immanent Domain support necessary to establish the Transmission lines required to cross state lines from the "Wind Corridor" in the Central U.S. towards the east and the west sides of the country. It is about private enterprise activating the citizens to fight thier fights for them. Smart business from a smart business man... What else would we expect?

Unfortunately, a few other significant things must take place, in less than 10 years!
50% of America must starts driving Natural Gas Vehicles; and the government or Private Enterprise, must invest (as mentioned in his "Ask Boone" video,) 10 billion to retrofit 25,000 gas stations to server up Natural Gas. Talk about an indirect affect! And why does he think this will happen in less than 10 years? What is the REAL story here? His own math isn't working!

"Our dependence on imported oil is killing our economy," Pickens said in a statement. "It is the single biggest problem facing America today."

The goal of the "Pickens Plan," announced Tuesday (7/8/08), is to replace more than a third of the oil the United States imports with wind, natural gas and other green energy sources, in the process, saving the country more than $230 billion annually. Currently, the U.S. spends $700 billion a year on foreign oil.

Pickens Explains his plan in this video:

Another (wordier) break down of my own initial observations and summary of his presented plan; along with some of the problems I see:

  1. He is proposing to stop using Natural Gas for electric production altogether. This is odd; primarily, because he currently earns a great deal of money from that market.
  2. However, he is proposing to shift our Natural Gas resources from their current primary use in this country, of electricity production, to the transportation market.
  3. While I think it is great that their are over 8 million vehicles world-wide that utilize Natural Gas. Haven't these typically been reserved for fleet proposes; with municipalities and delivery/parcel services? Groups that can centrally refuel via their own tanks. And isn't infrastructure always the 800lbs gorilla in the room preventing quick (10 year+/-) adoption.
  4. I understand each new vehicle sold in this country apparently has a life of over 14 years. Therefore, expecting a very expedient move from our current gas vehicles to Natural Gas is no easier than moving them to electric in the first place.
  5. Which brings me to my final thought. If we are finding renewable ways to replace natural gas in the Electric market; then why wouldn't we also, simultaneously, be inclined to develop a higher dependency on electric vehicles? Which would in turn, potentially weaken the domestic Natural Gas market as it adjust to loosing its role as 25% of our electric production. Something just doesn't add up Mr. Pickens...
Pickens is hoping to rally support to get the next president to enact his plan. "The plan … is doable in five to 10 years if we can get Congress and the Administration to act quickly,"

Again, the only HUGE problem I see with this plan so far, is the fact that you can't substantially reduce our dependency on foreign oil by creating more electricity. Since Oil is not what we use to produce 90% of our electricity. Now if we all drove electric vehicles then okay... So his plan will ultimately have to discuss how to drastically accelerate this transition too a new type of vehicle. Should we really 1st drive N-Gas cars, then switch again to Electric or Hydrogen? Why?

Admittedly, his optimism is in keeping with this video below I keep actively circulating by Amory Lovins; explaining the study performed for the Pentagon by the Rocky Mountain Institute a few years ago called "The Oil End Game".

Analysts say if Pickens' renewable energy plan catches on, it would mean more business for his Seal Beach, Calif.-based Clean Energy Fuels, which sells natural gas to service stations and municipalities, and Westport Innovations, a Canadian company that makes heavy-duty trucks that use natural gas.

Pickens is spending $58 million of his own money to market his plan. He started airing ads on TV, radio and in print this week. He's also launched his campaign on social networks Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, YouTube and instant messaging service Twitter.

Here is one of his TV adds:

I say GOOD FOR HIM! (Not that he needs my endorsement!) I do worry however, there are many who are passionately on this "band wagon" or "grass roots movement" because they are simply attracted to the idea that a billionaire can now help speak for their hopes of less foreign dependency and alternative energies. I think they need to realize that they have about half of that hope right.

I personally can’t wait to see where this is headed since smart business men often pull of some incredible things. But I wouldn't over estimate why this PR is being leveraged the way it is. I've attended far to many Public Meetings in my own career for the purpose of informing others of "Displacements", and R.O.W. land purchases mandadted by iminent domain; to think of transmision line legislation as a very romantic topic.

In conclusion, let me just say that Mr. Pickens has set up one of the most impressive (Video Blogging) websites out there. He obviously has done his homework on the PR side of things; and has GREAT people working on this within his organization. To read more than the tid bits I have included below just visit his site.

Incidentally, his site is fast becoming one of the largest repositories of Green videos on the web
...thanks to his growing community of over 200,000 "Pickens Plan" site members.

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