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Published on July 10th, 2008 | by Rod Adams

28

T. Boone Pickens Knows Energy – So Does George Chapman, His Amarillo Neighbor

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July 10th, 2008 by
 
CNG Pump Clean Natural GasT. Boone Pickens has captured America’s attention with his PickensPlan for energy. He recently testified in front of the US Senate and provided them with some excellent information about oil and gas depletion, asked repeatedly for them to continue supplying the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and described how there were perfectly located corridors in the US that were the “Saudia Arabia” of wind.

He has been running advertisements on major media outlets describing a clear challenge – America now sends $700 Billion across its borders every year to purchase oil.

Pickens has a plan to reduce that number and he intends to share the details of the plan during the coming weeks. He has been an oilman all his life; that has made him a strong believer in Peak Oil.

As a professional geologist and energy investor, he believes that the only way that the world’s oil supply and demand will be balanced in the future is for the price to achieve a high enough level to drive down the demand. He does not see any hope of dramatically increasing the rate of daily production above its current level of 85 million barrels of oil per day.

Pickens’s publicly released plan is to build a trillion dollars worth of wind turbines and 200 billion dollars worth of transmission lines in order to supply 20% of the US electricity market with wind. He claims that will push large quantities of domestic natural gas out of the electricity market and into the vehicle market as a replacement for gasoline and diesel fuel.

Pickens knows the energy business, and knows his geology. He also understands geography and I bet he can play a mean hand of poker.

Poker Hand With Hidden Hole CardThe reason for the transition from energy to poker is that I believe that Pickens has a much better hand than he has revealed. The details on the visible cards do not add up – natural gas supplies 20% of the electrical power in the US, but a significant portion of the gas that we use for electricity is quick response peaking power in low capital cost gas turbines. If wind supplied 20% of the electrical power in the US, that portion of the gas use would certainly not decrease because wind blows when it wants to, not when the grid operator turns the knobs.

In my opinion, Pickens’s hole card is the energy source that he mentions only at the very end of his list of energy sources during his Senate testimony – nuclear. I watched the video a couple of times and realized that his poker face slipped just a little bit. When he had one of his people show a graph of the wind resources in the US, he said that they are in the right places “for safety”.

No one generally talks about putting wind in remote areas because of safety. Having wind and solar resources concentrated in places where few people live is more of a challenge than an advantage, since the energy has to be shipped a long way. People do, however, talk about putting large nuclear power plants into areas with low population density for safety reasons. (I am not one of them, but bear with me here.)

Pickens is a lifelong resident of Amarillo, Texas, owns a 68,000 acre ranch in Roberts County, and owns the water rights to a portion of the Ogallala Aquifer.

He also has a neighbor named George Chapman who has announced plans to build two large Evolutionary Power Reactors (EPR) in Amarillo. Each of those reactors will produce 1600 MW of 24 x 7 electrical power. They are also designed with load following capabilities.

Mr. Chapman understands that there is a race on to build new nuclear plants in the US, with a significant financial reward waiting for those who cross the finish line in front. As he told Amarillo.com during an interview in early 2007, “If we didn’t think we were going to win it, we wouldn’t get in the race,” Chapman said. When Mr. Chapman first discussed his plans, people asked several questions including:

  • Who will buy the power? (The sparsely populated Texas Panhandle does not need 3200 MW of electricity.)
  • Where will you get the cooling water needed for large pressurized water reactors?

When Pickens completes a transmission corridor from his planned wind farms to population centers like Dallas-Ft. Worth, the lines will be able to provide a higher return on the investment by carrying reliable nuclear generated power as well as the intermittent power provided by the wind turbines.

Amarillo Power’s reactors will also displace a lot more gas from the electrical power grid than covering the panhandle of Texas with as many wind turbines as we can possibly build between now and 2016, which is when I predict that Chapman’s reactors will start operating.

Intriguing hypothesis, don’t you think?

