Billionaire Texas oil man makes big bets on wind

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Legendary Texas oil man T. Boone Pickens has gone green with a plan to spend $10 billion to build the world's biggest wind farm. But he's not doing it out of generosity - he expects to turn a buck.

    The Southern octogenarian's plans are as big as the Texas prairie, where he lives on a ranch with his horses, and entail fundamentally reworking how Americans use energy.

    Next month, Pickens' company, Mesa Power, will begin buying land and ordering 2,700 wind turbines that will eventually generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity - the equivalent of building two commercial scale nuclear power plants - enough power for about 1 million homes.

    "These are substantial," said Pickens, speaking to students at Georgetown University on Thursday. "They're big."

    Pickens knows a thing or two about big. He heads the BP Capital hedge fund with over $4 billion under management, and earned about $1 billion in 2006 making big bets on commodity and equity markets.

    Though a long-time oil man, Pickens said he has embraced the call for cleaner energy sources that don't emit heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

    "I'm an environmentalist - I can pass the saliva test," he said.

    But Pickens is not out to save the planet. He intends to make money.

    Though Pickens admits that wind power won't be as lucrative as oil deals, he still expects the Texas project to turn at least a 25 percent return.

    "When I go into these markets, I expect to make money on them," Pickens said. "I don't expect to lose."

    America is facing a looming power crunch, with electricity demand expected to grow 15 percent in a decade. And while many states have rejected big coal-fired power projects on environmental concerns, they are offering a bounty of incentives to build renewable sources.

    U.S. crude futures at new records above $115 a barrel means a bright future for renewable sources like wind and solar.

    Pickens' wind farm is part of his wider vision for replacing natural gas with wind and solar for power generation, and using the natural gas instead to power vehicles.

    To picture Pickens' energy strategy, imagine a compass.

    Stretching from north to south from Saskatchewan to Texas would be thousands of wind turbines, which could take advantage of some of the best U.S. wind production conditions.

    On the east-west axis from Texas to California would be large arrays of solar generation, which could send electricity into growing Southern California cities like Los Angeles.

    The end result would be to free up more clean-burning natural gas - primarily a power-generation fuel now - to power automobiles.

    Major oil companies have embraced so-called natural gas liquids because they have spent billions of dollars building refineries and pipelines to turn crude oil into gasoline, Pickens said.

    But shifting natural gas used in power generation to transportation needs could cut U.S. crude oil imports by nearly 40 percent, he said.
  2. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    there's a "new idea", interesting...
  3. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    Well I guess it's good, but it probably won't lower my electric bill.

    Are there any electrical engineers out there?

    Has anyone seen Nikola tesla's patents? He came up with ways to tap the atmosphere and the earth for free electricity. I've seen some of the patents very cool stuff, but since I'm not an electrohead I can't made heads or tails from it.
  4. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    This was in the news today. The interesting thing is that he was a peak oil denier and claimed that the market would drive prices down. He has changed his tune on the market forces being able to change things. And apparently now accepts the inevitable decline of production, whether you want to call it peak oil or simply declining production it amounts to the same thing.

    T. Boone Pickens Says It's Headed to $125
    By Ian Cooper | Saturday, April 19th, 2008

    Think $115 oil prices, and $3.40 U.S. pump prices are hard on your wallet? Just wait until we reach T. Boone Pickens' projected rise to $125 a barrel.
    Quintupling in price since 2002, oil hit a new record of $115.54 on Thursday, and is likely headed higher, thanks to soaring emerging market demand.

    And, despite new production from Canadian oil sands and elsewhere, Pickens believes that global oil production is unlikely to rise above the current 85 million barrels a day, "while global demand will likely hit 87 million bpd in the third quarter of 2008."

    This is a 180 from earlier Pickens predictions for falling oil prices. He quickly changed his forecast after his hedge fund lost 20% of its value in the first quarter of 2008.

    The outlook is dreary... But there are solutions.

    One of the solutions is to dig for oil here in the United States. We've told you about Bakken.

    But for those of you that missed that discussion, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) published an official study on the Bakken reserve, finding:
    Up to 4.3 billion barrels of oil could be recovered from the Bakken shale formation — a 25-fold increase compared to its initial assessment in 1995.
    The Bakken is the largest "continuous" oil accumulation ever assessed by the USGS.

    This comes after a 2006 report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), which stated, "A study provides estimates ranging up to 503 billion barrels of potential resources in place."

    According to the EIA, the success of horizontal drilling and fracturing efforts in Montana is the reason a decision was made to re-evaluate the 1995 USGS Assessment of Resources, which put estimates of technically recoverable oil from the Bakken Formation at only 151 million barrels.

    The other solution, which Pickens supports, is wind energy.

    Reportedly, the billionaire will make his first down payment on 500 wind turbines at a cost of $2 million apiece. It's his first step towards his goal of building the world's biggest wind farm.

    And, over the next four years, he plans to build another 2,700 turbines over 200,000 acres of the Texas panhandle, which could supply 4,000 megawatts of electricity.

    That's enough to power a million homes.
    But don't think he's turned green just yet. He's just interested in what'll make money. A lot of it... "I've been hunting quail for 50 years, I know where the wind is," Pickens told The Guardian.

    Smart move... Pickens further believes that "Oil fields have a declining curve - you find one, it peaks and starts downhill, you've got to find another one to replace it. It drives you crazy! With wind, there's no decline."

    "You need a giant plan for America," he says to The Guardian. "Not the pissant 83 megawatt [windfarm] deals being stamped all over the country.

    There needs to be a huge plan from someone with leadership. It's going to take years to do, but it has to start now."
  5. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

  6. Jeorge

    Jeorge Monkey++

    wind power texas

    U.S. crude futures at new records above $115 a barrel means a bright future for renewable sources like wind and solar.
    Pickens' wind farm is part of his wider vision for replacing natural gas with wind and solar for power generation, and using the natural gas instead to power vehicles.To picture Pickens' energy strategy, imagine a compass.
  7. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I'm backing up my solar panels, with 2 wind generators.....
    Only thing is, it gets windy, recent wind was 65 mph, national weather service lists it as up to 75mph+
    But then it's not that often, and we do get snow in that area.....2+ inches at a time.
    I'd hate to try to clean those panels!


    If a person has land I wonder how much they can expect to make off of them wind turbines on their property?
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