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Power Technology

Pickens Calls Off Massive Wind Farm In Texas 414

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-told-you-those-wind-seeds-were-a-scam dept.
schwit1 writes with this excerpt from an AP report: "Plans for the world's largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle have been scrapped, energy baron T. Boone Pickens said Tuesday, and he's looking for a home for 687 giant wind turbines. Pickens has already ordered the turbines, which can stand 400 feet tall — taller than most 30-story buildings. 'When I start receiving those turbines, I've got to ... like I said, my garage won't hold them,' the legendary Texas oilman said. 'They've got to go someplace.' Pickens' company Mesa Power ordered the turbines from General Electric Co. — a $2 billion investment — a little more than a year ago. Pickens said he has leases on about 200,000 acres in Texas that were planned for the project, and he might place some of the turbines there, but he's also looking for smaller wind projects to participate in."
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Pickens Calls Off Massive Wind Farm In Texas

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  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:37PM (#28624089)

    Wow. I've seen this same kind of mistake happen in the little companies I work for, spending money on stuff right before plans change. I've seen this kind of mistake but never personally witnessed one of them this big. Looks like I'm going to have to RTFA to see what changed the deal after all the checks were signed.

  • Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dan_sdot (721837) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:39PM (#28624105)
    These things are a great way to make a beautiful landscape hideous. And the amount of power generated considering the acreage needed is ridiculous.

    Here's a crazy idea: how about nuclear power? Oh, that's right, the word "nuclear" is too super-scary for the science-based environmentalists. Never mind that they actually are better for the environment than anything else.
  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Goaway (82658) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:41PM (#28624151) Homepage

    "Hideous"? Speak for your own narrow-minded aesthetics. Plenty people think they look beautiful, myself included.

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:42PM (#28624163) Journal

    Here, I'll handle that for you.

    In Texas, the problem lies in getting power from the proposed site in the Panhandle to a distribution system, Pickens said in an interview with The Associated Press in New York. He'd hoped to build his own transmission lines but he said there were technical problems.

    Now, one would think a major issue like this would have been thought of beforehand (it was) and thoroughly scoped out BEFORE the investment (it wasn't).

  • by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:43PM (#28624179)
    In Texas, the problem lies in getting power from the proposed site in the Panhandle to a distribution system

    Yeah, I can see how someone might forget about that little detail before ordering two billion dollars worth of equipment. Wow.
  • by oldhack (1037484) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:44PM (#28624199)
    Taking a bet that fails isn't necessarily a mistake.
  • by happy_place (632005) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:45PM (#28624211) Homepage
    This is why we buy prototypes and work out the fascilities/infrastructure before we order hundreds of parts with no place too put them. Everyone always underestimates the need for a building for their new business plan...
  • by JSBiff (87824) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:48PM (#28624269) Journal

    Interestingly, the article puts the blame on not being able to build the transmission lines he had planned (the article doesn't go into any detail as to why not). So, he *has* a place to put the turbines, technically, but doesn't want to put them there because he can't get transmission lines built.

    Part of me wonders if this 'announcement' is just a tactic to put political pressure on other parties that T. Boone needs to get concessions from in order to site his transmission lines.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:49PM (#28624289)

    Call it what you want, but this is going to be a huge blow to alternative energy in this country. This was an all out high-profile project that just fell on it's face. Pundits will be using this to slap other alternative energy projects in the face for years to come. This is the kind of thing you could dream up very elaborate conspiracy theories about. Watch the oil prices skyrocket as a consequence.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:50PM (#28624313)

    From the article:

    In Texas, the problem lies in getting power from the proposed site in the Panhandle to a distribution system, Pickens said in an interview with The Associated Press in New York. He'd hoped to build his own transmission lines but he said there were technical problems.

    There has to be something more to it than that. Maybe he thought he could get the state to pay for it or something the way sports team owners seem to expect the taxpayers should pay for their little athletic club. These public-private partnerships usually end up being a way to fuck the public out of tax dollars.

    Electrical transmission technology is well-understood. There shouldn't be any technical surprises. The wind turbines are the new wrinkle but even they shouldn't be that big of a problem. It's not like he's trying to build a fusion reactor with technology that doesn't exist yet. There has to be a non-technical reason behind this.