Photo credits

CNG Pump © Christine Gable – About.com Hybrid Cars & Alt Fuels

Hole card – Rod Adams under Creative Commons

Related Posts

T. Boone Pickens Says Peak Oil Reached, Plans World’s Largest Wind Farm

Natural Gas Can Power Vehicles OR Electric Power Plants

The “Unlimited” Potential of American Wind Power: AWEA

CNG as a Vehicle Fuel – One Way Nuclear Power Can Help Ease the Motor Fuel Crisis

The Cleanest Cars on Earth: Honda Civic GX and Other Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs)

Rod Adams is the publisher of Atomic Insights, the host of The Atomic Show Podcast and the founder of Adams Atomic Engines, Inc.

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About the Author

loves and respects our common environment, but he has a fatal flaw in the eyes of many environmentalists -- he's a huge fan of atomic energy. Reduce, reuse, and recycle have been watchwords for Rod since his father taught him that raising rabbits is a great way to turn kitchen scraps into fertilizer for backyard fruit trees and vegetable gardens. They built a compost heap together in about 1967, when he was 8 and when Earth Day was a mere gleam in some people's eye. During his professional career, he has served in several assignments on nuclear submarines, including a 40-month tour as the Engineer Officer of the USS Von Steuben. In 1994, he was awarded US patent number 5309592 for the control system for a closed-cycle gas turbine. He founded Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. in 1993, started Atomic Insights in 1995, and began producing the Atomic Show Podcast in 2006. He is currently an active duty officer (O-5) in the US Navy. He looks forward to many interesting discussions.



  • Don Boyer

    Almost any internal combustion engine will run on Hydrogen. Hydrogen can be generated by an electroylist unit. The car then essentially runs on water. Go to http://www.youtube.com and type “in automobile that runs on water”. The Japanese are producing a car that runs on hydrogen but it would require “hydrogen stations” WAKE UP DETROIT!!!

  • Pingback: T. Boone Pickens Out for Water, Not Wind : CleanTechnica

  • http://www.pickensplan.com Pat Jack

    Only the first hand is being played. This is a battle means, this is a poker tournament. This man leaks Americana from the folds of his countenance.

    The Natural Gas card is plays in nobody’s hand except Boone’s. He’s like the western barroom dealer that’s made a lifestyle of stacking the decks and keeping the piano player happy.

    He’s a fair card shark though, he wants to give us wind power, a corridor, which you aptly point out.

    Corridors through nations have synergies with all markets. I see a phone company rollout plan using the Wind Farms as wireless tower. That would get the telecom lobby on your side.

    The economies of scale here are truly magnificent, perhaps the price you pay in these rural communities is being closer to the nuclear power plants, and you get free electricity in that community, that could be done. The sky’s the limit. A small nuclear accident or two in the United States is the lesser of two evils when the other is perpetual war for oil.

    If the wars for oil ceased, I would live in one of those communities, of course the Wind Farms will be near them also. With all that electricity the vertical center of the United States will see population changes. This whole plan is huge, huge, huge, it’s amazing that http://www.pickensplan.com provides a wonderful glimpse into the behind the scenes production of this magnificent plan, this incredible poker game with energy policy.

    I want this to happen now.

    I’m sure that T. Boone Pickens will play any game that he can break even in or win to help this great nation remove itself from dependence on oil owned by persons we make war upon to wrest control of those resources.

    I think Boone is a bit ashamed of where we are, perhaps the dealer let the wrong people into the game.

    Let’s watch the show, and again, this Natrual Gas thing can go in other directions, including nuclear. I’m sure Boone plays bridge as well … well, maybe not. :)

  • http://www.pickensplan.com Pat Jack

    Only the first hand is being played. This is a battle means, this is a poker tournament. This man leaks Americana from the folds of his countenance.

    The Natural Gas card is plays in nobody’s hand except Boone’s. He’s like the western barroom dealer that’s made a lifestyle of stacking the decks and keeping the piano player happy.

