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Any thoughts on "The Pickens Plan"

Post in 'The Green Room' started by gibson, Aug 27, 2008.

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  1. gibson

    gibson New Member

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    Any "non-partisan" replies to the"pickens plan". www.pickensplan.com

    As we know there has been a lot of lip service given by both parties. Not seen a detailed plan by anyone though. Pickens plan is simplistic, maybe too simplistic, or maybe simple enough that it may actually work. Pickens is highly invested in this and stands to add to his overwhelming fortune if it is successful. I see great potential in US produced alternative energy as a creator of jobs, as a payer of taxes, even as a source of national pride. The longer that it can stay in the hands of entrepreneurs like Pickens and like minded investors, and out of the hands of politicians, the better for the country.
    The downside is what happens if we ever did reduce US oil consumption by 30%? Oil prices would drop precipitously, gas might be $1.50 a gallon again. Would americans buy good ol' petrol or buy natural gas? I don't know. Would Saudi Arabia "flip out" and use their financial resources to exact revenge on the US? I don't know.
    There will certainly be a backlash because Pickens was an oil man and represents big business, but imho they are the ones with the resources to make it happen.

    Love to hear some feedback.

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  2. BobTheTomato

    BobTheTomato Member

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    My thoughts on the plan are this. The man is right that we need to do something since the doing the same old thing over and over is not working and we are importing 70% of our oil. It also recognizes that battery power and fuel cells will not be viable for 10 or more years. The only part of the plan that I don't fully like is the wind energy since it has a large federal subsidy. (I would prefer nuclear that utilizes fuel reprocessing but I realize that would take huge steps by the feds to allow new plants to be built in a decent amount of time) If nothing else it is a concrete plan that uses private investment to get something done.

    The down side is you need the feds to:

    Mandate natural gas filling stations
    Build high voltage lines to move power from the central USA to the coasts
    Buy out and shut down natural gas power plants

    I think you have pointed out the most interesting dynamic that exists in the question of energy independence:

    Quote: Would Saudi Arabia “flip out” and use their financial resources to exact revenge on the US?

    Right now the USA could convert coal into oil (the technology has existed since WW1) or mine oil shales and no longer be dependent on foreign oil. The fear we be once you are producing an extra 10,11,12 million barrels of oil what would happen to the market? Would it drop to 10 bucks a barrel? In the 80s there was an attempt to do this and OPEC turned up all of the pumps. As a result the price of oil dropped and the synthetic fuels idea was scrapped. The only option I see is to place a tariff on the oil that would make it cost a min of $50 a barrel. Of course this would lead to questions of them dumping all of our dollars they have accumulated over the years but who knows. I guess we could always make a bushel of wheat cost $1000.
  3. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    It's going to take just this sort of thing to get alternative energy out there. As you say, Pickens has the dough to make it happen, and waiting on the government to do it means it won't ever happen. Think I'd have concentrated on other technologies like the solar heat tower thing, but it's not my money. The only thing I see as an issue is for the folks that have to live near the windmills, they aren't quiet and project a strobing light pattern a long ways in the morning and evening hours that a solar installation would not have.

    Looks like he has already begun though, last week I saw a very, very long, white propeller blade running down highway 169 going towards Tulsa OK. It must have been 100 feet long, if not longer. It looked exactly like one of the blades on the GE wind website.
  4. karl

    karl Minister of Fire

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    Here are a few things about Pickens.

    1. He's building a wind farm and has no way to get the power generated to the consumer. Putting lines in himself would be cost prohibited. Starting a big public service campaign to get the Federal Government to do it for him for free would be a lot cheaper.

    2. He's an oil man but there's not alot of oil left in Texas. However, there's tons of natural gas. Getting the American public to start running there cars on natural gas would make him alot of money.

    3. He runs a hedge fund. It lost 35% in one month. Do you really want to put your energy future in a guy who lost 35% of his client's money in a month?