  • Re:Good. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Extremus (1043274) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:52PM (#28624355)
    Well, maybe they are "beautiful" because they are not so common.
  • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dbcad7 (771464) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:53PM (#28624383)
    Well, after about 2 or 3 hours driving in the desert (or the middle of nowhere), it sometimes occurs to you that somebody should do something with some of this land.. I've seen these windmills in many places in the western states (California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and more) and all these states have some nice vistas, and I never felt that wow those windmills sure ruin it.
  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:54PM (#28624397) Homepage Journal
    It sounds a lot like a gamble on his part in order to get the local utility to cough up part of the dough for transmission lines running to his proposed site. Saying there were "Technical Problems" is completely misleading since there is nothing particularly difficult about installing/operating an electrical grid, short of the significant upfront cost in materials, easements, and land purchases. Not to mention constant upkeep.

    I suspect he approached the eminent utilities on this when the windmills were ordered, and got a soft "sure, if there's a windmill in Texas we will buy energy from it" sort of commitment that turned into a "You want us to spend how much capital? Just for the right to buy your energy?" now that the nation's financial situation is looking less optimistic.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:54PM (#28624401)
    I'm sure he was banking on a bit of taxpayer funds and cutting deals with the electric company to get that done. My guess is they voted him down.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:55PM (#28624411)

    Taking a bet that fails isn't necessarily a mistake.

    Yeah, but there's a good bet and there's a stupid bet. It's like building a golf course in the desert. Yes, it can be done, people do it. But the irrigation demands will be far higher than in sane places and even a child could tell you that you'd need to make sure you have access to water for it to even be feasible. No water, no golf course. This is just basic due diligence. It's like aluminum smelting plants, they use gigawatts of electricity to separate aluminum from the ore. Because of the ridiculous power demands, smelters need to be located near cheap power like hydro-electric. That's one of the primary driving factors for determining where the work is done. It's more efficient to ship the unprocessed ore to a distant smelter than to try and do it near the mine with expensive local electricity.

  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:55PM (#28624425)
    I live in North Dakota, the generally really flat place that is boring as hell to drive through as there's no scenery. Trust me when I say that a wind farm really adds a lot to the landscape around here. That and at certain parts of the day they can look downright amazing. Here's an image [flickr.com] I found on Google image search to show you what I'm talking about. There are a few other really nice ones at well.
  • Re:Good. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AvitarX (172628) <me AT brandywinehundred DOT org> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:57PM (#28624455) Journal

    They take space, but it does not leave the land unusable.

    You can still farm around it and what not.

  • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by boris111 (837756) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:57PM (#28624461)

    Exactly. I can think a house is beautiful if it's sitting on a large acreage farm by itself, but put the same house in a subdivision on .25 acre lot where every other house in the neighborhood looks the same... not as appealing.

  • by Rei (128717) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:59PM (#28624481) Homepage

    Classic example of that, the massive aluminum plants in Iceland -- an island nation with no sizable quantities of bauxite of its own to refine. It's cheaper and cleaner to ship freighters of bauxite to Iceland and ship the aluminum out to use its ample cheap, clean electricity than it is to just refine it where it's mined.

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:00PM (#28624507)

    Here's another suggestion.

    High priced oil *triggers* recessions.

    This would be far simpler and explain the oscilation in the price of oil after the demand destruction has fed through.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:00PM (#28624515)

    These public-private partnerships usually end up being a way to fuck the public out of tax dollars.

    Since taxes are just a way to fuck the public out of earned dollars, does it really make a difference in the long run?

  • The solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by copponex (13876) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:07PM (#28624631) Homepage

    Make people pay for the full environmental impact of oil, and the cost of their share of wars in the middle east. Solar looks great once the real costs of fossil fuels are not hidden in taxes and the benefits of running an empire.

    I don't think there's a huge conspiracy, but oil producers manipulate prices on a regular basis - they even have an official racketeering ring called OPEC. It's unfortunate that American and British companies are in on the profits, though, because if they weren't, we would have probably abandoned oil as an energy source. Relying on a finite resource that is mostly on the other side of the planet for nearly everything we consider essential to modern life seems pretty short sighted.

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:10PM (#28624671)

    I'm sure he was banking on a bit of taxpayer funds and cutting deals with the electric company to get that done. My guess is they voted him down.

    That may well be right, but that doesn't mean that such was smart thinking on his part. I am one of the rare print subscribers to USA Today (yes there are still some of us left) and it seemed like almost every week there was some giant ad that his company paid for telling Americans to contact Congress and support his wind farm project to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I think a rather significant portion of his plan was that some government entity, be it Texas or the USA, would get behind it and pony up the money necessary to get the power to a distribution system.