    He’s a fair card shark though, he wants to give us wind power, a corridor, which you aptly point out.

    Corridors through nations have synergies with all markets. I see a phone company rollout plan using the Wind Farms as wireless tower. That would get the telecom lobby on your side.

    The economies of scale here are truly magnificent, perhaps the price you pay in these rural communities is being closer to the nuclear power plants, and you get free electricity in that community, that could be done. The sky’s the limit. A small nuclear accident or two in the United States is the lesser of two evils when the other is perpetual war for oil.

    If the wars for oil ceased, I would live in one of those communities, of course the Wind Farms will be near them also. With all that electricity the vertical center of the United States will see population changes. This whole plan is huge, huge, huge, it’s amazing that http://www.pickensplan.com provides a wonderful glimpse into the behind the scenes production of this magnificent plan, this incredible poker game with energy policy.

    I want this to happen now.

    I’m sure that T. Boone Pickens will play any game that he can break even in or win to help this great nation remove itself from dependence on oil owned by persons we make war upon to wrest control of those resources.

    I think Boone is a bit ashamed of where we are, perhaps the dealer let the wrong people into the game.

    Let’s watch the show, and again, this Natrual Gas thing can go in other directions, including nuclear. I’m sure Boone plays bridge as well … well, maybe not. :)

  • carole joy

    I agree and I also see another source I have never heard used that would generate as much ot more than solar or wind. I wonder if MR Perkins would be interested in hearing about it. Carole Joy

  • carole joy

    I agree and I also see another source I have never heard used that would generate as much ot more than solar or wind. I wonder if MR Perkins would be interested in hearing about it. Carole Joy

  • http://www.atomicinsights.blogspot.com Rod Adams

    ondrejch:

    You are right on a global scale, but it really does matter to me which BTU’s we are buying (oil BTUs from people that do not like us very much or natural gas BTUs from neighbors) during the time that we are building up our non-combustion alternatives.

  • http://www.atomicinsights.blogspot.com Rod Adams

    ondrejch:

    You are right on a global scale, but it really does matter to me which BTU’s we are buying (oil BTUs from people that do not like us very much or natural gas BTUs from neighbors) during the time that we are building up our non-combustion alternatives.

  • ondrejch

    The single largest issue with natgas is, that BTU-wise there is about the same amount of natgas as oil. So yes, you can invest into natgas, related technologies and infrastructure, for a quick buck. However natgas is not going to provide a sustainable solution is the same way oil combustion is not sustainable.

    The more the speculators and investors push the natgas price (the easiest oil substitute), the more appealing are sustainable non-combustion alternatives. Natgas is still a fossil fuel and its combustion creates millions of tons of GHG / GWe / year.

  • ondrejch

    The single largest issue with natgas is, that BTU-wise there is about the same amount of natgas as oil. So yes, you can invest into natgas, related technologies and infrastructure, for a quick buck. However natgas is not going to provide a sustainable solution is the same way oil combustion is not sustainable.

    The more the speculators and investors push the natgas price (the easiest oil substitute), the more appealing are sustainable non-combustion alternatives. Natgas is still a fossil fuel and its combustion creates millions of tons of GHG / GWe / year.

  • Doug Taylor

    Miscellaneous comments about natural gas generation, windfarm generation, transmission lines, the electrical grid and electricity storage.

    (1) The grid must maintain a balance, at all times, that is the amount of electricity produce must equal the amount of electricity that is used.

    (2) There is no known physical way to store large quantities of electricity (a very small amount can be stored by pumped storage– hydro damns. Batteries, and electrolysis produced hydrogen storage are a joke. The search for a practical large scale storage system has been the holy grail for about 40 years.

    (3) The grid must be balanced all time in voltage, and frequency (voltage, about a 4 volt window, and frequency, about a 1 hertz window). If the 4 volt limit is exceeded, then power plants are tripped otherwise the grid would be damaged, (i.e. power plants, and transformers). If the voltage is less than this 4 volts, then we would initially have brownouts, and then rolling blackouts. For a major power incident, the grid would become unstable, and have to be shut down, over a wide area, and it could only come on line in steps (Wind generated electricty is useless in reenergizing th grid).