    I'm all for conservation. Pickens does have some good ideas. However, he does have his own agenda.
  5. tkirk22

    tkirk22 New Member

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    Big money and government go hand in hand:
    http://moneyrunner.blogspot.com/2008/08/pelosi-pickens-and-corruption-of-green.html

    PS. I just noticed who wrote that article. A guick google will find other non partisan sources.
  6. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    1. Do we really care if Picken's is partisan?
    2. What alternatives is our government giving us?

    Pickens plan gives me inspiration. Good for him. So what if he makes a buck. To the poster mentioning he lost 35% in a month - that's business. You won't find any investor who hasn't done something similar.

    We can't wait around forever for the perfect answer. Wind is on the verge of becoming prolific here in Eastern Pa. We have 15 windmills near us, with another 50 under construction. And another 200 in the permit process. In 5 years a drive on I-81 will reveal hundreds of windmills in the mountains here.
  7. jeff6443

    jeff6443 New Member

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    Now He s right he is an oil tycoon never bought 1 gallon gas oil propane . never touched a log . F HIM . He laughes at taxes BILLIONS Can we buy a windmill only 1.5 mil each AC has five . maybe if we all save together
  8. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Funny you should bring this up! I'm heavily invested in NG, but I rarely burn it for heating the house. It is far too valuable for other things, like the cars.

    We just got back from a trip to Ocean City, where they are contemplating a wind farm off the coast. I was sitting on the beach and realized that there was so much wind blowing in off the ocean that ther were no insects! Out at sea, there aren't any neighbors to bother and the view they are talking about ruining is supposed to be about the width of your thumbnail held out at arms length. This certainly doesn't seem very objectionable to me.

    I also have seen the big blades being trucked down the highway and wonder where they're going. Wind isn't the absolute answer to all our needs, but can fill in for a lot of other fuels. NG is good for the peaking plants that will be necessary to fill in the gaps with windpower as it is clean, quick and domestically produced (right now).

    There has been a heated debate in Baltimore about a proposal to import LNG here and pipe it up to PA for consumption. Other countries are burning it off as a waste product simply because they don't have a way to sell it. I'm not sure I like the idea of importing fuel, but it has its potential to replace a lot of oil. As long as we don't squander it as badly as we do oil, I think it might be a step in the right direction. OTOH, if we had a renewable form of fuel that Harry Homeowner could control with a thermostat (pellets??), we might free up enough domestic NG for other things, like transportation. This would be a huge step in the right direction and make NG importation a moot point.

    I ran into the service technician for our CNG station and tied him up for the better part of an hour discussing the future of CNG for motor fuel. He said that all interest in CNG died as soon as Bush mentioned the word "Hydrogen". He mentioned that he just got back from a trip overseas to commission a bunch of new stations in the Far East. Is there something they see that we aren't? Stations in the US have been closing and fleets have been selling off their vehicles left and right. The only reason we have any CNG cars at all is because the Government started putting incentives out back in the 80's and 90's; all new CNG vehicle production has fizzled since then. He also mentioned that Picken's company just installed a new fueling station near the airport and is going after large fleet vehicles like buses and municipal vehicles. I'm still looking into it, but I have reason to suspect that it is more expensive than what our utility sells it for. FYI, it's currently at $2.06 a gal equivalent, down from an all time high of $2.63 and should drop well under $2 GGE in a few days, judging from the wholesale prices I'm seeing.

    Hydrogen ranks up there with cold fusion and perpetual motion for impracticality, but we can dream, can't we? Maybe they will find a bacteria or algae that can produce hydrogen, but the other hurdles remain. There will NOT be a drop-in substitute for oil/gasoline as nothing seems to have the energy density of oil. People are expecting to fill up their cars and drive 400 miles without stopping. Anything less will be a disappointment, but we have to get over it. It's time America actually started to THINK about other options, even if that option means filling/charging your car every 100 miles or seeing a windmill off in the distance.

    Is it better to send your fuel dollars to a Texas oilman than a Saudi prince?

    Thanks for letting me vent...