  • by stomv (80392) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:11PM (#28624711) Homepage

    Becuase[sic] wind doesn't meet the needs of today's energy grid (baseline power needs, peak power needs)

    Nuclear doesn't meet peak power needs either. It turns out that multiple sources can be used together -- every wind turbine spinning replaces MWh generated by gas or coal. Build enough un/negatively correlated turbines and you can count a fraction of wind generation as base. The rest replaces gas turbine output. No engineer is claiming that wind can, by itself, replace all other power demands. It can certainly play a role replacing some fossil fuel power generation, and it's nuclear waste-free!

    It takes alot[sic] to maintain such a distrubuted[sic] generation system

    But not so much that we can't do it. It also takes a lot to underwrite the insurance for nuclear power. So much, in fact, that nuclear power companies don't pay for it -- the US gov't does. Somehow that tidbit, a tidbit that makes nuclear power one of the most expensive options around, is rarely mentioned around here.

    some people don't like the aesthetics

    Some people don't like the aesthetics of coal power plant smokestacks, giant fences around nuclear plants, or what's left of the mountain after the coal or nuclear fuel is mined. No energy solution is perfect.

    they grind up birds like no tomorrow.

    No, no they don't. The 1980s called, and they want their built with small fast moving blades, non-monopole design, and located in bird migration routes wind turbines back.

    Sure they will be nice here and there but they don't have the potential to solve the problems we have now while nuclear does.

    Nuclear has the potential to be part of the solution, but it too can't solve the problem whole-hog. Nuclear isn't financially efficient now, if you try to use it for anything more than base load your efficiency drops like a rock. Solar can be used to shave some peak (in much of the world peak demand is very positively correlated with hot sunny days), wind can be used to reduce the need for fossil-based intermediate demand when it's blowing, and biomass, natural gas, and water pumped uphill (battery) can be used to make up the difference.

    Enviromentalism needs to wake up and face the fact that the problem is now so bad that idealism must take a back seat to pragmatics.

    The pragmatic solution is not to pooh-pooh wind. The pragmatic solution is to use a mix of non-fossil fuel approaches to (1) meet our electricity desires, while (2) reducing the amount of carbon emissions we generate as much as we can. Wind can't do all of that to maximum effect. Neither can nuclear. Neither can solar. Neither can biomass. Nor hydro. Nor natural gas. Nor whatever comes next (tidal?). But, using all of them, whenever feasible, will maximize our reduction of carbon emissions in electricity generation.

    Why not support both?

  • by Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:18PM (#28624837)
    Wait a second. You're arguing that wind is better than nuclear because it requires fewer people to operate a wind farm? In case you haven't noticed, there's a recession on. Unemployment is a problem. If nuclear power plants require more people to run, wouldn't that be a good thing?
  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:19PM (#28624843) Homepage Journal

    CNN is reporting the project is "On hold" not "scrapped". [cnn.com] They also reports the wind equipment that has been bought is going to be used.

    There is a big difference between "On Hold" and "Scrapped".

  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:20PM (#28624863) Homepage

    I'll never get this notion of people talking about how wind turbines spoil the beautiful natural landscape. Natural landscape? What natural landscape? We destroyed the natural landscape of the south and midwest in the 1800s. The worst you can say is that it *changes* the *artificial* rural landscape we've become accustomed to. Personally, I like them.

  • by interval1066 (668936) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:21PM (#28624889) Homepage Journal
    I'm a little surprised he's so stuck on pinning the blame on foreign oil suppliers when he should know damn well the '08 spike was driven by market speculation.
  • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:23PM (#28624925) Homepage

    I'm sure you prefer golf courses on every corner where forest used to be too. These things are as hideous as a strip mine to me.

  • by ptbarnett (159784) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:23PM (#28624933)

    I think the "technical problems" may be that he couldn't get the okay to build his pipeline along the same corridor.

    Moderate parent up. Pickens wanted to use the corridor to build a water pipeline from the Ogalla aquifer to the D/FW area, using eminent domain to acquire the land. He ran into heavy opposition.

