Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Power Technology

Pickens Calls Off Massive Wind Farm In Texas 414

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Pickens Calls Off Massive Wind Farm In Texas

Comments Filter:
  • And the steps... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:49PM (#28624301)

    Step 1: Reduce Refining Capacity through by-outs
    Step 2: Send out pundits to claim how high oil prices will go
    Step 3: Get price of oil/gas high enough that alternate energy starts to become profitable
    Step 4: Get people to invest lots of money on said technologies.
    Step 5: ????
    Step 6: Let the oil bubble burst and take the alternative energy markets with it.

    I'm not sure where profit goes in there, but this also happened in the late 1970's through early 1980's. Right when other means of fuel production came online and people had invested a lot of money in the new technologies, the price of oil suddenly dropped causing the alternatives to quickly go broke and effectively stifle competition for the next couple decades.

    Funny about that history not repeating itself, but sure does rhyme thing.

    This was told to me by a retired GM executive and friend of the family back in 2006/2007 when the price of oil kept going up. He even gave a prediction of that the price of oil would fall around 2008/2009 and when it did, any interest in alternate fuels would go with it. Seems like he may have known something.

  • I'll buy one! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by orgelspieler ( 865795 ) <[moc.cam] [ta] [eifl0w]> on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @12:50PM (#28624309) Journal
    I've only got about 30 grand, though, so I hope he doesn't mind taking a 99% loss. On a more cynical note, I can't help but wonder if this was all some ploy to discredit renewable energy.
  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JSBiff ( 87824 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:01PM (#28624529) Journal

    Parent is right. PBS has a decent [pbs.org] interview which talks about this in language most people should be able to understand. The person being interviewed was the head of a project called the Integral Fast Reactor which was a new approach to recycling the 'waste'. Apparently the project was extremely successful in just about all of its goals (one of which was a focus on creating a new generation of significantly safer nuclear reactors), then canceled at the 11th hour by the Clinton administration in order to win brownie points with anti-nuclear factions of the Democratic party.

  • by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:03PM (#28624561) Homepage

    The collapse of the Cap & Trade scheme.


  • by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:07PM (#28624621) Journal

    Ostensibly taxes are supposed to go towards things that help everyone, not an individuals profit. Private sector business tends to take money for profit.

    In this case, there's a bit of both. But in the end, if the private sector gets less money from the tax payers through the government, then the government (hopefully) will lower taxes since it's not allocating money for those projects. Well, ostensibly anyway, in this case, some government group or political action group would probably find some "beneficial use for everyone" expenditure.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:09PM (#28624653)

    Electrical transmission technology is well-understood. There shouldn't be any technical surprises.

    Seeing as it's Texas, somebody didn't make a large enough campaign contribution to the right people, next thing you know, right where the towers were supposed to be installed, it turns out to be the breeding ground for a rare species of mosquito, or perhaps prairie dog or armadillo.

    There will be some more posturing on both sides, money will change hands, the show stopping problem will be papered over, it'll be all good.

  • by FishWithAHammer ( 957772 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:11PM (#28624697)

    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?

  • Turbines en route (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ponga ( 934481 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:11PM (#28624707)
    I live is Southern AZ where Interstate 10 runs and a road which I am driving on often. Over the last few months I've noticed a steady flow of "oversize load"s on the freeway that contain rather large wind turbine components heading eastbound, presumably heading to TX from somewhere in CA. Perhaps these are Mr. Pickens, but who knows. Bottom line is there sure have been a lot of these steadily flowing through AZ...
  • by sunking2 ( 521698 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:13PM (#28624731)
    That's a nice excuse that conveniently diregards the fact that natural gas prices have plumeted. Remember that while I don't think he is completely being dishonest with his push for wind power, the real money maker in this whole deal was his push towards more natural gas production. This is where he makes his money and was willing to pay out for wind if it increases his gas profits enoough. Of course this all really simply ties back to "It's the economy, stupid" as this was the driver behind prices flooring.
  • Cover story? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:22PM (#28624907)

    There were some rumors shortly after Pickens announced this wind farm scheme that it was really a cover for a water rights land grab. What else could this mean?

  • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @01:51PM (#28625409)

    I'm fairly certain that Pickens is in this for the money... whether the money comes from oil or renewable energy, I don't think he particularly cares.

    Why is it oil people are made out to be haters of renewable energy? They just want money, they don't have a love for black oily gunk. If Pickens can make money from renewable energy, then he'll do it. Seems pretty easy to understand to me. I doubt he just loves oil.

    I also don't quite understand the "We need more clean energy" sentiment combined with the "We don't want to pay for our clean energy" and "We don't want an oil guy creating our clean energy" sentiments. It seems that we want clean energy, for free, and have it have nothing to do with a company that previously dealt with Awful Wicked Oil (tm).

    I'm all for renewable energy... but it does need to be economical, and the supply needs to come from demand. And I don't want these sorts of projects flopping after MY money was used in it... e.g., I'm supportive of oil "barons" like Pickens doing these projects, not the government. Why? Because that's the whole point of private enterprise. Taking risks. Making it work. And if it works and someone gets rich from it, good for them. I won't complain. Unless I start getting forced to use it and THAT'S why someone gets rich. Which, unfortunately, appears to be the way a lot of people want it to go...

    Oh well. I'm probably just cynical because I like large "cars" and don't want to spend $20k more to have it be electric or hybrid... or not spend that much more money and drive on the freeways [with crazy drunk people] in a plastic coffin :)

  • Re:Good. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SpryGuy ( 206254 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:07PM (#28625677)

    Nuclear power is a stop-gap solution.

    Sure it is "non-polluting" in that it doesn't generate tons of carbon emissions directly. But it requires fossil fuels to mine and refine the uranium ore, and uranium is a limited resource, just like oil. There's also the issue of what to do with and where to put the waste that is produced.

    I'm all for building new nuclear power plants to help meet demand without significantlly increasing greenhouse gasses or air pollution, but there are some basic facts to face regarding how much nuclear power will really help us... starting with the fact that any new construction started today won't actually produce any usable energy for a decade.

    There are new designs that not only are far more safe and far more efficient than current plants, but some that can even use the spent fuel from other reactors as fuel. We should definitely build these things. But the issues around transporting the fuel and spent fuel, dealing with waste, and dealing with the sources of the fuel (which reside largely outside this country, so doesn't count as domsestic production) all mean that nuclear power is no panacea.

  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:26PM (#28626001) Homepage

    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.

    I'm not sure that would have been such a bad idea. Here's someone putting his own money where his mouth is on national energy policy and dependence on foreign oil.

    Seems like the collective "we" could have ponied up a little support as part of the Smart Grid upgrade. It fits many of the qualification for a stimulus project. Green jobs, alternative energy, Smart Grid, local jobs and it's shovel ready.

    I'm not saying it was smart, only that it does seem to line up with our national priorities and why would helping out with the grid upgrade been such a bad idea? There have been public/private partnerships in other areas, why not this one?

  • by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:34PM (#28626139) Homepage Journal
    I agree, I think its the right thing to do. I guess he ran into the same problem others with similar ideas are running into; the choice spots for generating solar are so far from the grid the cost of transporting are going to be astronomical. It would be nice if the so-called economic stimulus deal would start doling out ducats to do this.
  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @02:54PM (#28626531) Homepage Journal

    This is one of the reasons that Los Angeles has no professional football team. The city refuses to chip in any significant monies or concessions, and did so even when it wasn't facing a massive budget problem. Surrounding cities just don't have the money in the first place.

    Of course, it doesn't help that even when a team is successful, there are problems putting fans in the stands. LA appears to be a basketball and baseball town, and not so much for the NFL.

Recent investments will yield a slight profit.