    Chris
  9. rowerwet

    rowerwet Minister of Fire

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    put Americans to work!stop sending money to other countries! make Americans rich!
    sounds good to me as I benefit it there are rich people to give me a job and or buy things from my employer. unless you work for the govt. or are on a trust fund you also depend on the "rich" small or large business owner for your income in one way or another. I think it's about time the government started helping energy independence with business driving it and not subsidies (tax money= my money). and while I'm at it let's have the "fair tax plan" put in place, won't happen congress would loose power over us.
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    No preference, myself.......
    Whoever gives me the better overall value for a buck - and, unless you are one of those few people who pay the surcharge on your electric bill to get green power (voluntarily), you have the same opinion. Also, last time I heard the Sauds and anyone else can buy as many "American" Exxon shares as they want.

    I'm all for Pickens and everyone else's plans....that will get clean energy at decent prices. Do it. I'm even open to government help to kick start it. We could not get to the moon without a kick start, and oil companies get billions for drilling and ethanol, so I have no problem with diverting some of that same money (or taxes on dirty energy) to clean stuff that will stand on it's own after a market is established.
  11. potter

    potter Feeling the Heat

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    I'm sure I'll be called a NIMBY but here goes. I'm one of the fortunate souls recieving the blessing of a future looking at these things. I live in the poorest county in New York, and as always (garbage dumps, nuculear sites, etc.) the poor and politically disempowered get to carry the weight. The Kennedys and all made sure their views weren't obstructed. As will be the case in the future. These thing are industrial in scale.
    I could still swallow this except for the process.....Large corporation 200.00 an hour lawyers, town board working class folks some of whom stand to benefit from towers on their property. The result is very limited $ for the comunity or people who's property value is impacted. And because of it's green factor almost no state oversight.
    Get ready rural America- coming soon to your area.
    And if we need them- who says we couldn't build them as a community (or government) owned system, all that money and power going back into the local communities.
  12. markpee

    markpee New Member

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    Herein lies the problem. I remember that only a few years ago Cape Cod squashed a plan to put windmills in the ocean that would have powered Cape Cod and beyond. It was strongly opposed and subsequently defeated. I bet the same people who helped defeat it are also the ones complaining about the lack of alteranitive resources!

    Pickens has a plan - unlike either of our candidates. His plan to me makes sense, is simplistic and focuses on keeping the dollars and the jobs here in the USA. I think we need to start being selfish, stop sending $700 billion overseas and put people to work producing our energy - including nuclear. France and other countries do it, why can't we?

    All of us on this forum are concerned about this issue and need to push an agenda. We are the leaders - who else puts wood boilers and pellet stoves in their home to stop using oil? The average american won't - we will! We understand that not only are we reducing our expense on oil, we are saving our future by not sending money overseas! We are the ones who have to help the change to occur. The average american only wants cheap sources of energy, but is unwilling to do anything about it. They will complain, but not take action. This is why, my friends, we have to make it happen! Good luck!
  13. mainemac

    mainemac Member

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    Pickens plan looks good

    He is looking to the future, I did not know about the natural gas option
    I think we need to HEAVILY invest in renewables like WIND SOLAR GEOTHERMAL but do not forget conservation it needs to be in the mix
    Plug in Hybrids get 100 mpg now. (what does your car get?)

    I think the drill baby drill and conversion of coal to oil and the rest is expensive and leaves with a dirty old fuel with lots of downstream consequences.

    Question
    You are stuck in traffic in a tunnell and your AC is not working. Would you rather be surronded by 2oth century gas cars or have electric or hybrid cars(gas shuts off at stops) ?
    Looking back at the 20th and early 21st century people will feel sorry for the Beijing and LA residents choking on the fumes .
    I think focusing on oil is focusing on the past, Pickens seems to be leading us in a cleaner more independent direction

    Tom
  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    A lot of the same stuff pertains to Cell towers, Home Depot, etc.......lawyers, benefits to some landowners, etc.