  • by DrLang21 (900992) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:30PM (#28625045)
    Technically the tax payers don't want to pony up for something they're going to have to pay for again privately.
  • Re:Cover story? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:31PM (#28625057)

    I remember reading those stories and I don't really doubt it because water is drying up in the west. You don't hear much about it, but water rights and who controls the water is going to be a deal and make someone very rich over the next 25 - 30+ years. Actually that goes for the entire world. Anyone take notice of how many dams have been built around Iraq in the past few years by Turkey and Iran?

  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:33PM (#28625091)

    Technical? More likely political.

    Although Texas operates its own isolated grid, the panhandle area lies partially outside of this, in a region covered by the Eastern Interconnection [wikipedia.org], the power grid that interconnects the eastern half of the USA. Where the Texas grid may not have been able to absorb such a large amount of varying power, that shouldn't be a problem for this larger area. Up until this project was envisioned, Texas politicians haven't expressed a problem with the panhandle region being a part of a separate grid, so long as it is a net power importer. But shipping power out of state changes the issue.

  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Temujin_12 (832986) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:33PM (#28625107)

    Really, your argument against all the benefits harnessing wind power will bring is, "It looks ugly?"

    To me part of their beauty comes from what they symbolize--the beginning of the next era in human advancement where we learn to work with the planet to progress rather than exploit it. When I drive by wind turbines, all I can do is smile.

    As for the "not being able to connect them to the grid" part, makes me wonder if throwing all of that money at wall/auto street couldn't have been better spend elsewhere.

  • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:41PM (#28625239)
    ...therefore people don't have the right to do what they want with their own property.

    Just finishing your thought for you.
  • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:46PM (#28625327) Homepage

    The problem with nuclear isn't the waste, or the fuel supply, or anything like that. Those are all manageable issues. The real problem is that nuclear has to get its costs down. That's why nobody built any in the US for the past several decades, even with free government insurance, the ability to enforce ridiculous terms on ratepayers, and other such incentives. A lot of big nuclear-proponents try to push the claim that it's protesters who blocked new power plants, but the concept of protesters blocking every last site in the US is just laughable. Wall Street simply has not wanted to invest in them. And how there's this new "nuclear renaissance" being pushed by Areva, promising lower costs, and investors are again starting to put their money into nuclear. But judging by Areva's new way-overbudget reactors, I doubt it's going to last.

    Nuclear has one prime issue they need to focus on: radically cutting capital costs without sacrificing safety.

  • by wisty (1335733) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:50PM (#28625397)

    Wind IS a base load replacement. Demand for power fluctuates, just like wind supply. It doesn't matter whether you are using coal, nuclear, or wind for you "base" power, you still need gas power plants (or other easy to control plants - maybe hydro) to smooth the difference between supply and demand. The only difference between wind and coal is that the standard deviation of the signal is a little bit larger (so you need another gas plant to provide more smoothing).

    The lower reliability of wind means that it's worth a bit less than coal power (depending on the size of the grid, and the reliability of the demand), but it competes directly with base power.

    Coal generators HATE wind, because it is a competitor. Peak load generators LOVE wind, because it requires more peak smoothing than coal.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:58PM (#28625523) Homepage Journal

    The "little athletic clubs" who bring in buckets and buckets of tax money, tourism, and municipal revenue?

    Yours is the standard argument for why cities should build stadiums for major-league teams. Except it never quite seems to work out that way, at least in cities where I've lived (Denver and Minneapolis) which have recently done so. The team owners extract all kinds of special concessions from the cities to the point where the cities end up with all the costs -- traffic control around the stadiums, existing neighborhoods and businesses wiped out, infrastructure costs for the stadium, and of course the construction costs themselves, which always always always go overbudget -- while the owners end up with the benefits, including not only the ticket sales but also such goodies as sales tax exemptions on goods sold inside the stadium, which means they can charge more and keep all the profits. It looks a hell of a lot like a racket; if you've got solid evidence to the contrary, go for it.

  • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vertinox (846076) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:00PM (#28625563)

    Here's a crazy idea: how about nuclear power? Oh, that's right, the word "nuclear" is too super-scary for the science-based environmentalists. Never mind that they actually are better for the environment than anything else.

    Have you seen a nuclear power plant at night?

    Personally I like them, but in the same kind of way I like Fallout 3.

    I'm not sure about the neighbors who can see the thing from 10 miles away.

  • by farker haiku (883529) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:11PM (#28625751) Journal

    Well, technically he didn't give the right amount of money to the right people. Does that count?