    Natural gas is used in two ways. It is used for baseload production (combined cycle gas turbines, and for peakers, open cycle gas turbines). A combined cycle gas turbine has two stages, a gas turbine (like a jet engine), and a steam turbine which uses the exausts hot air from the gas turbine to produce steam which drives a generator. The open cycle gas turbine has only the 1st stage.

    The combined cycle gas turbine is very efficient, about 50-55% efficient, however, it takes a long time to bring it up in temperature (up to 3 days), and this prohibits it use as a peaker–That is it cannot be cycled in temperature, and if it is used for peaking it must be operated in spinning reserve mode (generator tripped on and off the grid), and as a consequence its efficiency is drastically reduced, and its maintenace issues are increased.

    The open cycle gas turbine, can be turned on and off quite rapidly, but its efficiency is low–about 20-25%. They are only used in the peaking mode.

    Most of the new generating plants in the US are combined cycle gas turbines, because utilities cannot build coal, or nuclear power plants.

    Wind generated electricity cannot be used in the peaking mode, because the electrical production (supply side) is governed by mother nature, and not by the demands of the grid (demand side). Electricity cannot be stored. Therefore wind generation must be used in a baseload configuration. However for a sufficient penetration into the generation mode wind power cannot replace conventional methods of generation, including combined cyle gas turbines. To give as an example, for a 100 megawatt wind farm, it can only replace about 4 megawatt of conventional natural gas generation. I refer the interesting reader to the Wind Energy Report (2005) (page 9) produced and published E-ON. E-on is the largest investor owned utility in the world, mostly in Germany, and Spain, and has control of the largest porfolio of wind energy in the world. WEB–

    eon-netz.com, click on the english version of the 2005 wind energy report.

    Because of the intermittant generation of electricity, and because wind farms are spread out over a large area, They are very inefficient in the use of electrical transmission lines. For example, transmission lines are “sized” for the maximum generated power (basic ohms, and kirchoffs laws). The energy produced by wind farms is proportional to the average power of these wind farms, not the peak power. Typically, say in Germany, the average power of wind is 18% of the peak power (called the capacity factor or feed-in capacity). In contrast, here in the US the capacity factor for a NUKE is 94-95%(data from Exelon Corp- and NEA). In addition NG baselode, and almost all other baseload is generated near the demand side (about 50 miles), not a 1000 miles (wind midwest to california, or wind midwest to the east coast)

    The bottom line is that implementation of Pickens proposed plan would require construction of high voltage transmission power lines from the midwest to the rest of the United States equal to or exceeding all of the high voltage transmission lines currently in use in the continental US!!!

  • Doug Taylor

    Miscellaneous comments about natural gas generation, windfarm generation, transmission lines, the electrical grid and electricity storage.

    (1) The grid must maintain a balance, at all times, that is the amount of electricity produce must equal the amount of electricity that is used.

    (2) There is no known physical way to store large quantities of electricity (a very small amount can be stored by pumped storage– hydro damns. Batteries, and electrolysis produced hydrogen storage are a joke. The search for a practical large scale storage system has been the holy grail for about 40 years.

    (3) The grid must be balanced all time in voltage, and frequency (voltage, about a 4 volt window, and frequency, about a 1 hertz window). If the 4 volt limit is exceeded, then power plants are tripped otherwise the grid would be damaged, (i.e. power plants, and transformers). If the voltage is less than this 4 volts, then we would initially have brownouts, and then rolling blackouts. For a major power incident, the grid would become unstable, and have to be shut down, over a wide area, and it could only come on line in steps (Wind generated electricty is useless in reenergizing th grid).

