Alternative Energy Sources >> What is the Pickens Plan and how will it Affect Natural Gas in the United States?

What is the Pickens Plan and how will it Affect Natural Gas in the United States?

Contributor: Jerry Noble

The Pickens Plan was announced in 2008 and it is a detailed proposal for a new energy policy, created by a man named T. Boone Pickens. T. Boone is a businessman from America who gained fame in the 80s for his skill and success at corporate raiding. He also serves as the chairperson of the BP Capital Management hedge fund.  

What is the Pickens Plan?

In the simplest terms, the Pickens Plan presents a strategy which would reduce the amount that the U. S. spends annually to import oil by $300 billion. This would be a 43% reduction. The Pickens Plan suggests that this could be achieved by investing nearly $1 trillion in farms for wind turbines, creating clean energy. With the addition of these farms, the U. S. would be able to use natural gas (currently being used for energy) as fuel for heavy vehicles and CNG trucks. The idea is that with natural gas fueling these vehicles, the U. S. wouldn’t rely as heavily on foreign oil.

Proposal of the Plan

There are actually a few points to the plan that are included in the proposal. These points include: Thousands of wind turbines installed in the Great Plains. This would be funded by private industry. Pickens refers to this area as the Wind Corridor of the U. S. because of both the geographical location and the abundant resources (wind) in the area. Pickens estimates that 20% of the nation’s power supply could be met with these turbines. There would be transmission lines for electric power that would run from the turbines to the power grid. This part of his plan would be funded by the government. These lines would provide power to the South, West and Midwestern sections of the United States. By implementing the turbine farms, natural gas that is currently used as a primary power source could be used to fuel thousands of vehicles instead. In an attempt to increase the efficiency of the natural gas it would be utilized in fleets of buses and trucks. By shifting the way America uses its natural gas, Pickens believes that the demand for imported oil would drop drastically.

How long would this take?

In the proposal for the Pickens Plan there was a timetable which called for completion of the project in 10 years with the stipulation that this schedule could only be achieved with the right leadership. There has been some dispute about this timetable with some of the heavy hitters in the energy industry arguing that the plan simply could not be fully implemented in a 10 year period.

Natural Gas

The effects of the Pickens Plan on natural gas would only be lateral effects. Under the Pickens Plan, Americans would still be consuming similar quantities of natural gas annually. The difference would be that instead of natural gas being a way to power and heat our homes and offices – this homegrown fuel source would be utilized as fuel for vehicles. Overall, the Pickens Plan seems to have some valuable ideas. Most Americans agree that it’s important to reduce dependence on foreign oil despite disagreements about the best way to accomplish this goal. The Pickens Plan offers one option that is worth considering.



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