    Obviously, the best place to build them is where wind is strongest, which is usually NOT where a lot of people are located. Given the mechanics of wind power, putting them where the wind is good (as opposed to great) is not anywhere near as economically feasible. The wind charts all tell the story.....that is why Cape Wind is the best.......
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    A lot of the same stuff pertains to Cell towers, Home Depot, etc.......lawyers, benefits to some landowners, etc.

    Obviously, the best place to build them is where wind is strongest, which is usually NOT where a lot of people are located. Given the mechanics of wind power, putting them where the wind is good (as opposed to great) is not anywhere near as economically feasible. The wind charts all tell the story.....that is why Cape Wind is the best.......
  16. Catskill

    Catskill New Member

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    For those interested. Pickens will be on the Sean Hannity show today 9/17 some time between 4-6 PM
  17. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    BTW, the crash on Wall Street is going to strongly hurt the financing for MANY alternative energy projects...it is already in the news! Lehman Brother was behind some of these efforts.

    Also, as fuel falls in price, we are going to see less certainty and less investment. The credit markets are drying up big time anyway, and alt energy ain't exactly the most sure investment.

    This is why we need a private/public partnership for this effort - the market will often do things to short circuit such efforts, but a long term plan with underpinnings can forge ahead - without having to worry about the daily fluctuations of oil.
  18. BobTheTomato

    BobTheTomato Member

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    I was looking through my old mineral deposits book from college last night and saw something funny. I looked at the oil shale section and it said once crude hit $50 a barrel the mines from the 70's would open back up. I think the real problem we face is a fear that if companies invest billions in mining oil shale, coal to oil, cellulose ethanol, algae based oil, or some other true rival to middle east oil OPEC would pump so much oil that the price would drop to about $10 a barrel and everyone would go out of business. My thought has been that we should put a minimum cost on oil. In other words oil must sell for $50 a barrel. (so if spot price was $35 there would be a $15 import tariff.) Then no matter how much they pumped it could not destroy the synthetic fuel industry.
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    You are correct - and that is the reason we need a public private plan. As it stands, we could create a trillion dollar alt-energy industry here and have the rug pulled out from under it in 3 months if the Saudis so desired.
  20. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    I agree on the public-private plan. I wish one of the presidential canidates had one.

    The important thing, maybe more so than any plan, is that they factories/algae farms/etc... be constructed.

    Think of it this way. John Doe builds algae farm that cost $1 Billion to build. Oil price collapse ans John Doe goes bankrupt. The bank auctions the algae farm and John Smith buys it for $100 Million. Now John Smith's cost is $.10 on the dollar of John Doe's cost for the factory. Other costs aren't affected as much (labor, supplies), but it does give John Smith a real good head start on the Saudi's.
  21. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah, but you aren't talking about the dozens, hundreds or thousands of investors who lose money when Doe goes belly-up! As much as I favor government investment tax credits and other such springboards, I certainly don't like the idea of the losses being shifted to the taxpayers. Probably the best ideas are in some sort of price supports for oil (varying tax to be used for infrastructure build-up depending on the price of oil), as well as guarantees that the energy from new alt energy projects will be purchased at a minimum price.

    Ideally, we can build a new economy without having to milk investors or taxpayers of their money - win-win.
  22. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    Seems unlikely to me that there is going to be a technilogical break through that changes the international oil consumption so radically and so quickly that it causes the Saudis to pump so much oil that prices drop to $10 or even $50 per barrel and price support is needed to maintain the initiative for whatever this miraculous breakthrough might be. Face it, oil is the king of fuels, burns great, easy to transport, predictable combustion, etc. and we are just coming to grips with the peak of supply and the prospect of dwindling supply in the near future. Oil will always be a coveted energy source due to its wonderful properties. It seems most likely that any other energy source, (or even more likely, energy sources), that replace oil will only be phased in gradually as oil prices continue their upward trend and those other energy sources become more and more economically feasible in relation to continually increasing oil prices. Why pump the oil in the ground today when it will be worth even more tomorrow? If we have a technology that can crash the oil market, bring it on baby. I don't see that happening anytime soon. The Pickens plan is common sense and would most likely work as he says if it could be implemented. But it's an incomplete plan and only a partial solution. It's only developed to the extent necessary to benefit him. We need to integrate all the options including solar, nuclear, non-food based bio fuels, etc.
  23. karl

    karl Minister of Fire

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    Here's my plan. Feel free to nit pick it all you want.