    Natural gas is used in two ways. It is used for baseload production (combined cycle gas turbines, and for peakers, open cycle gas turbines). A combined cycle gas turbine has two stages, a gas turbine (like a jet engine), and a steam turbine which uses the exausts hot air from the gas turbine to produce steam which drives a generator. The open cycle gas turbine has only the 1st stage.

    The combined cycle gas turbine is very efficient, about 50-55% efficient, however, it takes a long time to bring it up in temperature (up to 3 days), and this prohibits it use as a peaker–That is it cannot be cycled in temperature, and if it is used for peaking it must be operated in spinning reserve mode (generator tripped on and off the grid), and as a consequence its efficiency is drastically reduced, and its maintenace issues are increased.

    The open cycle gas turbine, can be turned on and off quite rapidly, but its efficiency is low–about 20-25%. They are only used in the peaking mode.

    Most of the new generating plants in the US are combined cycle gas turbines, because utilities cannot build coal, or nuclear power plants.

    Wind generated electricity cannot be used in the peaking mode, because the electrical production (supply side) is governed by mother nature, and not by the demands of the grid (demand side). Electricity cannot be stored. Therefore wind generation must be used in a baseload configuration. However for a sufficient penetration into the generation mode wind power cannot replace conventional methods of generation, including combined cyle gas turbines. To give as an example, for a 100 megawatt wind farm, it can only replace about 4 megawatt of conventional natural gas generation. I refer the interesting reader to the Wind Energy Report (2005) (page 9) produced and published E-ON. E-on is the largest investor owned utility in the world, mostly in Germany, and Spain, and has control of the largest porfolio of wind energy in the world. WEB–

    eon-netz.com, click on the english version of the 2005 wind energy report.

    Because of the intermittant generation of electricity, and because wind farms are spread out over a large area, They are very inefficient in the use of electrical transmission lines. For example, transmission lines are “sized” for the maximum generated power (basic ohms, and kirchoffs laws). The energy produced by wind farms is proportional to the average power of these wind farms, not the peak power. Typically, say in Germany, the average power of wind is 18% of the peak power (called the capacity factor or feed-in capacity). In contrast, here in the US the capacity factor for a NUKE is 94-95%(data from Exelon Corp- and NEA). In addition NG baselode, and almost all other baseload is generated near the demand side (about 50 miles), not a 1000 miles (wind midwest to california, or wind midwest to the east coast)

    The bottom line is that implementation of Pickens proposed plan would require construction of high voltage transmission power lines from the midwest to the rest of the United States equal to or exceeding all of the high voltage transmission lines currently in use in the continental US!!!

  • Doug Taylor

    If T Boone Pickens is as smart, and clever as you have described, then he really knows what to do. His hole card is the electrical energy corridors(electrical transmission lines), and not wind turbine farms. It is not energy corridors (many)stretching from the midwest (North Dakota to Texas) to the rest of the continental US, but one large energy corridor leading from the Texas Gulf coast to the giganic reservoir of petroleum locked in oil shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

    A few facts and history:

    . The amount of recoverable petroleum in this area, could supply all the gasoline/diesel, for all of the cars, SUVs, and Trucks in the US for 210 years!

    . During the late 1970s and early 1980s a major effort was undertaken to develop this source, under the synfuels program of the Carter Administration. Exxon was the major player. At its peak, there were 2200 employees working on the development.

    . Exxon abandoned this program due to the fact the bottom fell out of petroleum prices, and the technology used was an environmental disaster (i.e mining the shale( a 1000 feet of overburden) , bringing the shale to the surface, and then retorting the shale for the kerogen (producing a lot of very nasty aerosols).

    . Shell Oil Company has been working for 20 years on In Situ extraction of the kerogen, and I believe that have the problem solved. They have produced with there very small pilot program about 2000 barrels of oit. Briefly there technology incorporates freezing of the oil shale (with refigerants), at its perimeter, and then cooking the oil shale in situ, with ELECTRICAl HEATING elements to temperatures of from 500 to 700 F. The frozen shale at the perimeter stabilizes the contamination.

