Published on July 14th, 2008 | by Joe Mohr14
T. Boone's 'Pickens Plan': Spin the wind turbine
July 14th, 2008 by Joe Mohr
T. Boone Pickens helps bring wind energy to the center of the energy discussion and the center of the political aisle.
I don’t think it made the 3 minute clip CBS aired, but in the full 12 minute interview Katie Couric instantly goes after T. Boone Pickens about his financial aspirations of starting a wind farm. Now I’m no big T. Boone Pickens fan, but Katie, people start companies to make money (and tycoons usually start businesses to make billions). As much as you can fault the man for funding the swiftboat attack ads against John Kerry, or fault him for his influence on the Republican Party, you can’t fault the man for starting a business and wanting to make money.
I think Katie is trying to get T. Boone to say what everyone already knows (so why even waste time probing for a confession?) which is, T. Boone Pickens doesn’t care about the environment or the economic revival of rural economies as the well laid out spinning on his Pickens Plan website would like you to believe.
T. Boone Pickens cares about money–and he’s good at making it.
So why then, poke and prod a man who will put his tycoon-ish master mind to work on an energy source that will benefit the nation environmentally and economically?
Katie should’ve poked and prodded T. Boone for what was curiously left out of the Pickens Plan.
Unclear Nuclear Plans
The Pickens Plan website focuses on the development of wind energy (he is building the “world’s biggest wind farm” in Texas), and natural gas. At the very end it states:
The Pickens Plan is a bridge to the future — a blueprint to reduce foreign oil dependence by harnessing domestic energy alternatives, and buy us time to develop even greater new technologies.
It’s the “domestic energy alternatives” part that leaves me a bit suspect. I am going to bet that those “alternatives” may mean more nuclear reactors. Rod Adams does a good job of pointing out a possible link to Pickens’s wind aspirations and his potential overall plan for nuclear energy in his article on T. Boone. Adams links T. Boone’s plan with the plan of his Texas neighbor George Chapman who has announced plans to build two large nuclear reactors in Pickens’s hometown of Amarillo Texas. He also mentions that Pickens only brings up nuclear power at the very end of his Senate testimony on the future of American energy.
Wind energy is an environmental and economic issue, therefore it is an issue important to both sides of the political aisle. The fact that wind is an environmentalist’s dream energy source causes the issue to fall left of the aisle. The fact that an oil tycoon is investing in wind energy brings the issue back to center. This is important because issues at the center of the political aisle tend to have greater long term success as a result of the support from both sides. Oddly, issues funded by billionaires always seem to do well too…
We can only hope that Pickens will continue to financially assist wind farms until the central plains corridor (from Texas to Canada) reaches the 400,000 megawatt potential he projects. We can then go on to hope that wind, solar, geo-thermal, and tidal energy systems receive the funding and subsidies that the oil, coal, and nuclear industries enjoy. Maybe then clean energy can truly compete in the long term with its well-financed foes.
image credit: Pickens Plan MySpace page