  • by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@wumpus-cav e . n et> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:12PM (#28625765)

    Alternatively, he's an experienced businessman who knows that such things are rarely caused by any single factor, or that a the reasons behind a single spike don't change the underlieing dependence problem.

  • by Golias (176380) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:22PM (#28625921)

    I'm sure he was banking on a bit of taxpayer funds and cutting deals with the electric company to get that done. My guess is they voted him down.

    Exactly.

    He's a rich oil man (we've all seen "There Will Be Blood", right?) who saw an opportunity where companies like ADM were scoring big wins at the government trough due the the demands for "greener" energy, so he gambled on a chance to get in on it.

    He spent a couple million on some big-ass windmills, and a little more on lobbying/advertising efforts to see if he could sucker the public to pitch in on it. If it worked, he would have become one of the biggest energy barons in the world. Since it didn't, he can still just cut his losses by either selling off some of this stuff for the smallest loss possible, or finding new, smaller farms to participate in. He might not break even on what he spent, but he's not exactly going to be out on the street over this.

  • by Golias (176380) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:27PM (#28626031)

    sports team owners seem to expect the taxpayers should pay for their little athletic club

    The "little athletic clubs" who bring in buckets and buckets of tax money, tourism, and municipal revenue?

    Those ones?

    Every credible third-party study on professional sports teams has completely debunked that myth.

    Having a sports team in your town brings in NO additional net revenue, and in most cases, costs you.

    If you're going to subsidize private businesses to the tune of $400 Million, you are better off giving $1 Million each to 400 random small business in the local Yellow Pages than building a ballpark.

  • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by initdeep (1073290) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:43PM (#28626301)

    and this is easily done by simply using a turnkey reactor plant design versus the moronic idea of simply building a totally different design for every new reactor built.
    the military figured this out nearly 40 years ago.

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:45PM (#28626353) Homepage Journal

    If coal is cheap and wind is clean, then we should burn coal to power turbines that generate wind, then get electricity from wind turbines. It becomes a win-win!

    You have just described the entire ethanol industry.

  • by DrLang21 (900992) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:48PM (#28626415)
    I still hear Obama and other talking about reducing our dependence on foreign oil. It's not as hot as it was last year, but it's still a hot topic.
  • by hardburn (141468) <hardburn@wumpus-cav e . n et> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:02PM (#28626669)

    Nearly any energy production process you can think of is going to benefit from being scaled up way beyond what you can do in your backyard. Wind turbines, in particular, get a lot more efficient when they're as tall and as large as you can practically make them. The individual turbine blades on wind farms are as long as they can be while still being legal to fit on trucks for hiways.

    Backyard wind turbines are simply going to fall to economies of scale, unless you have a very big backyard.

  • by Scareduck (177470) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:13PM (#28626823) Homepage Journal
    Or, what's the easiest way to get both right-of-way AND water rights? Uh huh, have the government condemn miles upon miles of land from everyone in the way [earth2tech.com].
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:37PM (#28627217) Journal

    In Texas, the problem lies in getting power from the proposed site in the Panhandle to a distribution system

    Yeah, I can see how someone might forget about that little detail before ordering two billion dollars worth of equipment. Wow.

    As I do from time to time, I shall explain what's going on for people attempting to grok the situmication.

    Remember all his damned ads on TV? They were designed to get people behind him, and thus coerce politicians seeking election to help accomplish this transmission system. Money, eminent domain, whatever he needs.

    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and predict, from this theory (remember science?) that he didn't get what he needed. Politicians don't like people doing a populist end-run around their usual kickback MO.

  • by Ex-MislTech (557759) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @03:47PM (#28627365)

    I am afraid you are wrong.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubbert's_peak [wikipedia.org]

    The world peaked in 2005.

    The movie crude awakening explains what is going on, and what areas of the world
    have already hit their peaks and are in decline. the US peaked in the 70's when
    we had our oil crisis here.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-665674869982904386&ei=JvZUSq7FMpSEqQL9zpHkAQ&q=crude+awakening&hl=en [google.com]

    I'd say enjoy the show, but it has a grim message, and most ppl here in the
    US are FIRMLY in denial.

    We need to make out plans to get off oil, and wind is one option.

    Getting utilities to cooperate is going to be difficult as some of the
    interested parties are also invested in coal and natural gas.

    So a conflict of interest is there and some view wind power as
    cutting into their riches.

    Greed wins again is my prognosis.

