General discussion

ooops !! Wind power ain't all it's made out to be !!
WARNING !!!!!!
Al Gore is mentioned here so some of you may not want to read this !!!!

"A successful oilman, speculator and corporate raider, Mr. Pickens' large natural gas holdings position him to make billions from selling gas for backup electricity generation - especially if drilling bans remain in effect, keeping gas prices in the stratosphere. Launching the enterprise with the backing of federal mandates and subsidies minimizes his financial risk and attracts semi-free-market investors, by putting the risks for his scheme on the backs of taxpayers and rights-of-way owners."

Hmmmm, something in it for T Boone !!

Bottom line is, wind power is not the panacea some make it out to be

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I'm holding out for hamster power

Imagine acres and acres of the small rodents in cage wheels attached to small generators. They're the perfect worker. They eat seeds and drink water. They require no job training. They don't live long enough to become old, feeble and want to retire. On the downside, they tend to be nocturnal so you need to store the energy from the night shift workers. As well, their cage wheels can be squeaky so you might need to locate the hamster field away from housing areas. But, all in all, this is about as good a plan for alternate energy as many I've heard lately.

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About as viable as

T Boone's plans

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I wouldn't worry about
"Wind Turbine Syndrome."

Pfizer and Lilly are working on it. The TV ads should be out soon. Maybe they can incorporate the med into an anti-depressant or restless leg syndrome pill. There's a drug for whatever ails 'ya.
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Neighbor's dog barks constantly...

... causing me to have insomnia and dark circles under the eyes. Another neighbor has an oil well with one of those bobbing pump heads that squeaks all day and all night as it lifts oil up from the depths.

I wonder if I can get a reporter to write a story about my suffering? Wink

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Think! As long as you're awake,

grab some of that oil! And spill some on the squeak while you're there.
Sheesh! I gotta tell you guys everything.

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The pickens plan
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Beware of billionaires who say

"Have I got a deal for you!" Hold onto your wallet at that point.

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If there was not a buck to be made...

... Pickens would not be involved. Is he reading the tea leaves correctly? Don't know and don't care... at least he is trying to follow through with something new which is more than can be said for everyone else involved, including all the energy companies AND the US government.

When was the last time US business or a US politician actually came up with an alternative energy plan that they tried to follow through with ? I can't think of any business interests and the only politician I can think of is Jimmy Carter. Jimmy's energy plan was 30 years ago.

Anyone know of anyone recently who had any viable proposals? I'm not talking any successes here... I'm talking anybody who even got up to the plate and took a decent swing at the ball ?

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How can you say that?
"Mr. Pickens' large natural gas holdings"

Of course he would profit in a huge way from this plan. I believe he is also a big investor in a major wind farm.

There's nothing wrong with that EXCEPT for the fact that he wants to get the government involved to the tune of how ever many billions. If it's such a good idea, let him do it on his own and he can profit (or lose) as it may be. It's not like he's hurting for money.

"When was the last time US business or a US politician actually came up with an alternative energy plan..." Ever hear of corn ethanol? That alone should clue you that having the government involved in "solving" the "energy crisis" is a BAAAD idea. Their only legitimate role is to do what they never do...get out of the way.
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How can I say what ?

So you agree with me ? That Pickens is involved to make a buck ? Glad you do... otherwise I would have to question your common sense.

As to him trying to manipulate the government by getting the fed to pitch in ? Hmmm... are you suggesting that the other energy industry companies don't try to do the same ? I would suggest you check out the Energy Bill of 2005. How many billions of dollars has been saved by Big Energy ? How much money has been made by corn growers because of that bill ? You mention ethanol like they are doing something different from every other potential business man in the world.

I have never disagreed with you about ethanol. However, by any historical standard, ethanol is not a new idea. Some of the first automobiles were even designed to run on ethanol. You can focus on ethanol as somehow significant as an alternative fuel... I would suggest it has been mainstream for some time. Especially since it became important as an alternative additive in blending gasoline.

You want the US government to not spend money supporting business and just get out of the way ? After 8 years of watching our government do exactly the opposite, I can understand your wish.

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I thought you said "If there was a buck to be made... etc."


Whether ethanol is a new idea or not is not the point. Massive subsidies to make ethanol the fuel of the future IS.

The government has been mucking around supporting businesses for decades. Nothing at all to do with the last 8 years, in spite of your attempted zinger.

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BTW, there is nothing new about wind power...

or natural gas power either. In fact, there is nothing new at all about Pickens' plan.

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Not only is there nothing new

It's not a very efficient way of producing energy.

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Efficient ?

I thought about this for a while... wind turbines = "It's not a very efficient way of producing energy." ???

Is coal mining an efficient way to produce energy ? Is oil drilling ? As far as electrical production goes, both energy sources involve exploration and extraction costs... transportation... processing... more transportation in many cases... combustion and then pollution control of emissions and hot waste water.

Wind mills involve a one time manufacturing process, placement, and then wait for the wind.

All processes involve building energy producing facilities and transmission lines, and maintenance.

If you figure efficiency as the ratio of the effective or useful output to the total input in any system, it strikes me that over the long term, wind turbines must be much more efficient at producing electricity than coal or oil. That is not to say that wind power is close to perfect. Far from it. Wind farms require greater amounts of land and fail to produce electricity on demand. However, if the book definition of efficiency is being used here, I would think that wind farms are much more efficient than coal or oil fired power plants.

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Do you think this is really true
"Wind mills involve a one time manufacturing process, placement, and then wait for the wind."