    1. We need to drill where we can. Off shore is fine.

    2. We need to see how much out we can pump out of all of these new wells.

    3. We need to go back on proration. That means we only pump x percent of what we can from these wells. That will leave us with a buffer. The biggest problem with oil today is volatility. We have this volatility because so much oil is pump in unstable parts of the world. We know Iran can't block the straights of whatever its called. We know they need are money as bad as we need their oil, so they can't stop pumping for more than a week or two. Yet when they fire off three missiles oil jumps 6 dollars in a day. Proration would stop this, because the world would know that the we have excess capacity and fill the gap on the short term.

    4. We need to open our strategic petroleum reserve to bartering. We do this now occasionally but it's political. The President calls for it. Then a week or so later congress does it. Let's take it out of their hands. Any oil company can draw so many barrels and keep them for so many months, then they have to put it back or pay a penalty until they do. This will help take volatility out of the market too.

    5. We need a new liquid fuel to run in our automobiles. Gasoline is good. That's why we've used it for a hundred years, but it has problems. Alcohol doesn't have the BTU content of gasoline but it has a higher octane rating. In Brazil, once they got all of there cars converted to ethanol, they bumped up the compression ratio to take advantage of the higher octane and got the fuel economy back. Higher compression increases efficiency. This new fuel should have a set BTU content and a set octane rating. The octane should be substantially higher than what we have now. This well allow us to run ethanol based fuels in our cars with the same economy as we get on gasoline now. Then we let the refineries start making this fuel with whatever base material is more economical. Oil, Ethanol, Methanol, liquid coal, whatever.

    6. Come to the realization that ENERGY IS ENERGY, and we need to conserve everywhere. Then we start where it's the easiest to make the biggest gains. This is in homes right now. The automobile fleet turns over every 15 years, but homes pretty much last forever. In my town I would say 40 percent of them are over a 100 years old. Get homes off of fossil fuel. Get them insulated. Get them on solar hot water. That's easy stuff that will make a difference.

    7. Wind power is good. What about tidal power? Same principle. What about hyrdo electric. We have dams out west that were built during the Great Depression and are set up for hydro electric power but the turbines were never installed because we didn't need the power then. Now, the environmentalists have gotten lesiglation passed to prevent installing them.

    8. If the politicans really wanted green power, then why not a dollar for dollar tax credit for the next 10 years, instead of this piddly stuff they're doing?

    9. Oh, and how about building a few refineries that aren't in hurricane country.

    10. Build some nuclear plants. And make them breeder reactors so they don't use as much fuel as the ones we have now.

    11. Let them rework the fuel rods from these plants so we dont have as much nuclear waste as we do. Hell, we probably have enough waste stored, that if we reworked it, we could run our reactors for as long as they have been running so far, or longer. They're only like 6 percent spent when we have to pull them out.



    I think this would be a good start, and would address alot of the problems that nobody wants to talk about.
  24. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Interesting link from Kirk22. I'd like to believe Picken's at least has some altruistic motives, even if he plans on making some serious money. Otherwise, he's lying through his teeth on those ads.

    I was really excited about his plan when I first discovered it, but I didn't realize he was so heavily invested in wind machines that will require some serious tax dollars to get that power from the plains to the cities (transmission infrastructure build-out).

    Seems like if you wait long enough, everyone turns out to be a selfish SOB. Maybe Picken's will be the exception... maybe not. Still, it seems better to let him (and Pelosi, et al) get richer if it gets America weened off the Saudi oil teat.
  25. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I think electric is really the miracle fuel......and is superior to oil in MANY ways for modern life. Of course, you don't have electric airplanes, but for most stuff that we consume (fuel), electric (clean) could be far superior to oil.
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