T Boone Speaks

by William Yeatman on September 22, 2008

Today, Texas oilman T Boone Pickens discussed his “Pickens Plan” for energy independence at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington D.C.

For those of you ill-acquainted with T Boone’s plan, here’s how it works: (1) T Boone  invested heavily in wind and natural gas; (2) Pickens wants the federal government to force consumers to buy electricity generated from his wind turbines, so that they use less of his natural gas; and (3) he wants the federal government to force consumers to use his natural gas “saved” (displaced) by his wind power to fill their gas tanks, so that America can become free from its “addiction” to foreign oil.

There are a number of reasons why the plan is a bad idea. For one, the rationale for T Boone’s plan–America’s “dependence” on Middle Eastern oil–is a canard. In fact, Pickens’ true motivation is to get very, very rich.

There are also technical difficulties with T Boone’s plan. The wind doesn’t always blow, and it is unclear whether wind power is sufficiently reliable to generate base-load electricity.

Pickens wants us all to drive cars powered by natural gas.  Yet CNG-powered cars are heavier, much more expensive and take 20 hours to refuel at home.  They're just not a serious alternative to the gasoline-powered car.

T Boone’s plan is a major liability for taxpayers. Wind magnates like Pickens depend on generous tax payer subsidies without which they could not compete with conventional sources of energy, like coal. In 2007, the federal government allocated $724 million in benefits to wind energy, which accounts for less than 1 % of electricity generated in the U. S. T Boone wants the government to mandate that wind account for 20 % of the nation’s power, and the taxpayer burden would increase accordingly.

The Pickens Plan is a lemon, which is why he is spending $50 million on a public relations campaign to convince America that it’s a good idea. It may sound great in his commercials, but the Pickens Plan is awful for American consumers and taxpayers.

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