They never need maintenance, replacement of mechanical or electrical parts? They will survive a tornado? Structure such as steel and concrete that support them aren't subject to the ravages of rust, corrosion, erosion or other forms of aging? They will put out just about as much electricity on the first day as on the day they are removed from service? If so, they will require an engineering feat that's so far never been accomplished.
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Did you miss this when you read my post ?
"All processes involve building energy producing facilities and transmission lines, and maintenance. "
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(NT) Do you disagree with the definition of efficiency ?
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No disagreement about definition of efficiency

but I think we have apples and oranges here that cannot be compared. I'd dare to say that Mother Nature is FAR more efficient than is man. She's just a lot more patient than we are. Coal and oil...though I cannot produce data...strikes me as a model of real efficiency. Yes, it took eons to slowly store all that energy and create a substance that man can use almost entirely to do something useful for himself. We just don't get to hang around around long enough to give 'ol mom any kind of competition at what she does best. Wink

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And if you really think about it

aren't most of the "alternate" energy sources being discussed today, the same ones old mom nature used to give us fossil fuels? And we think we're the smart ones. Ha! Grin

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I totally agree

It all comes down to energy from the sun, stored in a variety of ways.

I'm not necessarily talking to you here Steven, but these are my thoughts...

Reality is that oil will not last forever. Reality is that the price of oil that we pay for today is pegged to the effort to dig it up and the demand for it outstrips our ability to produce and process it. Reality is that coal is cheaper than oil because it is not used to power as many different types of technology AND it can be dug up out of our own backyard, but it still costs money to mine. Even if the price of all these fuels drops today... they will go back up tomorrow. Nuclear energy is much more efficient than coal or oil but it still has to be mined, refined, etc. etc.

Supply and demand dictates the price of all these commodities. Demand is not going away for these forms of energy until an alternative is produced.

Wind takes no human toil to produce. Wind is in everyone's backyard to some degree. As I said, wind power does have the drawback of not being available on demand and requiring large amounts of real-estate to produce the same amounts of power when compared to oil, coal, etc. However, a 500 watt wind mill can go in everyone's backyard. Complaints about associated noise will disappear as noise suppressing designs become more common.

The point that critic raised about Pickens being in it to make a buck ? Yes he is, but Pickens makes a good point about giving our wealth away. The amount of money that the US is sending overseas is frightening... and crippling. For those fans of trickle down economics, I would ask where is the "trickle down" when our dollars will remain in the UAE or Saudi Arabia ? If Pickens becomes as wealthy as an Arab sheik, at least the bulk of his money will stay here in the US.

Like I said before... wind is not a new idea... but moving to actually take advantage of it is a new synergy.

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Everything comes at a price

and that doesn't mean just cash. The wind isn't free for the taking. It has a purpose here. What we don't know is how much we can take before we cause ourselves a problem. We already know that smog in big cities isn't just too many belching vehicles. It's lack of ability to move the poisoned air away. Part of that lack is taller buildings close together. There's something called "laminar flow" which means that the movement above a surface is greater than that below and the roughness of that surface determines how much of that flow reaches it. Buildings are rough surfaces to wind. If we impede it just a little, we feel the effect somewhere. As well, how do you think plant life gets distributed especially when pollination is necessary. Pollen doesn't travel via commercial airlines...well, at least not legally. Happy All that creates movement distributes and redistributes that which we need to survive. Wind and water movements are essential to that process. If we slow them to extract their energy, we slow life processes as well. We just don't get the immediate sensation of that loss. It takes time.

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It doesn't matter...

There is a simple and time-tested foolproof way to measure efficiency. Does it make a profit? That's the bottom line, whether people want to accept it or not.

I have no doubt there is a role for wind power. I also have no doubt there is plenty of room for improvement in the engineering, transmission, storage, etc.

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Just hope this isn't another

one of those "great" ideas like corn based ethonal that gets rammed down our throats

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Nothing new about the tech...

... just a new synergy.

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That's what scares me....

the synergy of having all this stuff mandated by the government and paid for by me in the name of solving a "crisis" that isn't one.

Like I said, if it's a good idea; if it works; go for it. The world will beat a path to the door of whomever gets it working. I'll be happy to be a customer or maybe even an investor.

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No one has mandated anything yet.

As for it being paid for by tax payer dollars... if we are asked to put the same amount of money into wind power as we have been asked to commit to other energy sources, then how can we complain or call it unfair? After all, oil, coal, and even nuclear power has been subsidized directly and indirectly by the government in one form or another for years now.

Am I unaware of some aspect of his plan here ? Does Pickens plan ask for government money to start up his business ?

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If they screwed ua before how can we complain if they screw us again?

Pickens' doesn't not call for government money to implement his plan.

On January 20th, 2009, a new President will take office.

We're organizing behind the Pickens Plan now to ensure our voices will be heard by the next administration.


Want to help the campaign? This is a community to share ideas and tactics on how to make energy the most important issue this election, and push bold solutions to America's energy crisis. Learn more by joining the discussion "First Steps" below.

He doesn't come out and say anything... but there's a lot about organizing and urging the President and Congress, etc. etc. Badges and "community" but nothing about how Pickens himself is going to start doing something. What do you think? Why is all that necessary? WHY do "our voices" have to be heard by the next Administration?

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It never hurts to be suspicious...

... or question what our financial and political leaders do... Consequently, I'm not going to give you grief on that issue.

Pickens has already placed an order for over 500 wind turbines which total (estimated numbers) the first $2 Billion of the $6 to $10 Billion project. This was done back in April, before he went on his marketing campaign pushing his agenda. He is also on record stating that the one thing he is depending on is for the Fed to maintain the energy company tax credits enacted by the 2005 Energy Bill - You remember that bill ? I've mentioned it more than once in various threads - he is depending on those tax credits to make his project viable. As I have mentioned... these are credits the oil, gas, coal industries have already been taking advantage of. He (Pickens) is not asking for anything the other energy business players don't already have.


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