    . This technique requires a lot of ELECTRICAL ENERGY.

    . A lot of electrical generation is required.

    . Available water(cooling towers ) is the achilles heal for this method, since this area is almost a desert.

    . This is where the transmission lines comes into play. The gulf coast in Texas has plenty of water, but no coal for the power plants. Nuclear Power Units (About 10 of the latest Japanese designed 1400 megawatt electrical), could be sited along the gulf coast.

    . If this method works then after about 3 years after the Nuke plants, and transmission energy corridors were in operation the US could be completely free of imported oil. That is saving about $700 billion dollars per year, which is now shipped overseas.

    This is T. Boone Pickens’s ace in the hole. He has control over the Energy Corridors in Texas, and maybe some leading out of Texas.

    Problems with this method:

    The problems with this method all all institutional, and not technical.

    (1) There is now a federal law which embargos the development of oil shale on federal lands(most of the oil shale is on BLM land), coupled with state laws in colorado.

    (2) You are well aware of the institutional bottlenecks governing building Nukes.

    (3) The Energy corridors would involve several states. The control of High Voltage transmission lines is currently Balkanized (i.e. Each State has a veto power), However, I believe that there is a law in place which would allow the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Committee) to supercede any bottlenecks from individual states.

    (4) Financing for the construction of the 10 NUKEs

    (5) The United States does not currently have the technical capability to build these NUKES. The design, and licensing would have to be imported from Japan. We do not have the technically capability to actually build these plants. We do not have the in-house reservoir of technicians, craftsmen (example nuclear qualified welders), and engineers to actually build the plant. The main nuclear reactor pressure vessal would have to be fabricated in Japan. The steam generator probably from Japan. The incore instrumentation, such as thermocouples, and neutron detectors, could be produced in the US, however the technology to weld place the detectors in the reactor core is not available in the US. This is the result of our disfunctional energy policy for the last 30 years.

  • Doug Taylor

    If T Boone Pickens is as smart, and clever as you have described, then he really knows what to do. His hole card is the electrical energy corridors(electrical transmission lines), and not wind turbine farms. It is not energy corridors (many)stretching from the midwest (North Dakota to Texas) to the rest of the continental US, but one large energy corridor leading from the Texas Gulf coast to the giganic reservoir of petroleum locked in oil shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

    A few facts and history:

    . The amount of recoverable petroleum in this area, could supply all the gasoline/diesel, for all of the cars, SUVs, and Trucks in the US for 210 years!

    . During the late 1970s and early 1980s a major effort was undertaken to develop this source, under the synfuels program of the Carter Administration. Exxon was the major player. At its peak, there were 2200 employees working on the development.

    . Exxon abandoned this program due to the fact the bottom fell out of petroleum prices, and the technology used was an environmental disaster (i.e mining the shale( a 1000 feet of overburden) , bringing the shale to the surface, and then retorting the shale for the kerogen (producing a lot of very nasty aerosols).

    . Shell Oil Company has been working for 20 years on In Situ extraction of the kerogen, and I believe that have the problem solved. They have produced with there very small pilot program about 2000 barrels of oit. Briefly there technology incorporates freezing of the oil shale (with refigerants), at its perimeter, and then cooking the oil shale in situ, with ELECTRICAl HEATING elements to temperatures of from 500 to 700 F. The frozen shale at the perimeter stabilizes the contamination.

    . This technique requires a lot of ELECTRICAL ENERGY.

    . A lot of electrical generation is required.

    . Available water(cooling towers ) is the achilles heal for this method, since this area is almost a desert.

    . This is where the transmission lines comes into play. The gulf coast in Texas has plenty of water, but no coal for the power plants. Nuclear Power Units (About 10 of the latest Japanese designed 1400 megawatt electrical), could be sited along the gulf coast.

    . If this method works then after about 3 years after the Nuke plants, and transmission energy corridors were in operation the US could be completely free of imported oil. That is saving about $700 billion dollars per year, which is now shipped overseas.

