Knocking the Wind Out of T. Boone Pickens

t boone pickens

If you want to look at the history of American energy, just consider T. Boone Pickens.

When Pickens founded Mesa Petroleum in the 1950s, he took $2500 and turned it into a three-billion-dollar oil empire. He’s Texas old school oil, currently running Dallas-based energy investment fund BP Capital. He is a close, personal friend of the Bush family, and he also funded that little Swift Boat incident that turned John Kerry into election road kill.

But then, a few years ago, something seemed to turn. Pickens is a business man above all else – and considering the state of the world’s oil, he planned accordingly. He launched the Pickens Plan, an extensive blueprint to promote oil alternatives.

According to Pickens, “At current oil prices, we will send $700 billion dollars out of the country this year alone – that’s four times the annual cost of the Iraq war.  Projected over the next 10 years the cost will be $10 trillion – it will be the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.”

Further, the plan is to replace natural gas resources with wind energy, which would then free up to 38% more natural gas resources to replace the current need for transportation – and therefore our dependence on oil. And Pickens went to great lengths to promote his plan, traveling all over the country to the tune of $60 million, promoting what he seemed to feel was the answer to all energy problems.

Or was the answer. Yesterday, Pickens beat a hasty retreat on Glenn Beck’s FOX television show. Faster than Sarah Palin can wink away her status as governor, Pickens called off his plans for the world’s largest wind farm.  The 687 turbines that were going to power the nation into clean energy are homeless, as Pickens claims he doesn’t even have a place to store them.

What happened?

As Pickens claims, “It doesn’t mean that wind is dead”¦It just means we got a little bit too quick off the blocks.”

Which means what, exactly? Pickens is vague. It seems that the energy executive ran into problems getting the turbine distribution system set up in the Texas panhandle. Okay, sounds feasible. We’re still with you, T. Boone.

But then Pickens kept talking. It seems that certain aspects of the new climate bill have made natural gas, not wind, the cheap energy du jour. Pickens owns an extensive natural gas monopoly. And the climate bill includes a lot of incentives to switch to natural gas. So it makes fiscal sense to jump on the natural gas bandwagon. Which would be great, if it were truly a green energy. But natural gas still contains 70% methane and seriously injures people when inhaled. Okay, so maybe it is clean by the “we’re not mired in the Middle East” definition, but it’s not clean by the “will it kill me?” litmus test.

Image: Fort Worth Real Estate Online

Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.