Written by Miranda Marquit
It doesn't seem strange that a Texas oilman (and a Republican to boot) would come with a way to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. After all, Big Oil companies like Exxon (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and ConocoPhillips (COP) are chomping at the bit to reduce imports of foreign oil by allowing more domestic drilling offshore and on Federal lands. What is strange is that Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens is focusing more on wind energy than he is on oil.
Photo: sparktography, Creative Commons, Flickr
Pickens believes that we can significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil (and by extension oil in general, I think) within a decade. The key to Pickens' plan, CNN Money reports, is a "wind corridor" that stretches from Canada to West Texas:
Power from the thousands of wind turbines that would line the corridor could be distributed throughout the country via electric power transmission lines and could fuel power plants in large population hubs, the oil baron said.
Fueling these plants with wind power would then free up the natural gas historically used to power them, and would mean that natural gas could be used to replace foreign oil as fuel for motor vehicles, he explained.
What I like about this idea is that there is an actual plan. Pickens is looking into the 21st Century for a solution and not repeating tired platitudes about how we could lower the cost of oil and break our dependence on foreign oil if we could just be allowed to drill more of it on our own land. Pickens' is an interesting thought. And one that is woefully in short supply right now.
Even Pickens admits, however, that wind energy isn't the only solution. Other alternative energy sources would have to be implemented as well. But it is a start. And even though the up front cost would be large, perhaps we could pay for it by taking away the subsidies Big Oil receives. The bottom line is that there is no one answer.
Pickens asserts that private investors could (and would) fund such a plan, and it could be an opportunity for returns if it gathers steam. I'll be watching closely to see who (if anyone) gets contracts to build wind turbines and supply parts. They could represent solid investments down the road. That is, of course, if we manage to shift our thinking out of the 20th Century and away from our fixation with oil.
Disclosure: I own none of the companies listed above.
Photo: Martin LaBar, Creative Commons, Flickr