    This is T. Boone Pickens’s ace in the hole. He has control over the Energy Corridors in Texas, and maybe some leading out of Texas.

    Problems with this method:

    The problems with this method all all institutional, and not technical.

    (1) There is now a federal law which embargos the development of oil shale on federal lands(most of the oil shale is on BLM land), coupled with state laws in colorado.

    (2) You are well aware of the institutional bottlenecks governing building Nukes.

    (3) The Energy corridors would involve several states. The control of High Voltage transmission lines is currently Balkanized (i.e. Each State has a veto power), However, I believe that there is a law in place which would allow the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Committee) to supercede any bottlenecks from individual states.

    (4) Financing for the construction of the 10 NUKEs

    (5) The United States does not currently have the technical capability to build these NUKES. The design, and licensing would have to be imported from Japan. We do not have the technically capability to actually build these plants. We do not have the in-house reservoir of technicians, craftsmen (example nuclear qualified welders), and engineers to actually build the plant. The main nuclear reactor pressure vessal would have to be fabricated in Japan. The steam generator probably from Japan. The incore instrumentation, such as thermocouples, and neutron detectors, could be produced in the US, however the technology to weld place the detectors in the reactor core is not available in the US. This is the result of our disfunctional energy policy for the last 30 years.

  • http://policy.wikia.com/wiki/User:Jmesserly JMesserly

    Pickens’ HVDC transmission investment the key piece of infrastructure, and it is for the most part neutral regarding generation technology. Naturally, the path would have to go through the wind cooridor and to the deserts (re- Scientific American Jan 2008 issue- “Solar Grand Plan”).

    The observation regarding nuclear is apt, and if Pickens doesn’t intend it, others will bring it up. Clearly, the huge obstacle is the lengthy permitting process required in most states. However, with an HVDC line nearby, then states have the option of making nuclear generation a state industry- eg- their legislature might be willing to streamline the permitting if such a national distribution grid were in place. The attractive portion for large investors is that small conservative or underpopulated states like Utah or North Dakota might be more easily motivated by nuclear lobbying.

    I am surprized that there was no treatment of grid energy storage in the plan, and that precious little space was given to description of the thing that was going to cost the 200 billion dollars: the transmission grid.

  • http://policy.wikia.com/wiki/User:Jmesserly JMesserly

    Pickens’ HVDC transmission investment the key piece of infrastructure, and it is for the most part neutral regarding generation technology. Naturally, the path would have to go through the wind cooridor and to the deserts (re- Scientific American Jan 2008 issue- “Solar Grand Plan”).

    The observation regarding nuclear is apt, and if Pickens doesn’t intend it, others will bring it up. Clearly, the huge obstacle is the lengthy permitting process required in most states. However, with an HVDC line nearby, then states have the option of making nuclear generation a state industry- eg- their legislature might be willing to streamline the permitting if such a national distribution grid were in place. The attractive portion for large investors is that small conservative or underpopulated states like Utah or North Dakota might be more easily motivated by nuclear lobbying.

    I am surprized that there was no treatment of grid energy storage in the plan, and that precious little space was given to description of the thing that was going to cost the 200 billion dollars: the transmission grid.

  • http://www.venturebeat.com/ Chris Morrison

    Nicely done. I’d figured on Pickens having some big bets on LNG, probably via infrastructure companies that also serve the oil industry. But I hadn’t seen the nuclear connection yet. Crafty guy. At worst, he beats the hell out of the big wigs at Chevron, Texaco et al.

  • http://www.venturebeat.com/ Chris Morrison

    Nicely done. I’d figured on Pickens having some big bets on LNG, probably via infrastructure companies that also serve the oil industry. But I hadn’t seen the nuclear connection yet. Crafty guy. At worst, he beats the hell out of the big wigs at Chevron, Texaco et al.