    So until someone finds away around the money manipulators
    we are stuck in their little escapade.

  • by Thing 1 (178996) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:55PM (#28628959) Journal

    Corporations, like governments, unions, workers cooperatives, churches, cricket teams, whatevers, are nothing but the collective motives of the people making the decisions.

    You say that like you really believe it.

    If I, Thing 1, released a rootkit upon the world, distributed in the form of music CDs that I sell on eBay et al, then I would go to a Federal Pound-Me-In-The-Ass Prison.

    Sony, on the other hand, has an artificial legal protection known as "limited liability corporation" (known variously under similar words in different countries). So when Sony put the rootkit on the music CDs they sold, nobody even got fined, let alone jail time.

    Enjoy the monkey wrench in your mechanism. :)

  • by SnapShot (171582) * on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @07:26PM (#28629883)

    He spent the only money that mattered. Pickens funded the Swift Boating [firedoglake.com] of Kerry and got a 4 more years of an oil-industry friendly administration. That's money well spent, from his perspective at least.

    I don't care how many fucking windmills that cunt build or doesn't build. I, and many others, will never forgive or forget.

  • by Raul Acevedo (15878) <[moc.aratnac] [ta] [luar]> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @09:42PM (#28631165) Homepage
    Isn't that one of the major problems with nuclear power? It produces waste that we don't know what to do with. Hiding it somewhere and pretending it doesn't exist doesn't seem like a valid long term solution.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @11:18PM (#28631927)

    "I, and many others, will never forgive or forget."

    Thus a massive wind farm doesn't get built because of the politics that "he backed the other guy." Earth burns because your candidate lost. Lovely.

    For all the talk of science and changing and doing the right thing, I guess that doesn't apply to unforgiveable rich billionaires.

    That he backed a falsible report of Kerry and Kerry was still so incompetent that he couldn't get around it? I like McCain over Obama, but I even know McCain got handled and as such, showed he couldn't manage a campaign and thus questioning whether he could manage office. Same with Kerry.

    Move. On. Even Google lied.

  • by LordKazan (558383) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @08:50AM (#28635005) Homepage Journal

    wrong. it was speculation. it was quite clearly and obviously a bubble.

    the cost of the "last unit required to meet demand" [always the most expensive unit to produce] was around $50/barrel. In a market without inefficiencies the market price will be 10% above that.

    the market price was three times that. that is a clear and obvious (and undeniable to anyone with business sense) sign that speculators are creating a bubble.

    if it was a "excess demand, insufficient supply" condition their would have been a supply shortage- there wasn't any shortage.

  • by holmstar (1388267) on Thursday July 09, 2009 @01:03PM (#28638593)

    Ummm.. no it wasn't. The spike in 08 was due entirely to supply and demand market conditions. People needed more oil than we had available, so the price went up until the right number of people quit buying and the supply and demand equaled each other.

    No,
    What caused the spike was the fact that we have fairly little spare oil production capacity. This created a feeling in the market that oil demand would soon outpace supply. The political instability present in many oil producing countries added to this fear. At the same time, inflation was climbing due to years of low interest rates, so investors were looking for safe places to put their money.

    With the fear present in the oil market, it appeared to be a safe bet. Investors also knew that oil demand is relatively inflexible due to it being a required resource for many businesses and consumers. Thus investment money began to flood the oil futures market.

    With oil futures prices rising, businesses that depend on oil had to choose between locking in a high price by buying futures, or risk that the price will be even higher when they need the oil. The fears of instability, and the highly visible rising futures prices caused many businesses to lock-in their price by buying futures.

    Investors, seeing that their investments in futures were successful, (more often than not they were able to sell their futures for more than they bought them for), continued to invest. Many dumping even more money into the futures markets.

    As prices continued to rise, many companies that had previously decided to wait out the price spike began to fear that they had made a mistake. So they too bought oil futures. Which further supported the investors.

    This continued until oil consumers could no longer support the prices. This often meant that the companies were failing, their business models no longer viable due to massively increased operating expenses. Individual consumers (people) were also having their own budgetary crises, having to choose between paying the rent/mortgage, and putting food on the table.

    Sure. The market corrected in the end. But only once the investors started to truly loose money. Unfortunately that was long after many companies and individuals were severely impacted. And all of it was due to a fear. No not actual supply and demand, but a fear that there MIGHT be a supply shortage.

    We can't allow this to happen again.

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