  • http://redgreenandblue.org Rod Adams

    Damond:

    One infrastructure piece that electricity and natural gas have in common is that they are available in many residences. There are kits available that allow refilling a CNG vehicle at home.

  • http://redgreenandblue.org Rod Adams

    Damond:

    One infrastructure piece that electricity and natural gas have in common is that they are available in many residences. There are kits available that allow refilling a CNG vehicle at home.

  • http://www.damonclifford.com/blog/ Damon Clifford

    This is a great post.

    It will be interesting to see what Pickens hole card is. He’s a smart businessman and knows what he’s doing.

    I do not agree with Pickens idea for natural gas to fuel vehicles. We would only run in to the same type of problems that we have with oil eventually.

    If we’re going to revamp gas stations around the entire country, it would be more wise to do that with electrical stations so people could recharge their plug in hybrids and electric vehicles.

  • http://www.damonclifford.com/blog/ Damon Clifford

    This is a great post.

    It will be interesting to see what Pickens hole card is. He’s a smart businessman and knows what he’s doing.

    I do not agree with Pickens idea for natural gas to fuel vehicles. We would only run in to the same type of problems that we have with oil eventually.

    If we’re going to revamp gas stations around the entire country, it would be more wise to do that with electrical stations so people could recharge their plug in hybrids and electric vehicles.

  • JL

    “…a significant portion of the gas that we use for electricity is quick response peaking power in low capital cost gas turbines. If wind supplied 20% of the electrical power in the US, that portion of the gas use would certainly not decrease because wind blows when it wants to, not when the grid operator turns the knobs.”

    You’re the only other person I have heard even mention this topic besides myself. THANK YOU!! I work at a consulting firm and am planning the integration of wind farms with an overall control area penetration level of almost 40% of the total generating capacity. Once wind reaches beyond 10% penetration additional electricity reserves become necessary for grid reliability and safety. Natural gas is the primary source of quick-response load following generation. Wind is not, and can not do this WITHOUT energy storage. Dispatchable nuclear or energy storage must be Picken’s hole card. I can’t imagine that he has not considered this aspect, but I guess you never know…

    ps. There aren’t any “knobs” used for generation dispatch anymore. Computer control systems are used to keep the Area Control Error (ACE) between the required levels with a response time of only seconds, but I do realize it was more of a figure-of-speech statement. :)

    Great post!!!

  • JL

    “…a significant portion of the gas that we use for electricity is quick response peaking power in low capital cost gas turbines. If wind supplied 20% of the electrical power in the US, that portion of the gas use would certainly not decrease because wind blows when it wants to, not when the grid operator turns the knobs.”

    You’re the only other person I have heard even mention this topic besides myself. THANK YOU!! I work at a consulting firm and am planning the integration of wind farms with an overall control area penetration level of almost 40% of the total generating capacity. Once wind reaches beyond 10% penetration additional electricity reserves become necessary for grid reliability and safety. Natural gas is the primary source of quick-response load following generation. Wind is not, and can not do this WITHOUT energy storage. Dispatchable nuclear or energy storage must be Picken’s hole card. I can’t imagine that he has not considered this aspect, but I guess you never know…

    ps. There aren’t any “knobs” used for generation dispatch anymore. Computer control systems are used to keep the Area Control Error (ACE) between the required levels with a response time of only seconds, but I do realize it was more of a figure-of-speech statement. :)

    Great post!!!

  • Matt

    That’s a bad draw, only a fool tries for an inside straight, although a flush is certainly possible there too.

  • Matt

    That’s a bad draw, only a fool tries for an inside straight, although a flush is certainly possible there too.

  • DA

    Natural gas cars are much better than what we have now, but the real game changer is the “Air Car” – see The Discovery Channel’s Beyond Tomorrow story – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmqpGZv0YT4

  • DA

    Natural gas cars are much better than what we have now, but the real game changer is the “Air Car” – see The Discovery Channel’s Beyond Tomorrow story – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmqpGZv0YT4

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